“My River, My Life” so appropriately defines the theme for the 1st International River Summit to be held at Iloilo City in Philippines from May 30 to June 1, 2012. Located in Panay Island, the proud city of roughly 400,000 people is pretty serious when it talks about achieving the status of the New7Wonders of Cities of the world. The vision just might come true under the leadership of Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog! What’s more – both the city and the Summit have the blessing of Philippine’s President, Benigno Aquino III. He would be gracing the occasion with a keynote address at the Closing Ceremony on Friday, June 1.
The coming week, the city of Iloilo is all set to show off the huge environmental strides it has made in reviving their beloved river, Iloilo. The river, flowing through the heart of the city, had dangerously deteriorated from lack of environmental regulations and haphazard city development. The stretch of polluted waters was lined with slum dwellings just 5 years back! Today the Iloilo River has become the center of tourism for the city with an impressive esplanade in the works to adorn its banks – a showcase of sustainable urban development.
The International Summit is convening delegations from 10 different countries on the common thread of challenges in river management and best practices. We will be hearing from international experts on the many facets rivers pose to its communities – biodiversity, climate change and disaster mitigation, governance and water quality. Defining issues specially for the densely populated areas in Southeast Asia where hundreds of millions inhabit the river basin and rapid economic development neglects and many times, endangers natural resources.