2018 Great Rivers Forum: Converging Rivers Civilizations for a Sustainable Future


From October 28to 30, the 2018 Great Rivers Forum (GRF) is held at the Changjiang Civilization Museum in Wuhan, China, on the theme of “Confluence: Great Rivers Civilizations—High Quality Development for a Sustainable Future”. This forum is jointly organized by the Municipal Government of Wuhan and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) through its Beijing Office. It is hosted by the Cultural Bureau of Wuhan, the Foreign Affairs Office of the Municipal Government of Wuhan, and the Changjiang Civilization Museum, and supported by the Great Rivers Civilization Research Center.

The Great Rivers Forum offers itself as an open international platform for experts and managers from various fields. The involvement of sister cities and UNESCO networks (World Heritage sites, Creative Cities, Biosphere Reserves and Ecohydrology Pilot Sites) in this cooperative effort will contribute to push forward high-quality development along great rivers, with particular attention to their ecological and cultural environment.


Expert Perspectives on Rivers Civilizations and Sustainable Development


The 2018 GRF will run one high-level round-table and three parallel expert sessions. At the high-level round-table, heads and officials of relevant institutions and river basin authorities will discuss “The Integration of River Culture and Environment in the Management of Great River Basins”, from the perspective of managers.

The three expert sessions will focus on: “River Culture: preserve and let evolve natural and cultural heritages”, “Visualizing Water Worlds along Great Rivers – Water Museums, Heritage, Memory and Sense of Place”, and “Urban development along great rivers – re-connecting the city with its river”.

These sessions will gather experts, scholars, and officials from different fields to exchange and learn from each other, and to explore the sustainable development of rivers and basins from different angles.


Future Development of Rivers


Over 150 guests will participate in this forum, including more than 80 guests from China and over 70 international guests.

The Forum can count on the participation of experts and officials from international organizations such as UNESCO, the International Council of Museums, and the Global Network of Water Museums; senior researchers from great rivers areas; researchers from academic institutions such as the Columbia University, the Russian Academy of Sciences, or the Wuhan University; UNESCO centers and chairs; and well-known Chinese academicians. They will share their expertise on the sustainable development of great rivers, their basins and cities.


GRFs Provide Venue for Ongoing Collaboration and International Influence


The GRF is held every two years. Following the first successful edition in 2016, the 2018 GRF has been improved in many aspects. The contribution of UNESCO in its organization has brought a broader and more international perspective, considering in particular the number of overseas participants, the size of the forum, the fields it covers and the themes it addresses.

At the “Water Confluences Ceremony” of this forum, representatives from different river basins will pour water from their respective rivers into the same container, symbolizing the spirit of the 2018 GRF—“integrating the open and inclusive Chinese spirit into the great process of building the shared future of mankind, via dialogues, in the context of the world's great river basins.”

GRF will uphold this spirit and continue to bring together cutting-edge development experiences, environmental management approaches, economic wisdom, and the cultural appeal of the rivers, to become a forum of international relevance and influence.



Media Contact: Peiling GAN  p.gan@unesco.org