My mission as a youth delegate to the World Water Council and member of the International Youth Steering Committee is in order to promote youth participation in the World Water Forum. The Young Water Leader Summit was discussed as one of the major opportunities to reach out to youth in context of the process of the 7th World Water Forum. During past international water youth events, I was able to make friendships that empowered me to a totally different level. This was something that was definitely expected in this event and I am glad that I can make more invaluable friendships here. Water needs to be solved from all angles and the solutions must be a result of consultation with all stakeholders involved. The youth is seen as a major stakeholder in the 7th World Water Forum and it is now up to the youth to respond to this call. Even though it is not too difficult to find youth that are willing to participate in such a large scale forum, the true challenge lies in organizing ourselves in an efficient and effective manner so that a better coordinated youth participation process can be established.
To be honest, one small fear I had for the event was also the very reason why I was looking forward to this event. Major organizers of the event were partners of IYSC and my expectation was that I would already know many of the people who come this would maintain a relatively internal event. However, I was pleased by the fact that I was wrong to have such fear and to walk away from the Youth Water Leader Summit knowing that I have made many new friendships which will turn out to be new partnerships and opportunities not only for World Water Forum, but also for my career in water as well. Water is a global body and never stays in one spot. Therefore it is crucial to have a more holistic approach in solving water issues and the success will often depend on what kind of networks and partnerships I am able to bring into it. And having spent time together with youths that are committed to make a positive change for this world and are willing to take these steps with other youths from all around the world is extremely encouraging for me and lets me have good hopes and expectation. The connections that are being built now will translate to values of unimaginable degree in the future in terms of cooperation in managing water.
Young Water Leader Summit is a result of hard work from the organizers. Now that we have enjoyed the opportunity offered by the organizers, now it is our turn to give back. The youths should come out of the sessions with renewed goals and passion for the future and strengthened commitment for taking the water issues into their own hands. It will be the follow-up actions that take place as result of the discussions and networks shaped in the Young Water Leader Summit that truly makes this event valuable.
By Brian Seo