Welcome to the page of the Save the Tigris and Iraqi Marshes Campaign!

Visit our new website: www.savethetigris.org

This page provides a general outline of the campaign. For full news and articles, please click on “Save the Tigris and Marshes” in the Quick Overview Menu on the right or visit our independent website.

News and articles          Resources and Documents          Facebook          Twitter#


Who we are: Save the Tigris and the Iraqi Marshes is an advocacy campaign that was started in March 2012 by a coalition of civil society organizations from Iraq, Turkey and Iran. The campaign is part of an international effort to Save the World Heritage on the Tigris River from the impacts of large dams. In particular Ilisu Dam, a hydroelectric project being constructed on the Tigris River by the Turkish government.

Our Challenge: The campaign seeks to link groups and movements concerned with the adverse impacts of dams and other projects on the Trigris and Euphrates, including dams in Turkey and Iran, in order to press for policies that secure the sustainable and equitable use of water for all who live in the region, including opposing the privatisation and commodification of water supplies. The initial focus of the campaign was the protection of Hasankeyf, the ancient settlement located in the southeast Turkey, and the Marshlands of Mesopotamia in south Iraq. Recently, following the security crisis in Iraq and the broader region, the scope of the campaign has been expanded to include the protection of Iraqi water infrastructure in times of conflict, to guarantee the access to safe water to all people of Iraq and the preservation of Iraq’s water resources.

Objectives of the Campaign: The campaign works to draw attention to the negative impact of large dams (in particular Ilisu Dam an Daryan Dam), the need for sustainable water policies, and to develop advocacy and awareness activities that involve all relevant actors: local communities; civil society organisations; media; national and local institutions; societies of experts and intellectuals; research centres; universities and others.

Read/download our Terms of Reference (updated: February 2015)

The current members of the Save the Tigris and Iraqi Marshes Campaign:

Iraq: Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI)Iraqi People’s Campaign to Save the Tigris, Tammuz Organization for Social Development, All Mesalla, Iraqi Social Forum, Ma’aluma (Information Center), Humat Dijla, Waterkeepers Iraq

Turkey: Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive 

Iran: Alpine Club of Iran/Mountain Watch

International: Un Ponte Per… (Italy), Corner House (UK), Gegenstroemung/Countercurrent (Germany), Environmental Defenders Law Center (US), Association for Water and Forest Studies/FIVAS (Norway)

Save the Tigris Campaign Press Conference in Erbil, May 12 2015. Nick Hildyard from Cornerhouse, Johanna Rivera from Save the Tigris Campaign, Salar Ahmed from Al-Mesalla and Toon Bijnens from Save the Tigris Campaign.

Save the Tigris Campaign Press Conference in Erbil, May 12 2015. Nick Hildyard from Cornerhouse, Johanna Rivera from Save the Tigris Campaign, Salar Ahmed from Al-Mesalla and Toon Bijnens from ICSSI/Save the Tigris Campaign.


Ways you can get involed

  • Visit our website: www.savethetigris.org
  • You can join the campaign as an organization or individual
  • Read about the impact of the Ilisu Dam and the threats other large dams pose to Iraq. Our aim is to make this information easily available. Go to our Resources and Documents page.
  • Stay up to date with Latest News about our actions and about the  Tigris River
  • You can like and share our Campaign Page on Facebook and share it with friends
  • Watch and share our Youtube video to promote the preservation of the Marshes. Also available in Arabic.
  • Follow our Twitter hash-tag: #Save_Tigris

Contact the Steering Committee for any further inquiries. Send an email to the Campaign Coordinator: coordinator.en@savethetigris.org

If you would like to have the information on this page in Arabic, you can also use the following link: عربي 


Latest Campaign Updates

*19 December 2016: civil society gathers in Halabja, Iraqi Kurdistan, for a seminar on the desastrous impact of Daryan Dam.

