09 Aug Keynote Speaker: Dr Stuart Orr, the Leader of Freshwater Practice at World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
Rivers have played a central role in human history and civilisation – and are still essential to our societies, cultures and economies today. Yet, decision makers have consistently failed to value rivers for their full spectrum of benefits – with detrimental effects for people and nature. Traditionally, rivers have been valued primarily as water sources for cities, irrigation and hydropower. But they provide a far broader set of services, which deliver immense benefits to societies, economies, and ecosystems.
These ‘hidden’ benefits of healthy rivers (flood mitigation, freshwater fisheries, stable deltas, fertile floodplains, extraordinary biodiversity, etc.) are invariably not understood, recognised, or valued and thus are not a priority for management – until they are lost. But these losses are not inevitable and unavoidable: they are a choice. And we can – we must – choose a new course that values rivers for all their diverse benefits.
About Dr Stuart Orr:
Stuart Orr is the Leader of WWF’s Freshwater Practice at World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). He has spent his career devising and testing innovative approaches to freshwater conservation by engaging business and finance, and focussing on emerging themes such as the water-food-energy nexus, economic incentives, bankable financing and water-related risk. He has written numerous scientific papers and publications on issues ranging from corporate water governance to fish protein. He serves on a number of advisory councils and non-profit boards as well as supporting conservation projects in over 40 countries. Stuart holds an MSc in Environment and Development from the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia, UK.
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