303030: Youth inclusion in the water sector

To ensure diversity and intergenerational cooperation within the water sector all water organizations should have 30% of their labor force filled with employees younger than 30 years old, by 2030. During the 303030-event in the Water House, among others, Henk Ovink (Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, Government of the Netherlands), Noémie Plumier (303030 initiator and water advocate) and Mina Guli (CEO Thirst Foundation) shed their light on the topic of meaningful participation of youth in the water sector and water related decision-making mechanisms.

In an informal setting at the Water House, barriers for youth inclusion were discussed by the audience and Josh Newton, water professional and initiator of job-platform “Josh’s water jobs”. While many barriers still exist, the event concluded that everything starts by raising your hand and resolving these barriers together. Luzette Kroon, board member of the Dutch Union of Water Authorities, pointed out that youth will have to speak up to decision-makers, show that they want to take responsibility and make sure to fight for their position in the water sector. Only then, decision-makers and more senior generations can show that they want to listen. We need an estimate of 10-million extra employees, from all sectors, that work on water. This does not only require organizations to include youth in their teams, but it also requires youth to step up and take the stage.

“While everyone is busy with the streets of New York and running this Conference, we should not forget that we are here to be busy with water.” 

Henk Ovink, Special Envory for International Water Affairs for the Government of The Netherlands

Before the UN Water Conference starts tomorrow, Henk Ovink shares what he thinks is essential in the coming days: “while everyone is busy with the streets of New York and running this Conference, we should not forget that we are here to be busy with water.” About youth engagement he shares that youth has inspired him to add a sense of provocation to the negotiation table. The ability of youth to tell truth to power can be the catalyst of meaningful water action beyond the UN Water Conference.

303030 represents what Wavemakers United has been working on towards the UN Water Conference: empower youth with the right tools and network to create meaningful water related impact. The 303030 initiative is also part of the #FillUpTheGlass campaign initiated by the Global Youth Movement for Water and Youth Development Plan and Agenda of UN1FY.