29 September – 1 October

European rivers summit 2022

Brussels – Belgium


European rivers SUMMIT


Wetlands International EuropeEuroNaturGEOTARiverwatch and WWF Adria invite you
to the third European Rivers Summit in Brussels, Belgium from 29 September to 1 October.

The European Rivers Summit aims to inspire a movement of connected citizens in Europe to protect and restore European rivers, fight new dams and remove obsolete barriers. Healthy rivers are essential to delivering the European Green Deal and we aim to connect river champions around Europe to policy-makers in Brussels, with a two-day conference plus a third day to visit a river restoration site.

The event will inform attendees on the most important policy issues, big ideas and latest science around healthy rivers, and engage directly with Brussels as the home of the European Commission and Parliament in defending healthy rivers for people across Europe. We will also explore the power of communicating about rivers in film and art and see the transformative power of restoring urban rivers.

Questions? E-mail us: info@riverssummit.org

Video Highlights

More than 170 participants and 50 speakers helped strengthen and inspire the movement of citizens fighting for free-flowing rivers at the Summit! Discover some of the highlights on video thanks to Dmitry Lisenko, an independent activist and video maker, on his Youtube channel ‘Be Brave to Act’. 

» 17.45 - 20.00 | Dam Busters – Restoring Europe’s Rivers - a policy discussion

WWF and MEP César Luena are organising a policy event on the restoration of free-flowing rivers in Europe, held in the European Parliament. The event will include the projection of the short movieDam Busters – Restoring Europe’s Rivers”. It will be followed by a panel discussion on the EU Nature Restoration Law and the need to include an ambitious framework for the restoration of free-flowing rivers, with distinguished speakers from the European Parliament and Member States. A cocktail reception will follow.

Please note that registration is now closed as the event is full. 

Location: European Parliament


» 8:30 - 9:30 | Registration and coffee
» 09:30-10:45 | Intro & Keynotes
  • Welcome by moderator – Yurena Lorenzo, Wetlands International Europe
  • Joint Keynote address – Annette Spangenberg, EuroNatur & Ulli Eichelmann, Riverwatch on Saving the Blue Heart of Europe followed by Q & A – Slides Ulli Eichelmann
  • Keynote address – MEP Marie Toussaint – Inspiring environmental activism and Rights for Nature followed by Q & A –
  • Keynote address – Martin Ohse, Environment Brussels – Slides Martin Ohse
» 10:45-11:15 | Coffee And Networking Break
» 11:15-12:20 | The European Green Deal – policies and activism for rivers
  • Bold Action Needed – The State of Europe’s Rivers – Claire Baffert, WWF EPO – Slides Claire Baffert
  • Nature Restoration Law – New Opportunities for restoring rivers – Sergiy Moroz, European Environmental Bureau –
  • The fight against hydropower in the context of the revision of the renewable energy directive – Marilena D’auria, EuroNatur – Slides Marilena D’auria
  • The threats to rivers from transportation – Wouter Langhout, Frankfurt Zoological Society – Slides Wouter Langhout
  • Panel moderator: Andrea Goltara, CIRF
» 12:20-13:15 | Human Rights and River Activism
  • River activism around the world – Bonnie Barclay, International Rivers – Slides Bonnie Barclay
  • Access to Justice – Ewa Dabrowska, ClientEarth – Slides Ewa Dabrowska
  • Justyna Choroś, OTOP Polish Society for the Protection of Birds
  • Neža Posnjak, Slovenian Native Fish Society – Slides Neža Posnjak
  • Panel Moderator: Amelie Huber, EuroNatur
» 13:15-14:00 | LUNCH BREAK
  • Lunch provided at the conference venue
» 14:00-14:05 | Attention Decision-Makers

Our Demands – Environment, Energy, Accession, Human Rights, Youth, Cornelia Wieser, Riverwatch – Slides Cornelia Wieser

