We have the largest number of young people the world has ever known and the majority of them live in the Southern hemisphere. ‘Youth are our future’ is a commonly used phrase. But in fact they are also the present. The challenge is to recognise the contributions that youth can and already to make to facilitate the ‘inter-generational exchange that lies at the heart of sustainable development.’

GWP’s Youth Engagement Strategy is GWP’s contribution to this process. It complements GWP’s Gender Strategy, and together they support our main strategy Towards 2020: A Water Secure World.

Youth have a huge potential for innovation and their voice has to be taken into account. Following up on this conviction, GWP, OFQJ, World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW), AgroParisTech, Water Youth Network (WYN) and other youth networks supported the issuing of a White Paper containing more than 50 recommendations based on field consultations in more than 20 countries from all continents and on an open workshop during the 11th Conference of Youth. The Spanish, English and French versions of the White Paper were presented to Government Officials in several countries, included to the Presidency of COP 21 represented by the French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.

Pointers for 2017-2019

Youth Networks have decided to take the above process one step further and to start implementing actions, and this will be further supported in 2017-2019. The strong will has been translated into a commitment made within the “Paris Pact” on water. Most importantly, many youths from many countries started immediately after COP 21 to implement actions at their level. These were captured through this new “community” and is made available on a dedicated web portal