Last night, I got a rare chance to participate in the behind-the-scenes development of a global movement. I was one of eight students who met in a nearby hotel lobby to write up our definitions of the three established Water Youth Movement pillars — Education, Crossing Boundaries and Innovation — and create a pivotal structural document outlining the Movement’s mission and goals that will be presented to the sixth World Water Forum Secretariat tomorrow. The group included the three leaders of the Youth Task Force, the governing body of the Water Youth Movement — Matt Agarwala, Rozemarinj ter Horst, and Marie-Alix Prat.
The Water Youth Movement was organized by the Emerging Academic Program, in collaboration with Youth Diplomacy of France, The World Youth Parliament for Water, the Water and Youth International Movement, and other progressive youth-led associations. While the participating youth have had a presence at the past five World Water Forums, this conference in Marseille is the first chance the Youth Task Force has had a significant presence and voice amongst the businesses, diplomats, and NGO’s that participate in these global-level meeting.
The opportunity to participate arose from attending the Youth Task Force Opening Session, which Sharon covered in more detail here. Last night’s meeting synthesized the ideas from the brainstorming at the opening session. The afternoon session divided the nearly 100 attendees into smaller groups to generate ideas for developing real solutions in these three categories. These concrete ideas, such as increased peer-to-peer education in public schools, second-generation immigrants helping with water issues in their motherlands, and enhanced social media outreach across all borders, will also be presented to the Secretariat with the plan of action.
Given my professional interests in implementing sustainability into higher education, I was eager to work with this enthusiastic group of students. This chance to discuss the structure for the incorporation of ideas of young people, across all disciplines and boundaries, into an internationally-relevant framework was uniquely empowering.
The Water Youth Movement’s Vision Document is intented to urge “governments, international organizations, and the water community to take suitable action to ensure improving the world wide water situation.” This Vision Document will be presented at the “Time for Action” presentation to the Secretariat tomorrow, and the final solution committments will be presented to the Forum on Friday.
The interview which led to last night’s collaboration session can be seen here:
Please stay tuned for news on the week’s upcoming events, I will be following the Youth movement throughout the Forum and will post updates.