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Rivers provide mankind with key benefits, such as water supply, food, hydropower, navigation, irrigation, ecosystem services and recreation. They are fundamental to life and frequently possess major cultural significance. However, they are currently threatened by unsustainable “overuse” and problems of increased floods and droughts.

Large rivers are particularly exposed to the impacts of multiple uses. As a consequence, World’s Large Rivers (WLRs) are severely endangered leading to an urgent need for action.

Since there exists no global assessment of the present status of WLRs, their likely future response to climate change and other anthropogenic impacts this Chair is in charge to organize proposals for projects on the status and future of the WLRs together with the coordination of the World’s Large Rivers Initiative (WLRI). The Chair fosters Conferences on the Status and Future of the WLRs, establishes linkages between river research and management, educates and raises awareness related to rivers.

This UNESCO Chair is located at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna and started its activities on January 1st, 2014. The Chairholder is Prof. Helmut Habersack.

Amazon river / Public domain NASA’s World WindCongo river © 2005 Kim GjerstadMurray river © 2009 MattinbgnMississippi river © Richard KeelingYangtze river © 2007 Luo ShaoyangDanube river © 2009 Margit Gerstl