GWP Youth delegation campaigns for meaningful youth engagement at COP25

Young water leaders from Central and Eastern Europe attended COP25 in Madrid as part of the GWP youth delegation to continue the efforts of GWP to engage and empower youth in water and climate governance.

The young water leaders presented the successful series of national dialogues focused on water and climate change policies, which were organized in eight Central and Eastern European countries in Autumn 2019. The event took place on 9 December 2019 at the EU Pavilion where GWP Youth invited everyone to the ‘Meet the Expert’ space to discuss the outcomes of the dialogues and future steps. The participants of COP25 had the opportunity to learn about the concrete results in each of the eight countries, which were also presented in posters to allow for a bigger audience to engage.

The Initiative was foreseen as a meet-up to empower youth to define a clear vision for the future. The youth-led session attracted visitors from global NGOs, Party delegations and international organizations. The participants were asked the same questions as those prepared for the national dialogues to trigger their curiosity regarding what would have been the reaction of youth to the question at hand. The discussions progressed to proposing more concrete solutions of how to meaningfully engage youth and what should other stakeholders undertake in order to meet the new generation halfway. Most of them noted that conclusions of national dialogues would be applicable in their own countries as well. 

NGO representatives underlined that youth often feel discouraged from continuing their careers in the water sector as it is in many cases overlooked by the central government. Several delegates stressed that youth should put more effort in educating rural communities and promoting local young leaders in water management. Participants agreed that any interference with the water cycle has an enormous impact on the environment which in consequence could perturb the socio-economic activity of the inhabitants. Therefore, it was unanimously agreed that the issue of water resources management should be expanded at both rural (local) and central level, and across all dimensions: educational, administrative and economic.

GWP youth delegation attended and spoke an numerous sessions throughout COP25, campaigning for an improved and more efficient intergenerational dialogue, contributing with concrete examples and solutions. Yelysaveta Demydenko from Ukraine took part in the official GWP press conference, sending a strong message to decision-makers: "It is you who is taking the decisions today but it is us who will be taking responsibility for the consequences. And we want to make sure that we know how to do it by working together with the decision-makers. That is why it is important to channel young minds into the water sector now."