International Rivers is a nonprofit environmentalist organization. Founded in 1985, the organization has supported the concept of “environmental personhood” and has received funding from the Open Society Foundations, the private philanthropic enterprise of billionaire left-of-center financial-industry billionaire and political donor George Soros.
International Rivers professes to be the only international organization that focuses primarily on protecting rivers. The organization opposes the building of dams and claims to have influence over the policies of private companies, governments, and financial institutions active in the dam sector. 
In 1985, a group of volunteers founded the organization, originally known as the International Rivers Network.  The International Rivers global headquarters is in Oakland, California, and the organization has regional offices in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  The organization claims to work in more than 60 countries as of 2021. 
International Rivers has argued for “environmental personhood,” a legal concept that entails granting rivers, trees and other environmental entities the same status as human beings in court proceedings. 
International Rivers claims to have stopped the construction of more than 2,000 dams across the world, and to have channeled $174 billion in U.S. investments away from dam projects. The organization says it has worked on 24 river basins covering 17% of the world’s total land area, and financially assisted 277 organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. International Rivers also lists 860 non-governmental organization (NGO) partners around the world. 
In Africa, International Rivers focuses on preserving the Nile River, which runs through Niger, the Congo, and Zambia, where dams have already been built.  International Rivers has also called for firms in South Africa to stop taking electricity from the Inga 3 hydropower project built in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
In Asia, the organization has staff in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and China to advocate for the reduction of pollution. In Asia, the organization focuses on protecting the Mekong, Salween, Indus, and Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna rivers. 
The organization has been active since China began construction of 11 large dams in Southeast Asia.  International Rivers has also been critical of China for its construction of dams in the Mekong River.  In the Mekong region of Southeast Asia, International Rivers organized other nonprofit groups to fight the first of 11 proposed dams on the Mekong mainstream. International Rivers helped convince the governments of both Cambodia and Vietnam to oppose the Xayaburi Dam.  International River also did research and legal work to challenge the Lao government’s plan to build the first mainstream dam on the lower Mekong. 
In Latin America, the organization focuses on fighting against any dam construction in the Amazon, the world’s largest river basin; Colombia’s Magdalena River; Peru’s Marañon River; the Usumacinta River, which flows through the Mayan rainforests; and the waters of Patagonia. 
In the Peruvian Amazon, International Rivers worked with the Ashaninka indigenous people, who were facing the alleged threat of the Pakitzapango Dam on the Ene River. The group taught the Ashaninka how to organize against the dam and connected them with other Peruvian environmentalist groups. As a result, completion of the Pakitzapango Dam was put on hold in 2010. 
Donors to the group include the Global Green Grants Fund, the Soros-funded, Open Society Foundations, Fundo Casa Socioambiental – Casa Socio Environmental Fund and the Tikva Grassroots Empowerment Fund associated with the Tides Foundation. 
Darryl Knudsen is the executive director of International Rivers. He has had more than 20 years experience in NGO advocacy in more than 30 countries. 
Maureen Harris is the director of programs for International Rivers. Previously, Harris worked as Mekong Legal Director for EarthRights International, an environmentalist organization based in Thailand, and with the Australian Human Rights Commission. 
Samir Mehta is the chief financial officer of International Rivers. He previously worked as the South Asia program director for the organization. 
Scott Spann is the chairman of the eight-member of board of directors for International Rivers. Spann is a trauma psychologist. He has been a left-of-center activist on issues of public housing and environmentalism and a member of the board since 2012.