SIWI Swedish Water House / Stockholm International Water Institute / Arup

Global vision to local reality – the impact of empowerment

Sunday 26 August | 09.00-10.30 | Room: FH Little Theatre

In this two-parted session we move beyond the global aspects of the SDGs to bring the local reality into the spotlight by identifying pathways and challenges, similarities and differences, hindrances and resolutions on national, regional and even local implementations. We will do so from a bottom-up perspective with youth and water at the core. In the spirit of the 2018 World Water Week we will focus our discussions within the theme of Water, Ecosystems and Human Development.

This first part will give you the opportunity to learn from others when young professionals together with senior experts share their experience from localisation processes as well as global discussions. The goals need to become part of real life on all levels to succeed so what does the implementation process look like in different areas? How are local governments and decision-makers handling the process? How is youth part of these processes and discussions?

We also welcome you to share your story in this interactive session where fruitful group discussions among the participants are key. How are ecosystems and human development addressed on a local level? Which are the regional differences and what do they mean?

Gold standard events are committed to ensure the gender balance in speakers/panellists and young professional representation in the session.


09:00 Introduction
Moderator: Mr. Nicolai Schaaf, Policy Coordinator, Swedish Water House, SIWI 

09:05 Local youth creating global impact
Mr. Ryan Hreljac, founder, Ryan’s Well Foundation

09:15 How does youth impact global discussions? 
Mr. Syed Ahmad Nafisul Abrar, Bangladesh Youth Water Forum 
Mr. Julius Kramer, former Research officer, Swedish delegation for the 2030 Agenda
Ms. Katarina Luhr, Vice Mayor, Stockholm City 
Mr. Iñigo Ruiz-Apilánez, Senior Consultant, International Development and Sustainable Infrastructures, ARUP
Ms. Maggie White, Manager International Policy & AGWA co-chair, SIWI

09:50 Group discussions – the impact of empowerment 
How does youth influence the SDGs locally and globally, what are they contributing with and which are the main challenges for inclusiveness?

10:10 Outcome mapping 

10:25 Closing remarks 

10:30 End of session


Global vision to local reality – the impact of empowerment

Starting off with an inspirational keynote followed by an intergenerational panel discussing the youth influence and impact on global discussions the foundation for the main activity was set – group discussions on youth and the SDGs. The participants got three questions to be discussed within randomly created groups. The first question related to personal experiences and if/how the participants felt they had influenced the SDGs. The discussions followed similar patterns in all groups with choice of studies and/or work area followed by active engagement in awareness activities topped the lists of channels for impact. The second question was similar to the first but on a broader perspective on how youth impacts global discussions. Here the answers were more diverse but young persons ability to contribute with unconventional and innovative thinking still was the most acknowledged one followed by outreach and advocacy activities. In the third question we raised our views and looked to the future discussing the main challenges for the inclusiveness of young people, on an individual as well as on a societal level. By far the issue of not being respected for their knowledge and understanding was the main challenge very much linked to the second challenge of overcoming the “business as usual” approach including the generational gap.

Our conclusion and recommendation, based on the above, is that companies and organizations need to start focusing on knowledge and not get stuck on age issues. Youth has lots of knowledge but need help creating platforms to enhance their experience. These platforms can come in many different forms. Mentor- and internship programs for example bridges both the generational gap and the level of experience, while at the same time enable new ideas to be invented. By providing these opportunities organizations also get first hand access to creative and innovative people that could help take steps in unconventional directions outside of the normal box. By providing intergenerational networking and possibilities for active participation, inclusive processes are achieved which will, in a longer perspective, lead to true empowerment.