Conclusions of the Stockholm World Water Week session on the “role of youth in building resilience”Update 2021-09-03
World Water Week 2021 – Session #9712
Expertise comes in all forms and shapes, ages and origins. From on the ground climate activists to high-level diplomats, building resilience is a multi-dimensional challenge that demands cooperation. Evidence has shown that Involving youth is of vital importance when it comes to resilience, and it can be done in different ways and at different levels.
This session started by setting the scene with three concrete examples of how to incorporate youth in resilience building.
- Ahmed Alboraey (World Youth Parliament for Water) presented youth visions and actions for peacebuilding, cooperation, and water security from 6 different regions.
- Andréa Ferret (French Water Partnership) introduced Nature Based Solutions’ principles and guidelines as well as ways for youth to promote NBS as a key resilient strategy – better education, advocacy, awareness raising at community level, etc.
- Yvonne Dube (YEP/Netherland Water Partnership) and Cédric Berthot (Solidarités international) presented challenges for youth to contribute to WASH resilience in a fragile context – get involved in youth WASH programs and training, community level programs, advocacy, humanitarian coordination, …
The second part of the session allowed participants to provide more examples on how young people contribute to building resilience in each of the themes (Peacebuilding, WASH and NBS) and identify what could help young leaders to have a more active and impactful role in building resilience. The roundtables were organized in 4 different languages to increase inclusiveness and participation.
A large part of the 1.2 billion youth aged 15 to 24 years in the world is exposed to water insecurity. Therefore, more and more young people are willing to act and bring changes to water governance. For example, many young entrepreneurs are trying to set up start-ups in a fragile context and bring solutions to grassroots communities. They also take part in global conversation on water management. More and more organisations acknowledge the importance of youth participation, which is positive. However, the road between recognition and effective youth engagement is still long. Lack of precedent makes it difficult for organizations to involve youth in all stages of water governance as they often do not know how to proceed. Participants mentioned that organisations should be supported to build better youth engagement strategies.
On the other side of the spectrum youth needs to be better equipped to have the capacity to carry out their role. Better technical knowledge, know-how, more experience are some of the needs. Improving educational programs from a young age to include more water and climate knowledge (NBS/WASH/Peacebuilding), developing water and sanitation vocational training in fragile countries were identified as key actions to help youth involvement in the water sector. Finally, more funding for actions have been mentioned as key for young people.
Often not credible enough for donors, youth can play a key role in building resilience, whether it is by raising awareness, developing start-ups in their communities, or allowing youth from fragile regions to have a voice in governance mechanisms.