Last month, outgoing Board Member and Board Member elect, Natalija and Tatiana attended the 2nd Stakeholders Consultation Meeting tp prepare the World Water Forum in Brasilia which took place April 26 – 27 April, as well as the World Water Forum’s preparatory meetings on April 25th, 2017. The World Water Forum takes place every three years in another country. It brings together an amazing amount of water professionals, decisionmakers and it provides space for locals who want to know more about water. In 2018, it will be organised in Brasil. You can find more about the WWForums here: http://www.worldwaterforum8.org/
Since our founding, the Water Youth Network has strived to include and connect young people to the decisions that shape global water policy. With each World Water Forum process since our founding, we’ve come closer and closer to realizing this goal. Most recently, we shared some successes during the 2nd Stakeholder Consultation Meeting in Brasilia.
The meeting was part of the preparatory process for the 8th World Water Forum. 800 participants weighed in on the preliminary content of the Forum. Attendees included aboriginal leaders, representatives of government, NGOs, universities, companies and youth. During the plenary and in focused discussion we reviewed the Forum structure (Thematic Process, Political Process, Regional Process, Citizen’s Forum, and Sustainability Focus Group) and the underlying themes of Climate, People, Development, Urban, Ecosystems and Finance.
Since the 2016 Budapest Water Summit 2016, where youth outlined what they want youth participation to look like, we have seen more efforts to integrate youth in all forum processes. Just as, the summit built on the results of the 2013 Budapest Water Summit, the Paris Climate Change Conference and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Stakeholder Consultation was a continuation of these processes and yet another opportunity to include young people who are implementing the SDGs.
This part of the programme facilitates focused discussions on central themes: http://www.worldwaterforum8.org/thematic-process-comission
During the preparatory meeting for the Thematic Process, Tatiana Silva (Brazil), advocated for and succeeded in integrating youth-led organizations as topic coordinators for the cross-cutting theme of sharing. The youth representatives per topic are as follows:
For the Water Youth Network, Natalija Fisher (Canada) and Ibrahim Bah (Sierra Leone), will continue to be focal points in the Thematic Coordination Group for Sharing.
We have succeeded in prioritizing youth and other vulnerable groups in the official discourse of the Theme description and continue to advocate that the following inclusivity guidelines be referred to by topic coordinators:
Topic Coordinators are requested to join forces in the systematic inclusion of Women, Youth, Indigenous peoples and other disadvantaged groups in the Forum processes. Youth panelists, women and people representing ethnic diversity shall be included in all of the activities and sessions to be planned per Topic. If these criteria cannot be met, please explain why. When selecting representatives of these groups, efforts should be made to include those whose representation of a broader community is demonstrated by strong connections to that community.
Tatiana Dos Santos Silva & Natalija Fisher with the Topic Coordinators for the Sharing Theme – (fourth and sixth from the left)
Citizen’s Process roundtables convened youth, River Basin Organizations, Indigenous Leaders, and NGOs to speak about their water related challenges and shared solutions. Challenges included agricultural and urban pollution, the science and policy gap, and the lack of recognition for the sacredness of water.
Tatiana coordinated the attendance of young professionals from the Americas (North, Central and South) with a focus on consolidating a group with representatives of low-income communities, afro-descendent and indigenous background. The aim is to form a regional youth task force to raise awareness on water issues and to promote meaningful youth engagement leading up to and during in the Forum, in particular to the Citizens Forum and Regional Process.
Some of the proposals already planned for the Citizens Forum, include the Citizens Village that will offer free of costs/open water related activities in the Stadium beside the Conventions Center where the Forum will take place. Working groups discussed the following ideas: Youth Film Festival, HydroCoffee, Sessions for the Citizens Forum (around 40 estimated), Arena & Debates, and Nature Based Solutions.
The Water Youth Network will be working in partnership with youth and youth groups from around the world to build youth participation into various aspects of the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia. Stay tuned for more news!
Youth Representatives from the Americas: Franklyn Raúl Varillas Salazar (Peru), Micaela Valentim (Brazil), Tatiana dos Santos Silva (Brazil), Natalija Fisher (Canada) and Vilma Chanta (El Salvador) in Brasília, Brazil.