» 14:05-14:35 | Fighting River and Coastal Pollution
  • Gaëlle Haut, Surfrider Foundation Europe – Slides Gaëlle Haut
  • Man-made pollution of the Oder River – a story of (un)loved river and social mourning – Ewa Leś, Coalition Clean Baltic – Slides Ewa Lés
» 14:35-15:30 | Anglers and outdoor allies fighting for rivers
» 16:00-17:00 | Your river – your fight. River activism around Europe
» 17:30 | BREAK
» 18:30-19:30 | Dinner
  • Free pizza and drinks at Cinema Galeries!
» 19:30-22:00 | River Film Festival – #DamBusters World Premiere

The River Film Festival will feature the world premiere of “#DamBusters – The Start of the Riverlution”, followed by a question & answer session and cocktail reception

Location: Cinema Galeries in Central Brussels. Galerie de la Reine 28, 1000 Bruxelles.


How to go from the venue to the cinema:

By metro: walk for 10 minutes to the metro station Merode, take line 5 or 1 to Erasme/Gare de l’Ouest and get off at Centrale (5 stops). Walk for 5 minutes.

By foot: 40 minutes.

» 09:00 | Arrival
» 09:00-09:30 | Intro & Keynotes
  • Day 2 Introduction by moderator – Yurena Lorenzo, Wetlands International Europe
  • Keynote address – Saving the Loire, wild rivers and busting dams in France – Roberto Epple, European Rivers Network followed by Q & A – Slides Roberto Epple
» 09:30-10:30 | Youth Activism & Rivers
  • Scientists for Rivers – Inspiring scientists, students, and river defenders – Vera Knook, the River Collective – Slides Vera Knook
  • Alessandro Caretto, Youth for the Rhine – Slides Alessandro Caretto
  • River youth activism in legal and political EU advocacy​ – Giulia Testa, Global Youth Biodiversity Network Europe – Slides Giulia Testa
  • Besjana Guri, EcoAlbania
  • Adela Baratech Sánchez, World Fish Migration Foundation
  • Panel moderator: Lisa Ruston, Wetlands International Europe
» 10:30-11:30 | Funding and support for river restoration and protection
  • An Introduction to the Endangered Landscapes Programme​ – David Thomas,
    Endangered Landscapes Programme at the Cambridge Conservation Initiative – Slides David Thomas
  • Beth Thoren, Patagonia – Slides Beth Thoren
  • Funding and support for river restoration and protection – Federico de Filippi, European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency – Slides Federico de Filippi
» 11:55-12:55 | River Heroes & DamBusters – Promising Tools for River Activism
» 12:55-13:35 | LUNCH BREAK
  • Lunch provided at the conference venue
» 13:35-14:40 | Science-led initiatives for rivers
  • The myth of clean hydropower – Gary Wockner, River Warrior – Slides Gary Wockner
  • Trans-European Swimways Initiative – Heather Bond, Wetlands International Europe – Slides Heather Bond
  • Restoring free flowing riversbiodiversity conservation and adaptation to CC – Andrea Goltara, CIRF – Slides Andrea Goltara 
  • Diving into river open science! – River University – Ewa Leś, Coalition Clean Baltic – Slides Ewa Leś
» 14:40-15:30 | Celebrating our Successes - Permanent protection for Europe’s Rivers
  • Transboundary river protection, Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve – Ivana Korn Varga, WWF Adria – Slides Ivana Korn Varga
  • Vjosa Wild River National Park, Albania – Besjana Guri, EcoAlbania – Slides Besjana Guri
  • Banning small hydropower in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Suncica Kovacevic, Foundation Atelier for Community Transformation (ACT) – Slides Suncica Kovacevic
» 15:50-16:20 | Communicating the power of free-flowing rivers
  • Danijel Lonĉar, Independent storyteller – Slides Danijel Lonĉar
  • Rivers of people, people for rivers  – Camila Kuncar, Iberian Centre For River Restoration (CIREF) and Caminar El Agua – Slides Camila Kuncar
» 16:20-17:20| MAVA Foundation Legacy for Mediterranean Rivers
» 17:20-17:50 | Wrap up plenary discussion – The future of river activism, EU Policy and Our Demands
» 17:50-18:00 | Closing the Third European River Summit & Outlook
» 18:00 | End of Day 2

Join us for a drink!

