The session opened with János Fehér, from the Hungarian chapter of the International Water Association, who provided a concise introduction to Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM). According to Mr. Fehér balancing water for livelihood and water as a resource requires applying the three pillars of IWRM; economic efficiency, social equity, and environmental sustainability. Istaván Zsuffa from WETwin Project explained the valuable role of wetlands in WASH especially in providing regulatory services such as wastewater treatment. The President of the International Water Association, Glen Daigger succinctly stated the challenge of integrated water resource management as understanding complexity while seeing the underlying uncertainty. Mr. Daigger stressed taking action. This means not waiting for approval but applying our problem solving ideas and improving by fixing our mistakes. During discussion, János Fehér encouraged youth to act critically and learn from the mistakes of previous generations.
blue passportIntergenerational dialogue is one of the key terms that emerged from this session in addition to the importance of youth inclusion in the decision making and training the next generation of water professionals. This was complemented by the introduction to the International Water Association’s Young Professionals Programme (IWA YWP). Elena Manea of the Romanian Chapter of the Young Water Professionals stressed how youth involvement can lead to innovations in water sharing and international cooperation. Innovation indeed! Benjamin Noury , the French representative of the World Youth Parliament talked of the importance of youth collaborating at the basin level but warned that cooperation is not possible if we do not take responsibility and feel belonging to the same water resource. This was the thought that has inspired him to create a visible water identity – the Blue Passport. Like Mr. Daigger said, youth should (and are) looking beyond the obvious.