Australian Partners

International RiverFoundation

The International RiverFoundation (IRF) is a not-for-profit organisation helping to revive and protect the world?s rivers and the communities who depend on them. We do this through recognising, rewarding and applying best practice river management and restoration world-wide. The IRF was established in Brisbane, Australia in 2003, to support the sustainable management of river basins to achieve improved health, ecological, economic, and social outcomes. IRF?s primary platform for education and knowledge exchange is the annual International Riversymposium. In 2015, nearly 600 delegates from 40 countries, representing business, communities, government and researchers assembled in Brisbane under the theme ?Healthy Rivers ? Healthy Economies?. The 2016 International Riversymposium will be held in New Delhi, India with the theme ?Great Rivers of the World ? Management for Shared Benefits?. IRF is also well known for awarding the most prestigious global river management award ? the Thiess International Riverprize. To date, 16 international prizes and 14 Australian Riverprizes have been awarded. In 2013, the first IRF European Riverprize was awarded and in 2015, the first North American and New Zealand Riverprizes were awarded. After awarding these prizes, IRF helps to establish ?twinning? projects between Riverprize winners and communities in need across the globe ? this highly successful peer-to-peer knowledge exchange program connects 35 countries. IRF also has a growing portfolio of on-ground river restoration projects which apply holistic ?Integrated River Basin Management? practices, driven by local stakeholders. IRF helps to support and foster aspiring water leaders in developing countries by awarding Ken Thiess Memorial Scholarships and has expanded this emphasis in 2015 by initiating the Emerging Water Professionals Program, held in conjunction with the International Riversymposium.

i. Applying best practice river basin management, restoration and protection worldwide ii. Global knowledge exchange via conferences/symposia iii. Twinning projects ? 15 years practical experience iv. Specialist peer review by world-leading practitioners and researchers v. Application of Integrated River Basin Management methodology in practice vi. Thought leadership in river basin management vii. Strategic advice on the project planning and implementation viii. Stakeholder engagement and capacity building ix. Prize management x. Communications and events management

  • International Riversymposium
    The International Riversymposium is a renowned annual conference focussed on river management and restoration. Its holistic design integrates disciplines and sectors, providing a forum for policy makers, industries, community groups, NGOs and scientists to interact and exchange knowledge and ideas. The International Riversymposium is held in Brisbane every second year and elsewhere in Australia or overseas in alternate years. The Riversymposium runs the strongest and largest keynote program worldwide and supports the development of over 60 emerging water professionals annually.
  • Riverprize
    Established in 1999, Riverprize gives recognition, reward and support to those who have developed and implemented outstanding, visionary and sustainable programs in river management. IRF now awards five Riverprize awards each year, the Thiess International, Australian European, North American and New Zealand Riverprizes – and aims to eventually have a Riverprize in each continent. The Asian Riverprize will be launched in 2016 and awarded in 2018.
  • Twinning
    The IRF Twinning Program supports river management mentoring partnerships across the globe. Twinning allows river basin managers to learn from those who have proven expertise in this field. Focused on knowledge exchange, Riverprize winners, finalists or other experts form a partnership with another organisation, usually in a developing country, and guide and support each other to achieve their river restoration goals. In doing so, river management experts have the opportunity to share best practice while developing new professional and personal skills. Twinning has supported many world renowned partnerships. IRF is the nominated lead Twinning organisation for the GEF IW:LEARN program.
  • River recovery and river stewardship projects
    As a ‘voice for rivers’ the IRF has developed a new River Recovery program for river restoration works around the world, coordinated by regional partner offices. The IRF facilitates local initiatives with communities, industry, governments and research facilities. These initiatives cover a range of areas including science, education, gender, indigenous peoples and livelihoods. IRF has recently partnered with The Forest Trust to initiate a new River Stewardship initiative working with corporates globally to improve the sustainability of their enterprises, including in developing countries. Three projects have been initiated in the River Recovery and River Stewardship Program.
  • Education and professional development
    Since 2009, IRF has offered the Ken Thiess Memorial Scholarship annually, providing support for up to two outstanding students from developing countries to study the International WaterCentre’s Master in Integrated Water Management. In 2014 IRF launched the international Emerging Water Professional Award to recognise and encourage future water leaders. In 2015 IRF expanded its focus on developing water leaders by initiating the Emerging Water Professional Program, subscribed by over 60 participants, through which graduates and early career professionals network, engage in professional development activities and enhance their skills.
  • Exchange programs
    IRF supports leading river scientists, policy makers and practitioners from less developed countries to attend the International Riversymposium each year as sponsored delegates. Sponsored delegates are often keynotes or significant participants in the symposium program, improving the balance across developed and developing countries. IRF also supports people exchange through its twinning projects and will expand on these fertile interactions through the new IRF Alumni Network and Emerging Water Professional Program.
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