» 18:30-22:00 | DINNER & ENTERTAINMENT

Dinner and drinks at the conference venue, followed by a performance by Oktaba Paradise Band

» 10:00 – 14:00 | Urban river restoration
Senne River restoration field visit
Bruxelles Environnement (Brussels region) and the NGO Coordination Senne will take us for a walk along the Senne River, starting in Anderlecht with a history of the river and overview of the restoration work and projects that have been done and are planned.
Chartered bus transportation and picnic lunch provided.
Buses will depart at 10 am!
We plan to be back in Central Brussels by 14:00.
Meeting point:
Rue Cardinal Mercier bus stop (close to Brussels Central Station).


Ulrich Eichelmann


Marie Toussaint

Member, European Parliament; founder of Notre Affaire à tous

Gary Wockner

Save the Poudre, Save the Colorado, Save the World’s Rivers

César Luena

Member, European Parliament

David Thomas

Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI)

Beth Thoren


Pao Fernandez Garrido

World Fish Migration Foundation

Yurena Lorenzo

Wetlands International Europe

Claire Baffert speaker 2022

Claire Baffert

WWF European Policy Office

Sergiy Moroz

European Environmental Bureau

Sampsa Vilhunen

WWF Finland

Bonnie Barclay

International Rivers

Heather Bond

Wetlands International Europe

Vera Knook

The River Collective

Sunčica Kovačević

Atelier for Community Transformation

Andrea Goltara

Italian Centre for River Restoration (CIRF)

Cornelia Wieser


Besjana Guri


Wouter Langhout

Frankfurt Zoological Society

Catarina Miranda

Rios Livres GEOTA

Bettina Urbanek

WWF Austria

Alessandro Caretto

Youth for the Rhine

Ivana Korn Varga

WWF Adria

Alexandra Pappa


Danijel Lonĉar

Independent Storyteller

Nina Pantović

Save Komarnica

Jelena Popović

Save Komarnica

Giulia Testa

Global Youth Biodiversity Network Europe

Maja Pravuljac


Gaëlle Haut

Surfrider Foundation Europe

Camila Kuncar

Iberian Centre For River Restoration (CIREF) and Caminar El Agua

Christer Borg

Älvräddarnas Samorganisation (River Saver’s Association)

Åsa Renman

The Norwegian Biodiversity Network (Sabima)

Nils Harley Boisen

The Norwegian Biodiversity Network (Sabima)

Lorena Segura

Tour du Valat

Vlastimil Karlík

Arnika Association

Eleana Kazila

Greek rivers without barriers

Dragana Mileusnic

The Nature Conservancy – TNC

Ewa Leś

Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB)

Justyna Choroś

OTOP – The Polish Society for the Protection of Birds

Neža Posnjak

Slovenian Native Fish Society

Marilena D'Auria


Ewa Dąbrowska


Dan Yates

Save our Rivers

Małgorzata Górska

OTOP (Polish Society for the Protection of Birds)

Federico De Felippi

CINEA ( European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency)

Roberto Epple

European Rivers Network

Amelie Huber


Annette Spangenberg


Teresa Zuna

Wetlands International Europe


The first European Rivers Summit was held in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2018 and the second in Lisbon, Portugal in 2021.

Dambusters 2022


Celebrating free rivers, clean water and freshwater life

Join us 29 September for an evening of inspiring river films in the heart of Brussels at the atmospheric Cinema Galeries art house cinema, featuring the world premiere of the documentary “#DamBusters – The Start of the Riverlution”.

After the screening there will be a Question & Answer session with the director and several of the DamBusters in attendance, followed by a cocktail reception in the gallery space.

Check out the trailer and all the details of the film festival!


European Rivers Summit 2022

Venue: Le Bouche à Oreille
11 Rue Félix Hap, Etterbeek, 1040 Brussels, Belgium
Dates: 29 September morning until the 1st of October afternoon.

Contact details:


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This event is supported by the European Commission through LIFE NGO funding. The proceedings reflect only the organiser’s views. The contents can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.

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