*8 December 2016: Youth activists of the campaign hold their annual camp in the Marshes.

*5 December 2016: Activists from an international coalition that includes Save the Tigris Campaign demand companies to withdraw from a project to relocate the Zeynel Bey tomb in the town of Hasankeyf which is threatened by Ilisu Dam in Turkey.

*12 November 2016: A message is delivered from Save the Tigris Campaign to the COP22, where the campaign was present.

*28 October 2016: A report is released by the Save the Tigris Campaign on the impact of the Daryan Dam, currently under construction in Iran, on the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The report is primarily based on new research and was presented at the Norwegian Social Forum in Oslo.

*23 September 2016: At the Iraqi Social Forum in Baghdad, activists hold a seminar on the followup procedures after the inscription of the Marshes in the World Heritage List.

*1 August 2016: Baghdad activists celebrate the inscription of the Marshes in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

*16 June 2016: A Great Achievement After 4 years of Campaigning: The Marshes of Iraq Inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage! UNESCO named the Iraqi marshlands as a world heritage site! The area named “is made up of seven sites: three archaeological sites and four wetland marsh areas in southern Iraq

*8-9 June 2016: At the conclusion of this year’s annual conference of World Heritage Watch in Istanbul, civil society organizations presented their list of resolutions. These were submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC), which took place from 10-20 July 2016 in Istanbul. The resolutions included a particular recommendation for the WHC State members to vote for inclusion of the Iraqi Marshes in the UNESCO World Heritage List. During the conference, the Campaign conducted a presentation on the work of Iraqi civil society for a sustainable development of the Marshlands

*2-3 July 2016: Iraqi academics in London host the conference ‘Water Resources in Iraq: the Challenges and Solutions’ during which the Save the Tigris Campaign talks about the challenges faced by the campaign.

*26-27 June 2016: In a training in Erbil from 26-27 June, a new group of Iraqi youth activists of the campaign participated together with other Iraqi as well as international activists on the urgency of protecting Iraq’s water resources. The training was followed by a fact-finding mission with international activists of the campaign and the new partner Waterkeepers Iraq in Iraqi Kurdistan.


Workshop in Erbil

*June 2016: In cooperation with the University of Salah Aldin and the Save the Tigris and Iraqi Marshes Campaign, Al-Messala Organization held a seminar on the subject of large dams and their negative impact on humans, environment and biodiversity.

*May 2016: The Iraqi Social Forum and the Save the Tigris Campaign participate in the “ I Have Hope” festival on the Al-Aimmah Bridge, Baghdad.

*7-8 May 2016: Tigris River Valley Symposium in Batman, Turkey. The Save the Tigris Campaign was present in order to express its solidarity with the people of Hasankeyf and to strengthen the forces that oppose Ilisu Dam. In a panel presentation, the case of the Iraqi Marshes, the magnitude of Ilisu Dam’s impact on Iraq and the advocacy efforts of the campaign were presented and discussed with the audience

*8 April 2016: “Humat Dijla” Festival is held in Baghdad in the framework of the International Day of Action for Rivers, organized by activists of the campaign.


Humat Dijla Festival in Baghdad

*12-14 February 2016: International and Iraqi activists of the campaign gather in Istanbul for an ICSSI workshop to discuss a 2-year action plan.


* Watch the following video, published by our campaign; “The Iraqi Marshes: Beauty and Civilization in Danger”.

* Climate Change in Iraq: A Map of Climate Change in Iraq, look to the different climate change challenges that Iraq faces.The following map is part of an effort to map climate change impacts in Iraq. It shows different Iraqi cities and the corresponding climate change challenges. It contains pictures as well as other links to reports and additional information from different sources. (Note: To see the map in full screen, please click on the upper right square)

Marsh Arabs protest against Ilisu Dam in Hasankeyf, Turkey, May 2012

Marsh Arabs protest against Ilisu Dam in Hasankeyf, Turkey, May 2012.