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🗣️ Youth for Water

(don't) Waste Water!

Photo by Josh Barwick / Unsplash

Host: Antoine Walter
Guest: Hasmik Barseghyan | President | European Youth Parliament for Water
Category: 🗣️ Opinion

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[12:08] “The value [of] water […] describes the qualities we choose to guide our relationship with water, the manner in which we treat water and our interaction with it in a specific context. So we need to work on fostering this relationship with water in order to encourage greater prioritization of the protection of freshwater sources, rivers, lakes, and water stored underground, etc. as well as better management of water services. If citizens better understand this relationship, they will participate more and join efforts to solve common challenges. So here, we have a keyword, that's communication, communication with citizens, with decision makers, academia, businesses in all sectors in general. So whenever we speak about communication, global cooperation, we need to acknowledge young people's capacity for multicultural understanding and the ability to unite for common global goals and to build resilience to global challenges. So young people are the actors of change, and are like bridges and facilitators of dialogue between citizens and decision makers and policy experts from local and global levels.”

[13:44] “It is important to make sure that valuing water on global or national levels corresponds to the understanding of valuing water or end users level. We now will easily notice a disconnection of perceptions between different stakeholders. So I think we need to work on that in different sectors to make sure that people understand and value water as much as possible.”

[15:15] “You […] realize that you were happy, […] when you are unhappy. And that case […] is the same with water. You realize the value better when it is polluted, or when you have problems with water. […] So to have a complete understanding of the problems related to water, we need to consider the transfers that are all of water. Water is passing through all the sectors. So it [also] means to better value water in the sustainable development costs, such as the role of water for resilient and sustainable citizen communities.”

[16:08] “For example, desertification is a challenge for citizens, for young people, because they are forced to live. When they leave rural areas, it puts pressure on the cities in Eastern Europe or in Northern Africa. It is like a vicious cycle. These communities without good quality water or without adequate access to sanitation are not developing. […] We talk about brain drain and demographic changes. So […] young people […] come to the areas where they […] do not [need to] think about the needs that relate to water or water quality. […] Equal development, for me, means reconnecting citizens, young people to their territories, to reinforce the feeling of ownership, so they can participate in the development of their country and community.”

[18:08] “According to UNICEF each day nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation related […] diseases. It is a shocking statistic and it makes access to clean water and sanitation one of the most urgent Sustainable Development Goals. While water quality has been improving in the developing world in the last decades, the water pollution trend in the developing world is worsening. Emerging chemical pollutants such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides are posing new risks for human challenges in water treatment. And the effect of poor water quality specially affects the poor, women and children. And the children and young are inheriting the consequences of today's water climate and environmental problems which impact not only their health, but also the chances of living in a peaceful fair world. […] So we therefore need to adopt more inclusive approaches and involve the most vulnerable groups in the formulation of solutions, consider them as solution providers for local challenges and involve them in decision making on water.”

[22:07] “We are losing young professionals in the water sector. […] The reasons are different. […] To find out more details, I encourage […] to check the UN report on water and jobs [that was published] in 2016. So to give you an idea how the jobs and water is linked, today's youth will make up the majority of the labor force over the coming decades and their education skills and health, collectively known as human capital will be the most direct determinant of a country's future income growth. So investing in young people's human capital for education can lead to per capita GDP growth of up to 1.7% per year, according to the UN. So young people are key actors in [the] job market and also key actors in raising awareness, running educational programs, promoting sustainable lifestyles, conserving water, nature, supporting renewable energy, […] and so on. So young people are the water users nowadays and in the future. So educating and engaging them is an excellent opportunity to share information wildly with family and peers.”

[45:18] “Men and women are impacted differently by climate change. And climate change places a greater burden on women because of the social cultural roles and responsibilities that women have. Women are the primary food producers and providers of water and energy for their family. Therefore, they have greater responsibility for family and community welfare. On the other hand, global warming is one of the leading causes and greatest contributors to world hunger, malnutrition, exposure to disease and declining access to water. And climate change urges people to migrate. UN figures indicate that 80% of people displaced by climate change are women.”

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify (Original Title: “How to Speak Up and Empower More Young Water Professionals”)
🕰️ 54 min | 🗓️ 08/04/2021
✅ Time saved: 52 min