You are the president of the European Youth Parliament for Water, could you tell us a bit more about that?
“I’m working in the water and energy sectors. Since last year, as president of the EYPW, I hold the mandate to be the voice of youth in water in Europe. The parliament was founded by theInternational Secretariat for Water(ISW) and SolidarityWater Europe(SWE) about 20 years ago. The aim is to promote European youth involvement in the water sector by building their capacities in thewater resource management, by fostering citizenship and democracy, and by promoting their participation indecisionmaking processes in Europe and at local level. Currently we have more than one thousand active youth members in our networks.”
Briefly, why is it important to keep engaging the youth in the water sector?
“Young people are constantly providing their engagement in the current situation in the world, showing their ability to produce creative solutions to various problems. We believe that we should give them the voice and the possibility to utilize their potential. This can be in two ways. Firstly, by providing a platform not just to be consulted, but also to actively participate in local water policy making processes. Water management is a democratic action, therefore all citizens, including youth have their right to participate. The involvement of youth as stakeholder will lead to the joint ownership of the solutions. Youth are inheriting the challenges of today, how can they get out of the solutions? On the other hand, youth are the agents of change. We can buildbetter resilience if we facilitate more the implementation of local projects led by youth.
Is there much enthusiasm for this or do you really need to mobilize?
Enthusiasm leads to mobilization. We have different ways of mobilizing youth in our network. One of them is supporting the projects our youth have developed during the 15thsession of the parliament. The EYPW Presidencycooperates with different organizations and platforms to make collective youth voice stronger and to address youth needs in water.
How can the private sector learn from initiatives from the youth and engage?
“My advice for all parties of the water sector is to listen. Utilities, cities and water boards should truly listen what the youth have to say. This generation produces projects, petitions and suggestions that deserve to be taken seriously. Let the youth join water management committees locally, to gain the trust of the public in decision making and securing the water supply for future generations. We all need to accept that the youth are part of the solution and have to be involved in the problem solving processes for the wider impact. Furthermore, give them the challenge and the motivation to combine real life water cases with their innovative solutions, through competitions and acceleration programs for youth. Only in that way we can truly speak of cooperation between generations.”
We are very curious, when does the spark start to be activated for youth? When do they start to care for water?
“The spark is not just in one place, in one young person, but it is rather a global phenomenon. When there are different persons in different parts of the world on this issue, they motivate each other. Greta is motivating from Sweden, the other youth from Latin-America, from India, from all continents. They are very much aware of the reality and they are not indifferent. This is a very positive trend, because they care for the future. If we empower them more, their spark will light a fire in our life and will lead to a blue-green future.
About Hasmik Barseghyan
Hasmik Barseghyan has recently become one of the new members of the AIWW’s Program Advisory Committee (PAC). As president of European Youth Parliament for Water (EYPW) she has committed to support young water leaders to pursue their concrete local actions for common water issues at European scale and beyond. She has a specific focus on gender mainstreaming in environmental projects, as well as on development of energy and water policies and regulations. She has implemented a number of solar projects, aiming to community development in Armenia. Currently she is coordinating renewable energy projects for Women in Climate and Energy. Hasmik is a member of the World Energy Council, Future Energy Leaders programme. In the AIWW program she will be the voice for youth from a water and climate perspective and she will promote the mobilization and cooperation of youth in the water sector.
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