International Dialogue on the Youth Mission on Water Development

The Silk Road began in ancient China and connected with Asia, Africa and Europe. It has developed from a land-based commercial route to a communication link between East and West in economic, political and cultural aspects. The “Belt and Road” aims to borrow the historical symbols of the ancient Silk Road. Contemporary Silk Road pays attention to sharing and win-win and realises the diversified, independent, balanced and sustainable development of countries along the route through the interconnection of Asian, American and European continents and nearby oceans.

Monika Weber-Fahr

With the support of the Global Water Partnership (GWP)  and the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR), the Global Water Partnership China (GWP China) organised the international youth dialogue on “the Belt and Road, the Able and Young" in Beijing. Co-convenors were Tsinghua University, China Water Power Press (CWPP), the Education Center of the Ministry of Water Resources of China (MWR) and the Department of Water Resources of MWR.

On October 19, 2018, under the theme of “the Belt and Road, the Able and Young”, the Dialogue invited 50 youth leaders and representatives from 14 countries to promote interregional cooperation and water resources management in the “Belt & Road” nations. Upon the principles of the GWP’s Youth Strategy and the Youth Development Plan of IWHR, the Dialogue targeted at inspiring young people to contribute to the global water development and raising the public awareness of fostering the future decision makers of water management.

                                                                         Xiaogang WANG

Vice President of IWHR, Xiaogang WANG said, “Young people are the imminent decision-makers and water users. Serving the future, we should join our efforts to develop the next generation of water soldiers, and also empower the youth as a critical role in the promotion of ‘the Belt and Road’, ‘the Agenda 2030’, and eventually in the shape of societies for the better.”

His inspiration was shared by Monika Weber-Fahr, Executive Secretary & CEO of GWP and Qiuchi SHI, Deputy Director General of MWR & Steering Committee Member of GWP at the global level.

In her address to the Dialogue, Monika Weber-Fahr started her speech by raising a question to the participants, “who in this room is aware that when the Silk Road started?” She said, “The Silk Road was founded over 2000 years. At that time, ‘dangerous’ is the most concerning issue to the ancient people due to unexpectations in the international journeys. Today, we are still facing the ‘dangerous issues’ such as climate change, water security. The more modern we are, the more dangerous things we have to face as we must deal with the most challenging problem in the world. The most appropriate solution provided by GWP is a multiple-stakeholders platform. On that platform, diverse sectors would work to defend ourselves from dangerous problems. IWRM can convene our strengths and perspectives together, and water can inspire us for working towards a joint mission.”
                                                        GWP's contribution to the Beijing events

From ‘the learning & sharing’ to ‘the free discussion’ at the Dialogue, youth talents and decision-makers of stakeholder organisations exchanged their genuine experiences and lessons. Their interactions formed a multicultural and inclusive stage of brainstorming a better mechanism of offering younger generations with knowledge, financing and politic support for comprehensive development and more contribution to the water sustainability at global, regional and national levels.

                                                                                      Qiuchi SHI
In the summary of Qiuchi SHI, she commented, “Water is not for drinking but also for an imagination, referring to culture. In Zhangqian’s Dynasty, it was a challenge to go broad even once. But today, communications between different countries and regions are much convenient. Even travelling from China to Latin America, it would not take over a year but only a 24-hour journey to the destination. I want to suggest that in your young age, you can utilise the platform of GWP to visit other regions or countries for learning and to share from more peers. GWP Communications team is the best media for you to achieve this target.” 


 Speakers at the Dialogue