Mission & Vision

Tigr Euph

Why Our Work Matters

The great Tigris and Euphrates rivers are part of the Fertile Crescent, where humans first developed agriculture, writing and the wheel, and where Mesopotamian civilizations flourished. Today, these ancient rivers are under threat. The Tigris and Euphrates are increasingly degraded by pollution, drought and climate change, with the Mesopotamian region remaining dangerously ill-equipped and mismanaged to address the water crisis. For decades, water politics in the region (Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq) has been based on over-exploitation, extraction and competition over resources without acknowledgement of access to water as a human right.

Water quality in Mesopotamia has been severely impacted in the past years as industrial, agricultural and housing sectors pollute watercourses with their untreated water discharge, while water resources continue to be degraded as a result of droughts and climate change. Communities struggle to access clean and sufficient water, yet politically there remains a lack of transparency and an exclusion of key stakeholders, such as local communities, in decision making processes. Environmental advocates often lack a safe space to voice concerns and engage with policymakers and the public.

Megaprojects, such as dams, continue to be implemented a solution and receive strong support in the region without sufficient assessment of their environmental, societal and cultural impact. A key concern is how water infrastructure is used by actors in the region as a tool for political control, exacerbated by the lack of a basin-wide approach and coordination across borders, can enable and increase geopolitical tensions.

Save the Tigris aims to promote a collaborative and regional approach to water management in the Tigris-Euphrates basin.

For a full explanation of challenges faced and our position please refer to our Terms of Reference.

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Our Mission

We are an international civil society platform promoting lasting change for under-threat watercourses and communities in the Mesopotamian region through:

  • Building networks to link relevant groups and movements from the region and encourage international solidarity between communities in the Tigris-Euphrates basin.
  • Conducting and sharing easily accessible research and knowledge on the Tigris-Euphrates rivers to all relevant stakeholders.
  • Advocating for policies and approaches that protect the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and the safe and democratic access to water for current and future generations.
  • Supporting and providing safe advocacy and dialogue spaces for local civil societies, NGOs, activists and communities.

Our Vision

Save the Tigris believes a paradigm shift is necessary: instead of being a source of rivalry, water should be a force for peace and cooperation between all the countries and peoples of the Tigris-Euphrates basin.

We advocate for safe access to water for all the people of the Mesopotamian region, and policies that secure the sustainable and equitable use of water for all those who live in Mesopotamia and for the coming generations. Our advocacy and awareness activities involve all relevant actors: local communities, civil society organizations, media, authorities, academics, research centres and others.