From May 29 to June 3, the International Water Resources Association (IWRA) XVI World Water Congress took place in Cancun, Mexico. The overarching topic of the Congress was ‘Bridging Science and Policy’, and it presented the research and professional water community with an opportunity to get involved in the discussion on how science and policy can collaborate and coproduce in a manner that will contribute to solving some of the most pressing water related issues of modern times and implementation of the SDG 6 on water and sanitation.
Following the successful involvement in the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, that took place a week prior to the World Water Congress, several members of the Water Youth Network attended the Congress and contributed in various ways. Together with the World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW), we presented WYN in the Booth area. This has proved very successful, since many interested young people approached us and expressed their interest in learning more about the organisations and their activities. If you are reading this, we are looking forward to hearing from you and joining one of our teams!
Next to the our presence in the Booth area, we had an opportunity to present the WYN through participating as panelists in the only youth session atthe Congress, entitled Empowering Young Water Professionals Through Engagement in the Global Water Community,organised by the WYPW. In this session, our members presented the development of the WYN and emphasised some of our key contributions and projects, with special emphasis on our YouKnoW Platform (see more information here).
The Congress was also an opportunity to contribute to discussion on the development of the thematic sessions for the 8th World Water Forum, that will take place in Brasilia in March 2017. Our members attended the special session organised by the World Water Council and took part in an interactive roundtable discussion. Our input was tailored towards developing topics in the area of disaster risk reduction. We proposed sessions dealing with the topics of the role of new technologies in reducing disaster risks, advancements in community-based disaster risk reduction and the role of multi sectoral governance in mainstreaming DRR. If you are interested in learning more about WYN engagement in WWF8, please see our last update regarding the II Stakeholders Meeting that took place in Brasilia on April 26th and 27th.
WYN was also very active in the Side Event that introduced the Youth Delegates Program of the World Water Council and invited youth and youth organisations present in the IWRA World Water Congress to collaborate in the drafting of a collective guide to empower youth worldwide in hosting satellite events and generate outcomes that, at the local or regional level, and at the 8th World Water Forum, would represent a coordinated youth input and unified youth Call for Action on water issues perceived as priority. We will cooperate with other organizations in this “From Youth To Youth” document to support the engagement of youth groups worldwide in the water world, and also the ones who would not be able/afford to attend the Forum.
The Congress resulted in the Cancun Declaration (link), a document calling for action to bridge science and water policy making for sustainable development. Detailed account of the Cancun Declaration can be found here. The Declaration pointed out the core issues in achieving SDG 6 and overall sustainable development and called for action from different stakeholder groups: policy makers and donors, scientists and professionals, and civil society.
If you are interested in knowing more about the Congress, please visit the link, where you can find detailed outcomes of different sessions and High Level Panels.