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UNESCO Water Resilience Challenge 2023: Youth Action for Water

UNESCO-designated sites in Southeast Asia, housing ancient temples, historic cities, and unique natural ecosystems, are under threat from water-related issues like scarcity, floods, and droughts. These challenges endanger the sites’ integrity, causing damage to historical structures, eroding natural environments, and impacting biodiversity. Compounded by uncontrolled urbanization, unsustainable food practices, tourism, and rapid population growth, these pressures highlight the urgent need for innovative solutions and cross-border cooperation among communities, governments, universities, and stakeholders to balance conservation efforts with the growing demand for water resources in the region.

The Water Agency, in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is currently organizing the UNESCO Water Resilience Challenge 2023: Youth Action for Water, an online program designed to strengthen the capacities of young individuals in 10 Southeast Asian countries. This initiative aims to facilitate a transformational change, encouraging youths to learn from experienced professionals, on-site practitioners, and local communities.

It also serves as a link between youth involvement in water and the World Water Forum 2024, empowering young leaders to contribute their innovative solutions and perspectives for water resilience within UNESCO-designated sites. Participants will be guided to present their initiative ideas, test solutions, and advocate for conservation and sustainability, ultimately preparing them to emerge as the future voices of water leadership

The program stands on three fundamental pillars. Firstly, it focuses on ‘Designing for Implementation’, empowering participants to translate their ideas and solutions into practical implementations. Emphasizing innovative concepts’ real-world application, the program aids in moving ideas from theoretical frameworks to actual fieldwork. Secondly, the program advocates ‘Regional Collaboration’, recognizing Southeast Asian youths’ potential for leadership through collaborative efforts across nations. It aims to facilitate extensive knowledge-sharing, mutual learning, and the collective contribution to each other’s ideas among teams spanning different countries. Lastly, the initiative underscores ‘Harnessing Digital’ as a pivotal aspect. Acknowledging the transformative power of youth’s digital skills, the program encourages integrating digital elements throughout the solution development, design, and implementation processes.


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