Hosted and organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), World Water Week is the leading annual global event for water issues and related international development topics. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic World Water Week 2020 has taken place in a virtual format from August 24-28, dubbed World Water Week @Home.
Once again Stockholm World Water Week gathered young professionals, researches and policy makers that are interested in contribution to solution of water challenges to share their stories and knowledge, discuss common issues and ways to overcome challenges.
The session dedicated to “Solving the Water-Climate-Puzzle by connecting youth stories and decision-makers” was convened by: SIWI, ISW, GWP, Young Water Solution, Swiss Water Partnership, Netherland Water Partnership, Central Asia Youth 4 Water (CAY4W) and WYPW. This session explored ways to solve part of the Water-Climate-Puzzle by using youth stories as a dynamic narrative and to connect them with decision-makers. On August 26, the plenary started with the welcoming speech from Elin Weyler and Henk Ovink (SIWI) and a presentation by Ms.Doaa Osman (Sudanese Youth Parliament for Water) participants split into 3 breakout rooms on
The Research breakout session was prepared by the CAY4W network and moderated by the Regional Coordinator, Lyazzat Syrlybayeva, while the national coordinator from Tajikistan, presented the network during Advocacy breakout session and shared his own experience in attending meetings of the River Basin Councils.
Breakout room 2 - Research
How can research inform effective solutions and be an inclusive field for all generations? In the break-out session we tried to identify what obstacles young researchers are facing, their successful examples of engaging policy makers to opt for science-based decisions, as well as to learn how decision makers contribute to better recognition of the youth in the sector.
For this, we invited two inspirational young researchers, who strive to achieve positive changes by empowering the younger generation with their own example. It was also very important to invite a decision maker, who supports the significance of closing the gap between generations in terms of experience and field-based knowledge, to create an enabling environment for an intergenerational dialogue and identify main drivers, barriers and enablers for youth engagement.
Speakers of the session:
1. Juliette Eulderink, has a background in Civil Engineering and specializes in IWRM and Hydrology. Currently she is a resident project manager for TU Delft and works in Vietnam and Myanmar on capacity building programs and institutional collaboration on water and climate change. Juliette is also part of the Young Experts Programme - it is an initiative of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) to send young experts abroad to work on the sustainable development goals (SDGs);
2. Amrita Gautam, a Ph.D. research scholar in Technical University of Cologne (TH Koeln), Germany, is originally from Kathmandu, Nepal. She is a Civil Engineer by profession and has worked for different United Nations (UN) Projects in Nepal, Germany, Mozambique, Brazil, Canada & USA. Her ongoing doctoral research is about “Water Supply and Quality Monitoring via emerging technologies”, and the case study area is Pokhara Metropolitan City (PMC), Nepal. As a result, she has founded a research initiative- “drinkPani”, together with her core research interns in Nepal;
3. Mr. Pim van der Male, is a Human Geographer by trade and has over 25 years of experience in development, of which over 10 years dedicated to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). He has worked for the UN, NGO’s and the Netherlands Government in Sudan, Papua New Guinea and Tanzania. The WASH portfolio Pim is managing includes (among others) work with Dutch and local water and sanitation service providers, supporting global advocacy on WASH through Sanitation and Water for All and the Young Expert Programme (YEP), which covers WASH, energy and food security.
Along this breakout session different initiatives from Vietnam, Myanmar and Nepal were presented to the audience by two young representatives. They addressed an issue of data availability in developing countries, an importance of sharing the results of research with a wider community, as well as keeping decision makers in the loop. They spoke from their own experience and stated that access to a good quality education and provision of opportunities and tools for research will result in a new generation of policy makers, who are capable of filling in the gap between generations. These key messages were supported by an invited senior expert, who also stressed that the demand for young specialists in the development sector is there, however, conditions are not always conducive. This needs to be worked on collectively by public and private actors.
➔ Youth can use data (their research findings) to convince decision-makers
➔ Research can be motor for international collaboration
➔ A need for a proper data management system to operate and maintain drinking water supply and quality monitoring in water supply schemes
➔ Stakeholders and governments could work on bringing light to different issues
➔ Participatory approach in data collection
● Tender method / approach keeps the youth aside / out of the process
● Very little / No data available in developing countries
● Little is done for inclusion of youth in the sector
● Domination of aged men both in the water sector, together with sector partners
● Pragmatic nature of students - it is significant to share data and results to foster collaboration
● Lack of interest of stakeholders to provide an enabling environment / opportunities for youth-led initiatives in the research to close knowledge gaps and foster science-based decisions
● Limited support by the governmental institutions to create a variety of opportunities, such as vocational training, placements, employment possibilities
➢ Education of current youth can result in better decision makers in the future
➢ Keep open a dialogue with decision makers
➢ Public-Private association is key
➢ Recognition of the youth among key stakeholders in the sector
➢ Young people can make full advantage of available IT and social media tools for connecting to others. This could particularly help to bridge the gaps between silos / sectors
Insert 1 interesting quote from the session.
“Dare to be bold! Make sure you are heard! Please realise your knowledge is at the forefront of what is available in the sector, please share it. Don’t be discouraged by the slowness of the sector to embrace new things!” - one of the key messages by Mr. Pim van der Male
Link to watch the recording: