1st African Young Water Professional Forum during the Cairo Water Week

GWP-Med facilitating dialogue with youth on Nexus approach toward achieving SDG Goals and their role at the first African Young Water Professional Forum

From the 14th to 17th of October, the First African Young Water Professional Forum was organized in the framework of Cairo Water Week. This Forum aims to build the capacity of young African water professionals and  enabling them to face future water challenges in Africa. The Forum brought together 24 young African water professionals (engineers, researchers, students…)  from 13 African countries.

Youth, SDGs Goals and the Nexus approach

Youth has an important role contributing towards water, energy, food and ecosystem security and achieving SDGs Goals. Hence the importance of their involvement in in developing related sectors policies, leading innovative projects and research activities .

On the occasion of the African Young Water Professional Forum of the 1st Cairo Water Week, the Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med) organised on the 14th and 15th of October a side event focusing on the role of African Young water professional in the implementation of the Nexus approach in order to promote the sustainable and integrated management of natural resources and toward achieving SDGs Goals in African countries.

This side event was divided into two sessions (agenda available here).

The first session held on the 14th of October started with a brief presentation of the GWP-Med youth programme followed by a keynote presentation aiming to enhance the understanding of the Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus approach and how it can contribute towards achieving SDGs. Presentation slides available here.

Young water professionals’ participants shared examples about the interlinkages of WEFE sectors in their countries, highlighting that a new governance scheme should be established to avoid silo-planification approach and enhance integrated management of natural resources. 

The core segment of the second session held on the 15th of October included a 45-minutes Panel Discussion composed of mixed and balanced number of speakers between senior experts and young water professionals. The session was facilitated by Dr. Anthi Brouma, GWP-Med Deputy Regional Coordinator and Khaled Bedoui, Programme Officer at GWP-Med.

The panel discussion was followed by a working group session, during which young water professionals coached by senior panel members discussed possible and available paths to enhance the involvement of youth in the development of new strategies or national development plans related to Water-Energy-Food and Ecosystem sectors in their countries and what can be  the main challenges and recommendations to reinforce their role in the decision making related to these sectors.

During the concluding session of the side-event, the participants called for the :

  • Enhancement of similar forums enabling the sharing of experiences and lessons learntin particular in relation to the reconciliation of water productivity in agriculture and ecosystems sustainability considering thatwater for agriculture is very often ranked as the priority Nexus interlinkage to address
  • Capacity building to improve youth technical and managerial competencies
  • Encouraging the sharing of young professionals’ experiences in relation to Nexus projects impacts on the preservation of natural resources and improvement of the local population well-being
  • Need to assist young water professionals to fully fulfil their role in the application of Nexus approach including the implementation of a suitable capacity building programs.
  • Creation of the enabling environment to overcome the major bottlenecks challenging youth involvement in the development of new strategies related to Water-Energy-Food and Ecosystem sectors. (i.e. Reinforce their participation to decision making meetings,…)
  • Reinforcement of youth networking at Panafrican level to ensure the replication of successful experiences,

The side-event was organised with the support of  :

  • The MAVA Mediterranean Capacity Building Platform on Water Management and Abstraction;
  •  The GWP - Water Climate and Development Project (WACDEP),  and
  • The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Making Water Cooperation Happen in the Mediterranean.