The Wetskills Foundation together with the European Youth Parliament for Water are happy to announce the launch of a Youth workstream of the World Water Quality Alliance (WWQA) under the umbrella of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
What is the WWQA?
The World Water Quality Alliance (WWQA) represents a voluntary and flexible global multi-stakeholder network that advocates the central role of freshwater quality in achieving prosperity and sustainability. It explores and communicates water quality risks in global, regional, national and local contexts and points towards solutions for maintaining and restoring ecosystem and human health and well-being with an aim to serve countries throughout the lifetime of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and beyond.
Why is a Youth workstream needed?
The effects of poor water quality predominantly affect the underprivileged, women and children according to UNEP’s 2016 report, A Snapshot of the World’s Water Quality. Indeed, children and youth will be inheriting the consequences of today’s water, climate and environmental crisis, which impacts not only their health but also their chances at living in a peaceful, fair world. Today’s youth will have to find innovative solutions to increasingly complex challenges and it is therefore more essential than ever to adopt more inclusive approaches, and involve the new generations in the formulation of solutions and at the decision-making level.
Various recent youth-led grassroots movements on climate and sustainability issues such as Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion and many other local scale movements have shown just how strongly youth are ready to organize and take action when their future is at stake. Far from being limited to the street or social networks, youth mobilization has been proven to result in “community-level impacts, including new program implementation, policy change, and institution building”
The latest appointment of the Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change to the UN Secretary General is another recognition of the worth and necessity of including youth into high-level supranational decision-making.
What is the aim of the WWQA Youth workstream?
Wetskills and the EYPW have proposed a three-pronged approach to youth action under the World Water Quality Alliance: convening and catalyzing youth’s potential to drive change, making the water sector more attractive through awareness raising and education at early ages and finally by contributing to current decision-making processes on water via other WWQA workflows.
The youth workstream has already received the support of UNEP, SDC, International Secretariat for Water/Solidarity Europe, Water Youth Network, Central Asian Youth for Water and different country chapters of Young Water Professionals.
If you wish to be involved or find out more, don’t hesitate to reach out to the two Principal Investigators of the workstream: Ioana Dobrescu (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Hasmik Barseghyan (email@example.com).
All youth organizations on water or related fields are welcome to get involved!
About the WWQA
The WWQA was convened as a means to respond to the request made by the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) resolution 3/10 “Addressing water pollution to protect and restore water-related ecosystems” (UNEP/EA.3/Res.10) for UNEP to develop a world water quality assessment. In recognition that a transdisciplinary partnership is needed to deliver this, UNEP has convened through the WWQA over 50 partner organizations (UN, research, civil society, private sector) so far, who have expressed interest to engage in the assessment and to also engage with UNEP in identifying priority agendas and action around emerging issues related to water quality more broadly. This process is currently supported by the Government of Switzerland.
About Wetskills and the EYPW
Wetskills uses a new way of facilitating intergenerational dialogue, authentic learning and international networking for students and young professionals with a passion for water. The Challenges take place worldwide, usually during international water related events. In multidisciplinary, international teams, the participants work on real life cases from companies and (governmental) organisations. Their challenge: to think out-of-the-box and develop realistic concepts.
The European Youth Parliament for Water is an initiative launched in 1999 to promote youth involvement in the water sector, both by increasing their awareness of water resource management issues and by fostering understanding of citizenship and democracy. During one week, young Europeans meet to debate, exchange and take action on a specific water related issue. At the end of the Parliament, participants come up with a “Common commitment” declaration gathering Youth’s vision on the annual Parliament’s theme and various proposals to undertake concrete actions in their communities.
With the support of :