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Rios Vivos Coalition
History and Background

Rios Vivos Coalition is one of the most important Latin America''s networks. Besides the local support, it counts on the help of members of NGOs from Europe and United States. Many private and public organizations, research institutes, traditional and indigenous communities are involved with Rios Vivos'' targets.

The first efforts towards the articulation of the Coalition occurred during the United Nations Environment Conference, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. During that meeting, several organizations manifested their concerns about the Parana - Paraguay Waterway Megaproject, which covers 3,442 km across the Pantanal, from Brazil to Uruguay.

After these initial contacts among organizations, several NGOs from Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, based at the Prata River Basin, initiated a mobilization. Several meetings took place, gathering Indigenous and Traditional Communities, Environmental and Social NGOs, Governmental and Non-governmental Research Institutes, NGO networks, Scientists and others.

At a Seminar, held in São Paulo, Brazil, 1994, with the participation of several organizations from the Prata Basin and North American and European NGOs, the strategies for actions on the Paraná - Paraguay Waterway were defined and the Rios Vivos Coalition was formally created. After a short period of time, the Coalition could count with the support of over 300 organizations that shared similar concerns and interests, engaged with the proposals specially regarding the waterway project.

During these initial six years of existence (1994 to 2000), the Coalition promote several meetings and workshops, achieving concrete results:
· The Brazilian Government had to abandon the initial project of building the Parana - Paraguay Waterway.
· Several indigenous meetings were promoted, particularly in Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay, supporting their demands for territories and in the defense of their indigenous way of living.
· Several meetings were organized in order to support the civil society rights to participate of decision making process, fighting for a sustainable developmental model and for alternatives of development in the local perspective.

Currently Rios Vivos is an organization concerned with broader issues, either regarding the issues or the members involved on the tasks. Rios Vivos supports not only issues related to the Prata River Basin but, also, acts and articulate in the Amazonian Basin in Brazilian and Bolivian territory. The Coalition has several members from Latin American countries and is a reference for civil society.

Nowadays, the Coalition works on other megaprojects such as: the Yacaretá and Porto Primavera Dams; the Araguaia - Tocantins Waterway in the Amazonian Basin and the Bolivia - Brazil pipeline. Rios Vivos also comprehended the need of a profound analysis of the current developmental paradigm responsible of promoting infra - structural projects, looking for alternative sustainable development answers for each region.

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