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.