The pressures and impacts on the World’s Large Rivers have increased greatly in recent years. Large rivers are particularly exposed to problems of multiple uses, often with conflicting aims. At the global scale, there is no comprehensive assessment of the current status of the World’s Large Rivers, the conflicting demands on such rivers, and likely future anthropogenic impacts, as well as the potential for restoration and the associated problems.
In 2011 the first International Conference on „The Status and Future of the World’s Large Rivers“ in Vienna, Austria, provided a global forum for a wide-ranging discussion of key issues related to research on large rivers and to their effective and sustainable management, involving both scientists and decision makers. This successful event has been continued in 2014 in Manaus, Brazil at the fascinating Amazon River, and in 2017 in New Delhi, India at the outstanding Ganga River.
In this context, a new UNESCO / IHP Programme (WLRI - World’s Large Rivers Initiative) has been established in 2014, which aims to foster a global network of programmes and partners related to the work and research at large rivers. In 2018 the WLRI officially became part of the UNESCO-IHP work programme.