Hasmik Barseghyan, President of the European Youth Parliament for Water talks to us about the highlights of her presidency & her future plans
What were your personal drivers that led you to the position of the President of the European Youth Parliament for Water? What do you want to accomplish?
Thank you for this opportunity to reflect and sum-up with you! One year ago, my personal driver was to invest my energy to consolidate the skills and talents of future water leaders, raise each other, cooperate and make a positive change! Those young people will become decision-makers in 10-15 years. We need to make sure that they are well prepared to face more tough challenges, with hard and soft skills, with strong networks and most importantly standing on values and principles! At EYPW, with the support of the International Secretariat for Water – Solidarity Water Europe, we aim to strengthen the position of young people as full-fledged actors in the water sector, from water management to governance.
We have noticed many water youth initiatives over the last years. Why is it important to get the youth involved and engaged in all the aspects of the water sector?
We are living in unprecedented times of global challenges (climate change, pandemic, migration, etc), where collective efforts generate the most of value. Water is a vector of cooperation and a means of development. We can better recover and build better resilience to climate, health and economic challenges if we put water and multilateralism in the center. Specialized youth are able to strongly contribute to knowledge generation, as well as to social engagement, being the bridge between the university-industry-government-public-environment. Through investing more in youth education in water and cross-disciplinary studies, we will generate more knowledge and achieve the goal of active citizenship and collective action.
Formal and obligatory involvement of specialized youth to local and regional transboundary water councils and projects is very important in terms of using youth potential as flexible, creative and out-of-box thinkers as well as to make synergies through intergenerational dialogue. In this way, young people will take the responsibility for decisions, ownership of solutions and will contribute to their best implementation.
How do you manage to address youth needs in water and make the youth’s voice stronger?
Young people’s needs in the water sector and in general are very diverse and grow dynamically. Every leader has its own perception and perspective. When you are committed to your driving principles and goals, you will find the way, you find the people! My recipe is simple: your voice will be heard and considered if your content creates added value! For that, we need to constantly learn, openly share with peers, have courage to speak up and be perseverant on our objectives!
EYPW is raising youth voice on several platforms, from Water Europe to EU Water Alliance, as well as at UN WWQA, at UNESCO, at Amsterdam International Water Week, to mention a few.
What are you currently working on?
Currently we are working with our active international youth on water-peace-security topic, to find ways of youth participation in the implementation of tools in the EU and in the larger Europe. Our youth are mobilized in the preparation works for the 9th edition of the WWForum. Hopefully, we will be able to finally activate the EYPW youth projects that our delegates have initiated during the last session. EYPW is closely working with Water Europe Human Capital working group on the sustainable human capital agenda for the water sector. With the EU Water Alliance, EYPW is actively participating in the dialogue with EU Commissioners. A lot of activities are yet to come!