Climate change, population growth, urbanization, and different economic drivers will all increase the demand for water in the future. By 2025 and beyond, the water crisis will reach catastrophic levels. In order to create effective solutions to the water issues that may arise past 2025, people from public and private sectors must work together. The question of future water security is far too serious to be left to disputes. On the morning of March 14, 2012, hundreds of people from all over the world gathered to attend the High Level Panel: Future of World’s Water Beyond 2025. This high level panel included eminent personalities from both the public and private sector.
At a Forum that brings together so many knowledgeable and experienced individuals from around the world, how can youth contribute? Because they represent the next generation of leaders, it is vital to involve youth in decision-making processes. Youth also offer a valuable perspective to water-related issues through general openness to learning, collaborating, and developing innovative ideas. The Youth Opening Session on Monday March 12th in Marseille, France introduced the youth groups present at the Forum, presented the schedule of youth events for the week, and outlined the contributions of youth toward water issues beyond this Forum. Around 100 young people were present at the opening session for youth. The setup of the session itself reflected the potential of youth to collaborate and to produce solutions for water-related issues.
The Youth Vision
The Water Youth Movement, a recently-formed network for youth interested in solving water-related issues, presented ideas for their “Youth Vision” to be presented later this week at the Forum. In its current structure, it consists of three “pillars” that are the foundation of the Youth Vision because they both affect youth and can be influenced by youth. They are:
Following an outline of the Water Youth Movement’s ideas, the audience broke out into small groups to discuss these “pillars” and how youth can contribute to each. This brainstorming session allowed youth from around the world to meet, share ideas, and make connections. The attendees were diverse in countries of origin (including the United States, India, Japan, France, Netherlands, etc.), area of study or work (including students in engineering and environmental studies, members of non-governmental organizations, etc), and experience with water.