Initiatives Summon Youth Engagement on Climate, Water and Technology
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The World Bank Group Youth Summit 2017 convened under the theme, ‘Technology and Innovation for Impact,’ and held the Youth Summit Competition, which awarded Pakistani and Malaysian teams for developing ICT initiatives related to health and women.

In the lead-up to the 8th World Water Forum, the 'Towards Brasilia' initiative engaged youth in discussions on climate, water and participation.

Youth Voices → Policy Choices, an initiative that pairs young water advocates with policymakers, will carry out a wide-ranging survey to gauge the opinions of youth on water and climate, and conduct transnational advocacy workshops, in advance of the UNFCCC COP 24.

January 2018: The voices and vision of youth are informing SDG-related discussions on technology, innovation, climate, and water. The World Bank Group Youth Summit 2017 brought together World Bank experts and innovative thinkers between the ages of 18 and 35, and awarded youth teams for projects related to technology and innovation. In the lead-up to the 8th World Water Forum, events such as the Rumo a Brasília (Towards Brasilia) 2018 are involving youth representatives in discussions on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the need for young people to help solve water-related challenges. Also on water, the ‘Youth Voices → Policy Choices’ initiative will select youth representatives to present their vision on water to European elected officials at the 24th session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP 24), in December 2018.

On the theme, ‘Technology and Innovation for Impact,’ the World Bank Group Youth Summit 2017 provided youth participants with a forum to voice their concerns, and to share ideas about using technology in a way that brings positive change to people in developing countries. The Summit brought together 300 participants on site and 1,000 participants online, and took place from 4-5 December 2017, in Washington, DC, US.

On its first day, the Summit included a plenary session comprising youth representatives and speakers from the World Bank Group, the private sector, government, academia, and civil society to discuss how to reap sizable technological dividends. It also included workshops on: ‘Transforming the Jobs and Skills of Tomorrow;’ ‘Leveraging Technology for Financial Inclusion;’ and ‘Igniting Youth Entrepreneurship.’

On its second day, the Youth Summit Competition took place on the Summit’s theme. The Jury’s Choice Award was given to the Pakistani initiative titled, ‘Sehat Kahani.’ This initiative is a tele-health platform that connects at-home, out-of-workforce female doctors to underserved patients in low- and middle-income markets, thereby providing access to health care.

The People’s Choice Award was given to an initiative titled, ‘Pink Collar,’ which aims to stop the abuse of Malaysian women working abroad as maids. ‘Pink Collar’ seeks to create a transparent, ethical, and quality-assured job-search and recruitment process for all domestic workers and household employers, by leveraging Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to make it a faster, transparent, cost-effective, and more accountable process.

Other projects selected as finalists in the competition included: a mobile app to strengthen Civil Registrations and Vital Statistics (CRVS) systems in neonatal health in Nigeria; a mobile application (HelpHub) that connects the basic needs of the poor with the resources of the more fortunate in South Africa; the Infinite Light project in India that aims to transform the energy sector with a peer to peer blockchain based energy system that allows for the direct exchange of energy coins (units of electricity); and the OKO mobile-powered weather index insurance in Mali, meant to provide farmers with affordable and efficient insurance against droughts and excessive rainfall.

The Youth Summit was sponsored by Finland, South Korea, Japan, Microsoft, the GSM Association (GSMA), and the Digital Development Partnership (DDP) – a partnership between public and private sector partners to catalyze support to developing countries on digital development strategies and plans.

In preparation for the 8th World Water Forum, youth representatives discussed SDG-related issues, including mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and the need for young people to participate in water issues, at the Rumo a Brasília (Towards Brasilia) 2018 event. During the event, which took place on 23 January 2018 in Foz do Igaçu, Brazil, John Paul Angeli, a representative of the National Youth Parliament for Water (PNJA), spoke about the organization of young people and their participation in the development of various public policies on water, such as the river basin committees. Rodrigo Aria Ramirez noted that a national forum on water and youth would take place in Paraguay from 21-23 February 2018, as another preparatory event to the 8th World Water Forum. The 8th World Water Forum is scheduled from 18-23 March, in Brasilia, Brazil.

The Youth Voices → Policy Choices, an initiative that pairs young water advocates with policymakers, will meet with experienced policymakers to craft actionable visions for water in advance the UNFCCC COP 24, which will take place from 3-14 December 2018, in Poland. Selected participants are expected to present their vision to European elected officials at the COP. In addition, the Youth Voices → Policy Choices initiative will carry out a wide-ranging survey to gauge the opinions of youth on water and climate. Transnational advocacy workshops will also be organized throughout summer and fall 2018, and bring together youth from 11 countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Youth Voices → Policy Choices initiative is part of Youth for Water and Climate, a platform providing technical and financial support to young water leaders. It is supported by Solidarity Water Europe, the Global Water Partnership Central and Eastern Europe (GWP CEE), and Youth Water Community Central and Eastern Europe (YWCCEE). The initiative has also been selected for funding by the EU’s Erasmus+ program, which finances activities in the fields of education, training, youth, and sport. [World Bank Press Release on Youth Summit] [World Bank Youth Summit Website] [World Water Council Press Release on Rumo a Brasília Event] [Global Water Partnership Press Release on Youth Voices → Policy Choices Initiative] [Solidarity Water Europe Press Release on Youth Voices → Policy Choices Initiative] [Youth for Water and Climate Webpage]


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