Speaking at the World Water Forum
Only a few days back, the world's largest water event '6th World Water Forum' took place in Marseille, France from March 11 to March 18, 2012. More than thirty thousand participants from all over the world took part in the event. 15 heads of State, governments and European Commissioners, 173 represented countries, 103 Ministers, Vice-Ministers and Secretaries of State, 170 national delegations and international organisations taking part in the Ministerial Declaration, more than 750 elected officials among which were 250 mayors and 250 parliamentarians, 3500 NGOs and civil society representatives and more than 2600 children and youths came under one roof to discuss and share thoughts and ideas.
Sajid Iqbal presenting his paper at the Forum. Courtesy: Sajid Iqbal
Every three years since 1997, the World Water Council arranges the water forum to gather different stakeholders working with water issues to come up with solutions, opinions, discussions, debates, challenges and concrete means of action to face water crisis and brings positive sustainable changes. The next World Water Forum will be held in South Korea in 2015. The main objective of the Water Forum is to ensure access to safe water and to promote health and sanitation.
My experience of participating at the event felt larger than life. It was a great privilege to present my paper in front of people who came from all over the world. I received a scholarship of Emerging Academic Program and attended this seven day long water forum as a full engaged member of expert panel. Forty people from all over the world managed to obtain this scholarship based on the uniqueness and distinctiveness of the proposal they submitted.
In the forum, I presented a paper based on my research findings on Community Engagement and Water Governance. I titled my paper 'Water Youth Clubs: Building a strong network with rural and urban youth to face water crisis.' I emphasised on how and why there should be a framework to involve most vulnerable people facing water crisis, with the policy making process, especially the youths. The whole framework is a kind of mechanism to disseminate information about water crisis and sanitation as well as to collect real information from different vulnerable areas by involving the youths. Without linking the grassroots people with water policies and actions, it is not possible to achieve sustainability in this field. Policies will remain ineffective if the target people are not involved in the process. This forum was very helpful to learn about different kind of solutions, techniques and adaptation processes which have been under taken by different countries, community and organisations to face water crisis all over the world.
I would like to implement my presented framework in Bangladesh to involve the most vulnerable people with policy making process and to create a platform for them. For that I plan on working with NGOs and youth organisations. If more people started thinking about solutions and came forward to work with each other, it is not very difficult to be hopeful and optimistic.
(The writer is a student of Department of Environment Management, North South University, Dhaka. For more information, you can contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org)