Involving Youth in the Celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of UNESCO Water Programmes

28 October 2015
In the framework of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of UNESCO Water programmes, the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) organized two activities during the 9th UNESCO Youth Forum held in Paris from 26 to 28 October 2015. The events were an opportunity to raise awareness on water security amongst the youth participants and introduce them to the key themes on water that UNESCO has been working on over the past 50 years.
 
With a focus on climate change and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, the UNESCO Youth Forum brought together at UNESCO Headquarters about 500 young women and men from all over the world to ensure that the voices of future generations remain front and centre of the new development agenda. In this framework, the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) was co-organiser of the capacity-building session “Science, Technology & Innovation and Climate Change - focus on Water and Biodiversity” that took place on Wednesday, 28 October. The aim of the session was to share experiences on the use of blogs, videos and mobile technology as tools to advocate for sustainable solutions to environmental challenges, such as water scarcity and quality. 
 
IHP, in cooperation with other divisions under the UNESCO Natural Science Sector, invited youth participants to present their ideas and facilitate synergy groups during this session. At the synergy group coordinated by IHP, the European co-representative of the World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW) highlighted the importance of young people’s involvement in tackling water related issues under climate change. Young participants deliberated on water and climate change challenges in their respective countries and focused on the use of videos for advocacy and awareness raising on such issues. They also brainstormed about the kind of videos they could circulate during the COP21 which would target politicians, NGOs and citizens. This capacity building session equipped the participants with mechanisms and tools to go out and act as ‘global citizens for a more sustainable future’ through the use of information tools.
 
At the Youth Forum, IHP also organized a special youth session of its ‘50 Years, 50 Movies on Water’ initiative at the UNESCO Science Stand on 27 October 2015. This initiative is part of the activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of water programmes at UNESCO with the screening of a selection of 50 films articulated around the key thematic areas of IHP.  The youth-dedicated session screened five selected movies highlighting key water-related challenges as well as the solutions to address them in different world regions.
 
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