Our story

Save the Tigris (then known as Save the Tigris and Iraqi Marshes Campaign) started as a civil society initiative in March 2012 by a coalition of Mesopotamian and international social and environmental activists to save the natural and cultural heritage on the Tigris River from the impacts of dams and other destructive megaprojects. The campaign was conducted with the support of the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) and initially focused on Ilisu Dam, a large dam under construction on the Tigris River in Turkey which would obliterate the ancient town of Hasankeyf, and the protection of the wetlands of the Iraqi Marshes. A big achievement was the inscription of the Marshes in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016, following several years of campaigning. Consequently our name was changed into Save the Tigris Campaign.

Our goal has been to gradually bring the voices of Iraqi civil society to the international stage, and promote the participation of environmental activists from the Mesopotamian region in international networks in order for the global community to learn about the water crisis unfolding in Iraq and the region. We have therefore always fostered the exchange of knowledge and skills between Mesopotamian activists and international civil society.

Throughout the past decade, our focus has become increasingly regional. Save the Tigris invested heavily in the development of transnational networks, particularly with the implementation of solidarity actions between the countries of the region, and since 2016 with the participation of Iraqi, Syrian, Turkish and Iranian activists in our meetings, conferences. culminating in the first Mesopotamian Water Forum of 2019, followed by a virtual edition during the pandemic of 2020. The Forum became a key-component of the work of Save the Tigris. Meanwhile we published original research on a wide range of topics including Tigris River pollution in Baghdad, evaporation in dam reservoirs in Iraq, Daryan Dam in Iran, the status of the Iraqi Marshes, rainwater harvesting in Syria and other topics. We appeared over 48 times in international media outlets ranging from The Guardian, NRC Handelsblad to Deutsche Welle, Le Figaro. Through our interventions, we highlighted the water crisis in Mesopotamia at various international platforms including the UN COP Climate Change Conference, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting, World Social Forum, and many others.

Following years of networking and training of Iraqi youth and activists, Humat Dijlah (Tigris Protectors) was founded in 2018, an Iraqi-based CSO working on environmental issue sin Iraq.

In 2020, we registered as a Dutch foundation based in Amsterdam, known as Save the Tigris. In 2022 we obtained the Dutch government-certified ANBI status.

Strategic Meeting Gathering 2017



Based in the Netherlands





Steering Committee

The advisory body of Save the Tigris consists of 10 people from the region and other countries


Some of our past and present donors have included:

Ccfd Terre Solidaire
Medico International
Ihe Delft Crowd Logo
Eu Commission
Karibu Foundation