Our Work

Our Objectives

Protecting the right to water and practice democratic participatory decision-making over water management

Shared water resources become a tool for lasting peace between the different communities of the region

Water management policies and projects are socially and ecologically just and build resilient and equitable societies in Mesopotamia

The region has adapted to the reality of climate change and contributes to address the root causes of climate change

The cultural and natural heritage of the Tigris-Euphrates basin is preserved on the basis of a common Mesopotamian identity

All Mesopotamian water resources are drinkable, fishable and swimmable

For a deeper understanding of our objectives, please refer to our Terms of Reference.

Our Approach

Exchanging and building networks

We seek to bring together groups and movements in Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq concerned with the protection of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and encourage information sharing, dialogue and cooperation. With our international network, we encourage solidarity and support for environmental advocates, movements and communities in the Mesopotamian region. We support the development of skills and knowledge management for civil society in the region. Activities have included trainings for civil society in environmental campaigning, exchanges between various communities in Mesopotamia, participation in international networks to protect rivers and heritage among others.

Research

We conduct our own original research on topics related to water resources in the Mesopotamian region such as dams, pollution and water harvesting, and work alongside our partners and networks to share reports and make key information and knowledge easily accessible at all levels.  Activities have included our research on evaporation in dam reservoirs, pollution of the Tigris river and other topics

Advocacy

Our advocacy and awareness activities focus on the protection of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and the sustainable and democratic use of water resources of the basin. Some of our advocacy efforts focus on specific topics such as large dams or the protection of the Iraqi Marshes wetlands. They involve relevant actors: local communities, civil society organizations and activists, international NGOs and donors, media, authorities, academics, research centers and others. Activities have included meetings with policy-makers, university seminars, clean-ups of rivers, festivals among others.

Mesopotamian Water Forum

The Mesopotamian Water Forum is a culmination of the above. It functions as an alternative civil society forum for water, an open space to give voice to those who are marginalized and excluded from the discussion about water management in the Tigris-Euphrates basin. It involves civil society actors from the entire region of Mesopotamia within the states of Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria. The Forum provides a space for open and public dialogue about the status and access of bodies of water in the Mesopotamian region, with particular emphasis on the issue of water rights in the Mesopotamian context. The Forum proposes a framework for a water policy which is based on social and ecological principles, such as participation and sustainability. Read more here.

Benefits for the Region

Save the Tigris Foundation believes in the integral role that civil societies can play toward the protection and equitable use of watercourses and water resources. Our work, alongside local movements, organizations and communities aims to bridge the gaps left by the lack of transparency from top-level actors and absence of inclusive, democratic participation in decision-making processes.

Communities and movements are empowered through training, increased access to information and research, and support and solidarity from international actors, but are respected in their autonomy and the strength of their own voice and mission.

Rivers know no boundaries. In facilitating cross-border information sharing and research, in organizing events such as the Mesopotamian Water Forum, and in bringing groups together, Save the Tigris Foundation’s international advocacy platform addresses key concerns in the region to the benefit of many who are facing increasing uncertainty over their access to clean water, their livelihoods and their homelands.

Key Actions

An overview of the key actions accomplished by the campaign since its foundation in 2012

  • Addressed the protection of the Iraqi Marshes directly with UNESCO and country delegations through annual high-level meetings, open letters and reports
  • Trained over 200 Iraqi youth in environmental campaigning
  • Established a network in 11 Iraqi cities to advocate and conduct activities targeting local actors
  • Published 8 original research reports on dam construction, pollution and other topics on water resources in the Tigris-Euphrates basin
  • Published 47 press statements and open letters to advocate for protection of the Tigris-Euphrates rivers
  • Conducted a 4-day edition of the Mesopotamian Water Forum, and a virtual edition, attended by over 200 civil society representatives
  • Organized over 20 cleanups of Tigris river tributaries
  • Conducted 9 festivals and youth camps in Iraq in the framework of Iraqi Water Week and other events
  • Organized multiple exchanges between activists from Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Southern Iraq to encourage cooperation
  • Appeared at least 48 times in international media to highlight the water crisis in Mesopotamia
  • Fostered the participation of Iraqi CSOs in international networks
  • Monitored the water crisis in various Iraqi cities and regions across Mesopotamia through data collection and data exchange
  • Disseminated our reports with policymakers in the region and with international institutions
  • Conducted public events and actions such as music, seminars or manifestations to bring to attention water scarcity and the impacts of climate change in Mesopotamia

Upcoming Actions

Iraqi Water Week 2024

Next edition of the Mesopotamian Water Forum

Rainwater harvesting projects

New research publications

Participation in cross-regional learning on water diplomacy


Read our Budget plan for 2024

See our Financial Report for 2023