Youth & Water – 3 Key Takeaways from Egypt & Stockholm

By Alex Whitebrook 18 December, 2018

CWR intern Whitebrook shares key takeaways from his recent trips for the Youth Water Parliament

Youth are an important source of positive change in the water & one leading initiative is the promotion of cooperative transboundary water management under the policy of ‘Blue Peace’
After all, 40% of the world’s population are youth & so water scarcity will affect the young generation directly in the near future; the need for knowledge sharing between countries was also highlighted
Youths also lead the way at a high level, with the WYPW serving as a partner to many more ‘senior’ organisations within the water industry

Youth are an increasingly vocal group in the water industry. Many youth groups have sprung up in recent years, aiming to guide and define the global conversation on water-related issues. CWR’s intern, Alex Whitebrook, is a board member with one such organisation – the World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW). The WYPW has represented youth at several events and meetings this year. As 2018 soon draws to a close, here are some key takeaways from Egypt and Stockholm.


   About the World Youth Parliament for Water

The WYPW is a youth network acting for water around the world. Its members ensure that youth voices are heard by decision-makers, take local action in their communities, and team up for shared solutions. With members based in over 80 countries around the world, the WYPW involves a range of regions and socio-economic contexts. The work of the WYPW focuses around three core actions – advocacy, awareness and projects.
Local projects undertaken by Parliament members include:
Marly – Guatemala
Marly’s team is constructing rainwater harvesting and distribution systems for ten families and an elementary school, benefiting over 150 people.
Zinsou – Benin
The Benin Youth Parliament for Water is organizing a cleanup and hygiene awareness campaign for elementary and secondary schools in the region.
Nare – Armenia
Nare’s project is creating a network of civic journalists in Armenia to create a dialogue about water crimes. Training sessions will help participants understand and report on these crimes constructively.

1.  Water is a catalyst for cooperation

In October 2018, the WYPW partnered with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to promote cooperative transboundary water management under the policy of ‘Blue Peace’. A detailed presentation was given on the history and purpose of the policy as a catalyst for discussions around cooperation on water issues. The SDC delegate to Egypt, Mufleh El-Alaween, highlighted the agenda of Blue Peace Movement and how can water become a gateway to peace.

“Policy measures can be taken that could turn tension around water into opportunity for socio-economic development.”

Mufleh El-Alaween
Regional Water Advisor

This message came as part of a workshop at the World Youth Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Entitled “Day Zero: Water Security in the Wake of Climate Change”, the full day workshop encouraged participants to directly confront the global water crisis and develop cooperative solutions. Mr El-Alaween highlighted that global policy measures may help reverse tensions on water issues and foster opportunity for socio-economic development.

2.  Water issues go beyond age and country

Events such as the World Youth Forum allow the WYPW to lead insightful discussions on the way in which all water-related issues affect youth. As the President of the WYPW, Lindsey Aldaco-Manner highlighted the critical nature of youth’s relationship with water issues, accounting for 40% of the world’s population. Creating opportunities for vibrant discussion on water issues is important for raising awareness and capacity among young people to lead well in the future.

“40% of the world’s population are youth, so water scarcity will affect the young generation directly in the near future”

Lindsey Aldaco-Manner,

Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources, Mohamed Abdel Aty, also participated in the WYPW’s workshop. He highlighted the importance of water issues across borders. The Minister held a dialogue between himself and a random selection of audience members from different regions and countries. In doing so, the Minister aided WYPW in emphasising the importance of international dialogue.

“Countries facing water scarcity should share their experiences & solutions to water issues.”

Mohamed Abdel Aty
Minister of Water Resources

3.  Youth are leading the way

At a higher level, WYPW also serves as a partner to many more ‘senior’ organisations within the water industry. Members of the WYPW regularly sit on the Steering Committee of the Global Water Partnership (GWP). This opportunity allows WYPW to guide the global discussion on water issues with the interests and concerns of youth in mind. The most recent meeting occurred in early December 2018 and involved an in-depth discussion on the strategy of the GWP in the coming years. It was decided within the meeting that a greater effort needed to be given to improving communication between all stakeholders for combined action.

Involvement with groups such as the GWP in Stockholm, and through events such as the World Youth Forum in Egypt help to push greater involvement of youth in global water issues. Youth are just as diverse and complex as the water-related issues that the world is trying to solve, each with their own competing priorities. Organisations like WYPW facilitate the channelling and alignment of youth concerns to the forefront of the water conversation as valued contributors and potential leaders of change.

Further Reading

  • Time To Get Radical – Alarm bells are ringing for climate change but we are still wedded to the ‘norm’ and on track to miss even the 2°C target. With time running out and serious implications for Asia’s water resources, China Water Risk’s Debra Tan calls for more flashes of brilliance
  • 3 People-Green-Tech Chinese Initiatives – To win its War on Pollution, China is also turning to technology to engage the public. China Water Risk’s Dawn McGregor & Yuanchao Xu share three such technologies & their success so far
  • YouTube: The Dark Side Of Going Viral – We are already addicted to the internet, YouTube, Netflix, apps and still forecasts show major growth. China Water Risk’s Woody Chan unwraps the darkside of our runaway data use
  • Fashion Has The Power To Shape A 2℃ World – If fashion were a country it would have the fourth highest carbon emissions behind the US, China, & India. China Water Risk’s Dawn McGregor & Debra Tan question why the industry is not under the spotlight like coal and call for faster disruptions
  • To Tea Or Not – Black, Green Or Milk? – Tea is the second most drunk beverage after coffee but what does it mean for water, for carbon? Does the type of tea matter? Plus, see what consumers can do to reduce impact
  • 2018 World Water Week: Key Takeaways – World Water Week 2018 saw exciting issues discussed from financing nature-based solutions to advancing water stewardship & valuing water. Check out more in our key takeaways from China Water Risk’s Woody Chan & Yuanchao Xu
  • Water: Habits & Actions – What are your water habits? Even giving up chocolate for one week can positively impact our waters as Patricia Dwyer, Founder & Director of The Purpose Business Group, tells us. See what other changes you can make
  • China Steps Into Soft Power Vacuum – As the US retreats, Asit Biswas and Cecilia Tortajada explore how China is becoming the world’s leading soft power, from infrastructural development to research progress, and hurdles it faces ahead
Alex Whitebrook
Author: Alex Whitebrook
Alex is currently an intern for CWR. He conducts research in the field of development with a strong focus on food and water security. He has published work with the Global Water Operators Partnership, written for both UN Water and UNDP China, and liaises as a youth repetitive with the Global Water Partnership and the International Secretariat for Water. Most recently he has worked with Oxfam Great Britain to write a report on water sanitation and hygiene in the global south, and the Geneva Water Hub to write a report on the protection of water infrastructures during armed conflicts. Alex graduated from the University of Western Australia with a bachelor’s degree in international Relations and Asian Studies, alongside a Diploma in Mandarin. His professional experience lies primarily in international non-government organisations, think tanks, and publishing firms, where he has contributed his political expertise and research capabilities to benefit the study of international food and water security. Currently, he is a master’s candidate at The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.
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