Young water professionals debate water issues and solutions at the World Water Congress and Exhibition 2018
Almost 10,000 participants from governments, utilities, academia, private companies, and international organizations came together in Tokyo at the World Water Congress and Exhibition to get a step further in solving the world’s pressing water problems. In 2020 the conference will be held in Copenhagen with the overall topic “Water for Smart Liveable Cities”. This could clearly be seen in the number of Danish delegates, as Denmark was the country with the most delegates after Japan and China.
Three of YWPDK’s board members were represented at the conference: Trine as part of the Program Committee for the conference, Nadia from Water DTU pinpointing the progress of digitization in the water sector, and Thor was inaugurated for his seat on the Emerging Water Leaders Steering Committee representing the Young Water Professionals (YWPs) in IWA – congratulations to him for being elected!
The conference had up to 17 parallel tracks in each session, and a large variety of topics related to the water cycle were therefore discussed during the conference. However, especially two themes were highlighted again and again, irrespectively of the topic.
The first theme was the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 6:Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. SDG6 is important not only in itself, but also in order to meet many of the other SDGs. Therefore it is particularly important that the global water sector comes together to reach SDG6 by 2030 – the IWA congress in Copenhagen in 2020 is a natural milestone to make status of our progress or lack thereof. Several successful sessions on how to operationalize the SDGs in the water sector were led by YWPs, including the Sustainable Development Goals: Beyond Benchmarking and Business as Usual, which was organized by the IWA SDG Taskforce co-founded and -lead by Trine Stausgaard Munk.
The second recurring theme was YWPs. Again and again we heard from both the plenary speakers but also during the topic related presentations that the water sector counts on young people to take responsibility and help out both pinpointing and solving the problems that lie ahead of us. YWP Japan had organized a dinner which brought the young delegates together for inspiring discussions in an informal setting. The atmosphere was fun and relaxed (helped along by the sake tasting?). The connections and friendships formed across the YWPs will enable us to collectively have a stronger voice in the debate (though, a little bit hoarse after the karaoke at the end of the evening). The importance of involvement of YWPs was underlined by a series of workshops and presentations by, co-lead or for YWPs at the conference, and it all culminated with a debate between YWPs at the stage during the closing ceremony of the conference.
With Trine (and soon another Danish YWP) in the Program Committee for 2020, Thor in the Emerging Water Leaders Steering Committee and our shared work towards the conference in Copenhagen in 2020, we as YWPDK will do our part in raising important issues, inspire collaborations and pose solutions to the pressing water-related problems of the world, and show that the YWPs are ready to take their part of the responsibility!
Do you have a great idea for a social event for the YWPs during the World Water Congress and Exhibition in Copenhagen in 2020? Or would you like to help arrange pre-conference events? Then send us an e-mail and become part of the YWPDK IWA2020 team!