UN Water Conference: Youth delegation advocates for a water-wise future

On 20-24 Mar 2023, the Youth Action for sustainable development goals (SDG6) delegation — supported by the International Water Association (IWA) and pump manufacturer Grundfos — attended the UN Water Conference in New York and participated in events to advocate for a water-wise future.

The youth delegation was made up of 14 individuals selected for the joint IWA-Grundfos Youth Action for SDG6 fellowship

Under this initiative, these young water professionals took part in a programme of activities, a highlight of which is participation at the UN Water Conference.

The week was packed with sessions, meetings, and dialogues where the delegation contributed ideas and solutions related to challenges in the water sector. The youth delegates engaged in discussions, spoke to world leaders, and advocated for an engagement of young water professionals in different arenas. Through their diverse backgrounds, they supported underrepresented voices in a bid to empower the vulnerable in the water dialogue.

Krithika Iyer Shivakumar, Youth Action delegate from India, said: “At the UN Water Conference, I [met] global leaders demonstrating thought leadership coming forward to forge partnerships with young people and the marginalised at the heart of solutions.”

The youth delegates took part in an official side event organised by IWA on cross-sectoral partnerships held on 22 Mar 2023. Among the youth delegates, Chelsea Hayward moderated the event, while Jacob Amengor and Farokh Kakar acted as rapporteurs. The event had a dialogue among representatives from NGOs and the public and private sectors on securing inclusive urban sanitation globally. Speakers included IWA executive director Kala Vairavamoorthy, Grundfos director of water sustainability Virginia Newton-Lewis, and Brian Arbogast from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

IWA and Grundfos’ involvement at the UN Water Conference in New York contributed towards cross-sectoral and intergenerational partnerships that maximise the benefits of integrating young professionals in the water sector to achieve sustainable development. The conference outcomes and the experience of the Youth Action for SDG6 delegates will be used as inputs for a joint IWA-Grundfos publication, expected later in 2023, on the role that youth engagement plays in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.