The Summer School „Towards 2030 Agenda: A summer school for climate change, innovation and youth advocacy in water management“ took place on 1- 6 July 2018 at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Warsaw, Poland.
Global Water Partnership Central and Eastern Europe has designed this summer school to enhance skills of students currently enrolled in different water related MSc and PhD programs from universities throughout Europe. The curriculum aimed to present the most current global and regional water issues, possible ways to address them and innovative approaches. Fourty-six MSc and PhD students from 18 countries (Armenia, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Trinidad and Tobago) participated in the Summer School. Their specialities ranged from natural sciences, geography, engineering, to landscape ecology and international relations.
The curriculum aimed at presenting the most current global and regional water issues, as well as possible ways to address them and innovative approaches. Professors, speakers and practitioners from different countries and organizations like UNESCO WWAP, ECRR, University of Ljubljana, Josh’s Water Jobs and GWP were invited as guest lecturers to present different perspectives and approaches. The main topics included: international water governance, the SGDs, green infrastructures, innovative solutions, ecosystems, nature-based solutions and others. Guest lecturers provided the students with valuable insights into river basin management, river restoration, transboundary water issues, water governance, integrated urban water management and many more.
Case studies on the application of integrated water resources management, as well as many practical exercises and group work contributed to the better understanding of multi-disciplinary aspects of water governance such as legal issues, participatory approaches, and conflict resolution techniques.
Full day field trip to Kampinoski Park Narodowy
The summer school had a special focus on Water Security and Climate Resilience which deal with some of the most globally discussed climate topics at the moment (i.e. Paris Agreement, National Adaptation Plans, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Green Climate Fund, GWP Water and Climate Programme, Integrated Drought Management Programme etc.). The participants learnt how the planning and decision-making at national and regional level is influenced by the latest analyses and processes on the global level.
Student's group work contributed to the better understanding of multi-disciplinary aspects of water governance
A very important part of the Summer School was a dialogue for Water and Climate Change Policies between Young Leaders and Policy-Makers called 'Youth Voices → Policy Choices'. This initiative, funded by the European Union's Erasmus+ program, provided an interactive platform for a dialogue between young water advocates with decision-makers. The decision-makers were represented by Ms. Liliana Rastocka (Slovak Ministry of Environment), Mr. Mitja Bricelj (State Secretary of Slovenian Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning), Mr. Adam Kovacs (ICPDR), Ms. Venera Vlad (EBRD), Mr. Viktor Oroszi (EU Strategy for the Danube Region Priority Area 5), and Ms. Lucka Kajfez Bogataj (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). First the invited experts introduced their work and how the organizations they represent take part in the decision-making process regarding climate change adaptation, what kind of results they already have.
Introduction of the decision-makers and the organizations they represent
Discussion of each side’s concerns/willingness and defining areas of shared interests/approaches continued with a workshop to understand how youth advocay is realized during the decision-making. Challenges and the added value of youth employment of policy making was disputed by the participants. Creative idea jam was arranged to define common goals for some international water management problems.
Results of the creative idea jam
Creative idea jam related to stop river degradation in Moldova
As the last project of the summer university the young experts drafted proposals with the support of the decision-makers regarding some key issues of climate change for the younger generation (e.g. expanding open access databases, UN internship programme for youth experts to facilitate their participation in decision-making etc.).
EUSDR PA5 expert facilitating the youth project elaboration
Taking into consideration the feedback of the decision-makers, the youth will finalize their vision for a change and will present it at the 24th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP24), which will be held on 3-14 December 2018 in Katowice, Poland. The dialogue Youth Voices → Policy Choices has been made possible thanks to a collaboration between Solidarity Water Europe, the Global Water Partnership Central and Eastern Europe (GWP CEE), and Youth Water Community Central and Eastern Europe (YWC CEE).
Summer university participants are presenting the results of their project
Not just youth actors, but decision-makers also gained some benefits thanks to the discussion. The dialogue highlighted that involvement of the younger generation into the decision-making process of EUSDR still can be increased. An EUSDR internship programme, or a panel for youth during the Annual Forum should be perhaps a solution for the better involvement of young experts of the Danube Basin.
Furthermore this event strenghtened further the cooperation between EUSDR PA5 and GWP CEE related to our common work in the field of climate change adaptation.
For more information regarding the Summer School please visit the GWP CEE website.