Connecting Youth on Water and Peace

Connecting Youth on Water and Peace

Connecting Youth on Water and Peace

Water Youth Network member Natalija Vojno discusses youth inclusion in water diplomacy and reflects on contributions from youth across the globe in the recent WYN Governance webinar on Youth in Water and Peace.

By: Natalija Vojno (


What do SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and SDG 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions) have in common? Short answer: good water and sanitation governance supports stable institutions –  including young people in these processes could help maintain long-term peace.

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250, adopted in 2015, recognizes youth as an important population to include in the maintenance and promotion of peace and urges Member States to give youth a greater voice in decision-making at the local, national, regional and international levels. Building upon this work, the subsequent Security Council Resolution 2419, adopted in 2018, further calls for increasing the representation of young people when negotiating and implementing peace agreements.

So how can young people be included? We convened young leaders that are working to connect their peers to discuss this very question.

As the Global Focal Point for Sustainable Development Goal 6, within the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth, the Water Youth Network (WYN) hosted a webinar on the theme of “Youth in Peace and Water” which took place on April 16th. The recording can be accessed here.

In addition to Tim Nolden, our governance co-coordinator who facilitated, and myself as the outgoing governance co-coordinator, we were joined by Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, the United Nations Envoy on Youth as well as Ms. Bota Sharipova from the Blue Peace movement and World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW).

Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN-Youth Envoy, sharing highlights from the online engagement.


The well-attended webinar covered topics ranging from the First International Symposium for Youth Participation in Peace Processes to the importance of including youth in water diplomacy.


Bota Sharipova speaking to the Youth Vision in Central Asia.


Key takeaways:

  • Within the framework of the SDGs there is a growing space for creative and impactful participation for young people e.g. progress study of 4000 young people presented to the UN Security Council.
  • There are various grass root and youth led initiatives focussing on water and sanitation. A selection of these are presented on the YouKnow! Platform.
  • We see a clear interlinkage and strong cooperation between SDG 6 on Water & Sanitation and SDG 16 on Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions

The online engagement, was part of a larger initiative to connect young people to each other and to meaningful opportunities to engage in transboundary water management. In addition to a global survey on the role of young people in water diplomacy, and a forthcoming research paper and recommendations, further in-person and online consultation will follow.


The Water Youth Network and the Nile Basin Capacity Building Network (NBCBN) will convene a group of 25 global youth engaged in transboundary water cooperation for the “Youth in Water Diplomacy Workshop” taking place June 24th-28th 2019-Cairo-Egypt.



If you would like to be more involved in these initiatives, please sign up here.

We look forward to sharing more opportunities to engage on the topic of youth in water diplomacy in the months to come. And, keen to hear about your own projects related to water, youth, peace, and security.

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