Stockholm World Water Week 2016

Stockholm World Water Week (SWWW) is an international conference on water which attracts prominent people from the sector from all over the world to come together every year to present their work, collaborate and exchange ideas.

The WYN has been involved with SWWW for many years and contributed to the growth of the contributions of young professionals at the conference. In 2016 a delegation of members from Palestine, Spain, Canada, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Serbia and Germany were present. The main contributions of the WYN to the conference that year are described below.
Hosting the YP Booth

The WYN delegation started off World Water Week 2016 by hosting the Youth Professionals booth on the first day of the conferences. The team attached young professionals and experienced professionals alike to the booth to share a water challenge or success from their country and provide input to the question:


What can be done by young water professionals to develop capacity & jobs within the water sector?

This question is related to the white paper published later on in the conference by the team and already many ideas were shared on this first day such as, considering and valuing YPs with diverse interdisciplinary skills as well as challenging the high minimum requirements for experience on projects (often 10 or 15 years). This first day also featured the Quest Competition where conference delegates could test their water knowledge for a prize.

Workshop on Capacity Building

SWWW2A key WYN contribution to the conference was the Attracting, engaging and developing the capacity of water professionals session on capacity development in the water sector with several contributors including the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST), the World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW), Loughborough University and UNESCO-IHE. The participants rotated through four groups to discuss different challenges. The WYN presented the question: How do we attract people to work in the water sector and ensure they have the needed capacities? A lively discussion ensured with responses such as providing more opportunities for young people to gain practical experience in the sector with trainee-ships and paid internships.
White paper: Jobs for Water

To highlight the importance of the human resource gap in the water sector the WYN gathered input from partner organizations and published a white paper at the conference entitled:

SWWW3Jobs for water: Tackling the human resource gap to ensure good water management beyond 2030

This was launched at a lunch event organized by the WYN and the World Youth Parliament for Water with contributions to the paper coming from CAWST, IWA, and UNESCO-IHE for which we are most grateful. The session started with a discussion on the water sector human resource gap from the attendee’s countries. The white paper included input from multiple organizations and is meant to be a tool to elevate the conversation and contribution of youth to the challenge of jobs for water. The key is really bringing together all voices and including feedback from partners. In the paper the common themes that emerged from a review of the contributions thus far are the following 5 key challenges to closing the human resource gap in the water sector:

Access to education and knowledge transfer
Gender equity
Promotion of the water sector and appropriate policies
Investment and facilitation of entrepreneurship
Entry requirements

Following this further discussion were facilitated on how we can move this agenda forward and all continue to tangible actions!

Throughout the conference the team keeps a strong social media presence, sharing their experiences and messages from the conference through Facebook, twitter and blog posts. Also the team contributed to several sessions with the Asian Development bank. Overall this annual conference is a great way to connect with other young professions and leaders in the field. Lots of opportunities to exchange ideas and brainstorm future projects!