The 15th Session of the European Youth Parliament for Water (EYPW), convening in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, with the theme “River basin: the backbone of regional development”, focused on proposals for concrete actions for better cooperation between water basin participants and emphasized the involvement of youth in these regional issues, and implementation by youth who can act as an agent for change.
The week long convention in November was the second time the Parliament has met in Nizhny Novgorod, the fifth largest city in Russia which is located at the confluence of the Oka and Volga Rivers. Officials from the city, oblast and Vodokanal, the main drinking water operator participated in some of the events.
EYPW aims to provide a platform to foster youth-led water sector projects. In this role, the Parliament offers its participants tools and methods to facilitate their projects. At this meeting, the Parliament offered capacity building sessions on project management and communications. Water experts also participated: specifically, Franck Barroso, co-founder Waterpreneurs, and Gergana Majercakova, from the Global Water Partnership Central and Eastern Europe.
Parliamentary workshops produced two jury-assessed proposals: “Know My Tap” will be implemented in Belgium and “Water Tinder” will be implemented in Bulgaria.
A declaration of commitment, to be translated into all the languages of the countries represented in the EYPW, proposes:
1. Robust and Inclusive Policies. The group proposed several different ideas such as promotion of Europe’s Water Framework Directive and the Waste Water Treatment Directive. Of particular interest is to keep the legal framework current with science about emerging pollutants. In addition, EYPW want to encourage policymakers to implement water-wise agricultural practices and to address those that have a negative impact on water quality and quantity.
2. Awareness that Climate is Water. EYPW asserts that knowledge about the effects of climate change on the river basin should be communicated and the citizen connection to nature should be reinforced. They emphasize that there is a need for citizen education in order to improve awareness about the climate emergency.
3. Implementing Innovation. There is a need to reinforce the collaboration between experts, scientists, universities and decision makers and pilot projects should be supported by water agencies, municipalities, companies, and research organizations.
4. Development in tune with nature and society. EYPW proposes utilizing technical tools to help stakeholders tackle river basin issues and asks for more prevention techniques. The group offered a number of state-of-the-art technical solutions for water management.
The commitment calls for evaluation of activity against well-known indicators including the Blue Peace Index.