There have never been so many young people in the world – approximately one in five people are aged between 15 and 24, equal to 18% of the population. They are the future leaders of the world. It is therefore essential that youth is actively considered in decision-making, and the best way to do this is to include them as active participants.
We are aware of two initiatives by young people working in water and sanitation this year. At the 1st World Summit on Leaving No One Behind in February, the World Youth Parliament for Water developed a declaration to commit the youth in their network to be involved. The following extract highlights the flavor of the declaration:
In order to achieve SDG 6 by 2030, we the youth will promote young people in discovering innovative solutions, in the decision-making processes, and in raising awareness about the human rights to water and sanitation.
Youth participation was also strongly demonstrated this April at LATINOSAN, a conference in Costa Rica on sanitation in Latin America, where the “Youth Network for Water, Central America”, made a formal declaration called: “Youth Action for Sanitation that Leaves No One Behind”. Their goal is to influence the implementation of human rights and Agenda 2030. They have formally requested governments to take action such as the inclusion of human rights to sanitation in national laws and planning; increased efforts to implement mechanisms for accountability; improvements in water resource management; greater investment in nature-based solutions; and the strengthening of water and sanitation organisations.
WaterLex appreciates the initiative taken by these young people promoting the inclusion of youth in water and sanitation solutions and recommends that governments consider the valuable contribution made by youth.
Young people, despite being a minority, are prepared and willing to contribute boundless energy, knowledge and enthusiasm to overcome challenges
to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and to make sure that No One is Left Behind. It is after all, their future that we are talking about.