World water congress
WORLD WATER ENVOYS PROGRAMME
IWRA’s World Water Congress is the largest event linking water researchers and policy practitioners in the world. In that regard, the World Water Envoy programme, an award winning initiative was created to hear stories from youth representatives of the next generation at the World Water Congresses, to give them a chance to showcase the water issues they and their communities face and the solutions they are exploring. For each congress, youth who are passionate about water resource management will be invited to share their journey and work as they embark on their careers. They are called “World Water Envoys”
During the Congress, each World Water Envoy will have the opportunity to briefly introduce the water challenges in their community and the impacts those challenges have on everyday life. They will then have the chance to discuss these issues and potential solutions in more detail over the following days with experts attending the Congress and in a dedicated workshop. During the Closing ceremony, they will summarise what they have learned over the week, and what connections they made that might help their community to better meet the water needs of humans and nature in their community.
The collaboration between IWRA and the World Water Envoys will begin before the Congress. The months leading up to the congress are also an opportunity for the Envoys to engage with each other and with IWRA and give them the opportunity to take part in related IWRA Task Forces and projects.
In the XVIII editing since 1973, the Congress will focus on “Water for All: Harmony between Humans and Nature.” The Congress aims to facilitate knowledge and experience sharing, focusing on investigating the relationship between water, humans, and nature, identifying and reconciling all water-related factors in a coordinated manner, and formulating and implementing water management strategies and policies using systematic approaches.
In that regard, the winners of the 2023 World Water Envoy programme showcased the difficult water issues they and their communities face, and the solutions they are exploring when it comes to balancing water needs of humans and nature.
Kate Hawley is a senior manager for the UK’s Forestry Commission (a central government department) leading on protecting, improving, expanding and connecting the nation’s forests. She specialises in the delivery of publicly funded incentives looking at strategic woodland creation for Natural Flood Management (NFM), including the education and promotion of NFM as an alternative and sustainable approach to flood alleviation.
Son Tra Nguyen
Son Tra Nguyen focuses on youth engagement and innovative solutions in water governance, climate change, biodiversity conservation, and environmental protection at the risks of saltwater intrusion, water scarcity, pollution, and land submersion in the Mekong region.
He finished his undergraduate studies in Wildlife Management and is working for YSEALI – Mekong, a leadership project to build capacity for youth in ASEAN countries and Timor-Leste to address climate change, biodiversity, and environmental challenges of the region.
Oudi Kgomongwe is a water resources management specialist committed to advancing groundwater governance for climate adaptation in Africa. She is involved in integrated water resources management at the Ministry of Water and Sanitation Republic of South Africa. She gives prominence to groundwater challenges and opportunities by enhancing the dissemination of information about groundwater, promoting sustainable approaches and tools for proper management.
Moemen Sobh is an Egyptian climate activist and founder of MycoTech, and Visenleer. He started his journey in 2019 when he started researching for solutions to help his community in Egypt and Africa. He currently runs 2 startups (Visenleer and MycoTech). His startups mainly focus on utilising waste material and creating byproducts out of them to support his community in Portsaid, Egypt. He works towards supporting the unemployed and local women by providing them with sustainable jobs and businesses.
In its XVIIth edition since 1973, the Congress focused on a key, timely theme: “Foundations for Global Water Security and Resilience: Knowledge, Technology and Policy”. It is known that water security can be endangered in many ways: water scarcity, natural hazards, conflicts, contaminants, etc. The challenges and priorities around water security are multiple, complex and diverse.
IWRA wanted to hear stories from representatives of the next generations and give them a chance to showcase the issues they face when it comes to Water Security during the XVII World Water Congress in South Korea.
The World Water Envoys were:
Georgina focuses on the economics of water supply in cities, in the context of Zimbabwe. She is currently doing an internship at UNESCO in Harare, working on the “City Blue Print” programme.
Deepesh focuses on the right to water and sanitation in slums, in India. He has a Masters degree in Water Policy and Governance, worked with the Indian Sanitation Coalition, and currently works on installing temporary toilets during giant pilgrim gatherings similar to Kumbh Mela.
Maria focuses on urban river management, specifically on the recent contamination of a river in Santo Domingo, leading to severe health problems in her neighbourhood, such as dengue fever. She sees education and awareness-raising around waste and water management as a key priority for her community. Maria finished her undergrad in civil engineering.
Palestine, West Bank
Bayan focuses on agrochemical pollution in Palestine, in rural areas, due to intensive uses of pesticides -which have a big impact on people’s health. Bayan is doing a PhD in Germany on the topic and is very passionate about the subject.
Pallavi focuses on groundwater pollution in the city of Kathmandu, Nepal, where 90% of people depend on groundwater, contaminated with arsenic, chemicals and viruses. Pallavi understands well the multifactorial complexity of the situation and is very eloquent. She finishes her undergrad in environmental science.