♦ The diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II was a nautical display inscribed not only within the age-old tradition of pompous naval processions extolling the monarchy and its relations with its subjects, but also in a history of prestigious parades conducted on the great rivers and urban canals which have served as the theatres of Antiquity and the European Renaissance down to the modern age. Yet the innumerable stream of small crafts hailing from all corners of the world also represented a series of significant breaks with tradition. The military was completely absent from the proceedings, whereas globalization was very visible, emblazoned in the various colours of the Commonwealth adorning the boats winding merrily down the river. Ordinary citizens happily breached protocol by... Lire la suite
Newsflash: Interview with Anne Clémens, Director-General of the Rhone River Basin Research Observatory
The first international conference on Integrative sciences and sustainable development of rivers will take place in Lyon, from 26 to 28 June 2012. It will allow scientists, regional authorities and other stakeholders to gain an insight into the complexity and diversity of our river systems, and will give them the opportunity to share their experiences, expertise and research, and discuss the particular effects of regional policies on river basin districts within a European context.
Discussions will centre on three key themes: (1) The social context of rivers, (2) the ecological context of rivers, and (3) the sustainable management of rivers. The organizers wish to facilitate an open... Lire la suite
A journey of self-discovery through a patchwork of stories.
Riverside schoolchildren aged 8-12 years swap their respective experiences of the Senegal and Niger rivers in Mali. Under the watchful gaze of their teachers, they exchange their “notes” gathered during their excursions: photos, songs, sketches, stories… all of which will be posted on the Internet for others to share and discover. A fun and stimulating way to see rich and diverse landscapes through the eyes of these budding explorers; a thousand and one new perspectives and opportunities to be acquainted with the world’s rivers, to discover their actual wonders and imagine their possible futures.
Support for this educational exchange program comes from Maisons du fleuve (River Centres), a civil society network... Lire la suite
The courts on 28 September 2011 once again ruled in favour of opponents to the construction of the giant Belo Monte hydroelectric plant on the Xingu River, in the state of Pará (northern Brazil). Critics of the 30-year old project have waged a fierce legal battle since August 2010, when then-president Luiz Inaçio “Lula” da Silva gave the green light for construction to begin.
Opposition this time came from breeders and exporters of ornamental fish in Altamira, a municipality situated on the Xingu River, who allege that the plant’s construction will wipe out the main species of fish in the region. With a planned installed capacity of 11,200 megawatts, and an estimated price tag of $11 billion, the Belo Monte Dam is set to become the world’s third largest hydroelectric dam... Lire la suite
Resting on the banks of the Mekong River in Champasak province, southern Laos, the Vat Phou natural heritage site embraces a vast cultural landscape dating from the period between the 6th and 13th centuries CE. Within it, a network of temples, sanctuaries and waterworks stretches along the axis linking Phu Kao Mountain to the river’s embankments, from which the ruins of two ancient cities can also be sighted in the alluvial plains.
The World Heritage Committee has expressed its concern over the construction of a new North-South road cutting through the site, and has requested that the roadworks be halted and an environmental impact assessment be conducted. At the request of the Laotian government, a technical assistance mission, comprising F. Delmont (architect & urban... Lire la suite
The river is poised to act as an urban image. In two decades, its banks have become an essential part of the urban setting. The forms and issues related to the current construction of this landscape are the object of Fanny Romain’s thesis, which will be presented in a Geo-carrefour article. Through the example of Perpignan and Montpellier, two cities in the south of France, through which the Tet and the Lez respectively pass, the analysis explores the pivotal role of the river in the urban project. It follows from this analysis, that the river is called upon as a public policy argument of the city, softening the current urban reorganization and introducing a new sense of public space.
♦ The fluvial landscape is now a widely disseminated theme: the principal indication of this is the... Lire la suite
The Rivers and Heritage website was officially launched on 15. March 2012 at the World Water Forum in Marseille (France), during the session on Water Culture in Local Governance organised by the International Association of Francophone Muncipal autorities (AIMF) in partnership with the Water Academy and UNESCO within the framework of the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement. The website was created as part of the Rivers and Heritage programme, conducted within UNESCO with the support of the France-UNESCO Convention.
The aim of the programme is to « reappropriate cultural ownership of the river ». While rivers all around the world experience a new phase of development, whose impacts are significant and controversial, there is a renewed interest in the river as a common... Lire la suite
Could you tell us who the contributors will be and which rivers will be represented at the first international conference on Managing our rivers: Research and Action?
The IS. Rivers conference proposes an overview of research and actions in the service of over 55 rivers (in 32 different countries). 100 oral presentations and 70 posters are expected on 14 major French rivers, 25 European rivers and 20 rivers from around the world. 70% of the proposed papers are rather scientific, while 40% are case studies. Many papers bring together operational and scientific actors.
The meeting brings together research and action in the service of the rivers. Does the Rhone River offer an exemplary situation in this area?
In the case of the Rhone River, there is a long practice of dialogue among... Lire la suite
The Rivers and Heritage Database was created by the Rhone River Centre to facilitate access to information on the Rhone. Numerous documentary and scientific resources exist; however, they are maintained and disseminated about the linear river by a wide variety of organizations (museums, public archives, associations). Giving access to professionals or the public at large to this data is the key to maintaining the status of rivers as shared cultural heritage and to affirming their role in the development of territories.
Launched in 2010, the database combines two tools designed for different audiences: a system of shared information for professionals and a public website with a search engine, giving access to research on the river and its heritage.
The database relies on an inter-regional... Lire la suite
The World Heritage site of Luang Prabang, situated at the meeting of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers in northern Laos, is at an important crossroads in its history.
Sixteen years after its inclusion on the World Heritage list, and following an active policy of restoration, the town today faces numerous urban pressures, which threaten to undermine its integrity and values. The site’s growing prestige has fuelled an exponential growth in tourism over the past decade, especially among Asian travel-seekers. The resultant economic boom has however placed great strain on the relatively small town, which derives its value from its unique layout and the relationship between its urban and natural landscapes. Factors such as urban consolidation in the historic city centre, infrastructure... Lire la suite