World Youth Forum session: ‘Day Zero: Water Security in the Aftermath of Climate Change’

Sun, Nov. 4, 2018
CAIRO – 4 November 2018: The second day of the second edition of the World Youth Forum set light on the important topic of water security through a session titled, ‘Day Zero: Water Security in the Aftermath of Climate Change’.   The session tackled the issue of water security post the climate change crisis and in the midst of global uncertainty on what to do to mitigate the effect of climate change.   The session was attended by four Egyptian ministers: Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Immigration Nabila Makram, Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad, and Minister of Planning Hala Helmy el-Saeed.   During the session Expert in environmental integration Elena Nefukva stated that although some $20 billion have been put towards environmental projects, these funds were not distributed fairly and do not suitably target the places that need them most.   The expert stressed that governments face funding problems and recommended they work with non-profit organizations, who aim to launch environmental investments despite numerous challenges.   Egyptian minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel Ati stated that the ministry supports youth and works to empower them and secure their future through annual training courses and conferences.   The session’s panellist discussed the need to take action in light of a growing global population that is causing challenges like the world has never had to face.   They pointed out that people do not take action or work to make a difference because they do not think that it directly affects them. It does not affect their work, their love life or their family, and therefore, they do not need to take any action to change this.   However, the panel showed that this is not the case. By giving the example of the piracy issue that Somalia faced a few years ago, the panel was able to show that any issue that the world faces and that we do not do anything to battle has a direct affect on all of us. The effect on piracy in Somalia is seen until today.   By also giving the example of refugees in Syria and the low water levels that have led to droughts in Syria, which is one of the reasons for the on-going conflict, the panel showed that climate change and its effects impact us all.       For the second year, under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the tourist attraction city of Sharm el-Sheikh is bringing together youth of all nations at the second annual World Youth Forum (WYF) from November 3-6 to deliver a message of peace and prosperity from Egypt to the entire world. According to the official WYF website, the registration process for the forum has been closed after receiving applications from more than 122,000 youth of both sexes across the world.

World Youth Forum

The Seven Pillars of the Egyptian Identity

This year, the Forum events will revolve around a vision inspired by “The Seven Pillars of the Egyptian Identity”, a book by one of the most political intellectuals in Egypt Author Milad Hanna; who received several international awards including three “Egyptian Pride” awards from the assembly of foreign journalists and correspondents in Egypt in 1998, the “Order of the Polar Star” award from the king of Sweden, UNESCO’s “Simon Bolivar” award and the state appreciation prize in social sciences in 1999. In his book; Hanna emphasizes the unity and harmony of the Egyptian society despite differences. In keeping with this approach, all the forum events will be held in the light of those pillars that envision the communicative nature of the Egyptian society that has managed throughout the ages to be a linking point between different societies. These pillars include; the Pharaonic pillar, the Greco-Roman pillar, the Coptic pillar, the Islamic pillar, the Arabic pillar, the Mediterranean pillar and the African pillar.

WYF’s themes and topics:

Building on the success of Egypt’s first international youth event in 2017, held under the theme “We Need to Talk”, this year the WYF is expected to witness the participation of approximately 5,000 young people from all over the world including international youth leadership figures, influential youth models in various fields, prominent international figures, youth groups from around the world and young Egyptian expats. During the international forum, these young people will explore and exchange views on key issues facing their generation and determine their role in shaping their future. The WYF 2018 will concentrate on three main themes; peace, development and creativity; and will be held under the theme “We Need to Act”. The forum represents an opportunity for convening on youth development and engagement issues as well as discussing and reviewing progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), both by and for youth. Furthermore, the WYF aligns with the overarching theme of the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030 which focuses on three main themes; economy, environment and social dimension with special attention to specific segments of the society including youth, women and people with disabilities. Egypt vision 2030 is strongly guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be thoroughly discussed during the forum. According to the WYF’s agenda, the theme of peace will discuss sub-topics such as the role of world leaders in building and sustaining peace and water security in the wake of climate change (Day Zero), the future of humanitarian assistance, the Euro-Mediterranean co-operation and partnership, the role of soft power in countering ideological extremism and terrorism, and discussions on ways to rebuild societies and states in the context of post conflict. In 2017, the young participants discussed issues of terrorism, illegal migration, refugees, the impact of conflict on youth, sustainable development, the impact of technology on youth and the role of women in decision making processes. While the African Agenda 2063 "the Africa we want", will be discussed under the theme of development in addition to other topics including; world energy, addressing the gender gap in labor market, the integration of persons with disabilities in development efforts, social responsibility and ways to invest in youth as future leaders.  In 2017, the international forum reviewed major international experiences related to the rehabilitation and training of young people and the role of countries and societies in preparing future leaders. The third theme “creativity” is expected to discuss opportunities in the artificial intelligence era, as well as entrepreneurs and innovative startup roles in economic growth. Under this theme; a map of the journey of startup pioneers from Egypt and around the world will shared, including challenges and successes so that others can follow and learn. In addition, the participants will learn about best-case practices and listen to inspirational figures discuss the startup dream. The WYF is also planned to witness the “World Youth Theater” by young talented youth from around the world featuring a variety of performances including musicals, plays, stand up comedies and inspirational talks in one of the most diverse youth events. In 2017, the participants discussed the role of cinema in facing terrorism and extremism as well as subjects related to arts and literature, cultural identity and ways to integrate and benefit from diversity to fix the damages of conflicts and wars. In its first edition, the WYF witnessed a simulation of the United Nations Security Council. Following the recommendations resulting from WYF 2017, this year the second edition of WYF will simulate the regional Arab-African Summit. In two days; 67 young participants representing Arab and African states will be able to live the experience and formulate various solutions to several topics during the discussion including; the threats to global peace and security, and the challenges facing countries as a result of waves of irregular migration, and cyber wars and its threat to state security. The participants will also discuss ways to enhance cooperation between Arab and African youth. The closing session of the WYF will witness voting and announcing relevant recommendations resulting from the discussions. In 2017, the international summit came out with the following recommendations; to establish an international center on Arab-African dialogue among youth in the world, to enhance the coordination with relevant bodies including the United Nations to adopt the outcomes of the Security Council simulation model conducted during the forum, to annually hold the WYF, to establish a center for cultural communication between Egyptian youth and the world in coordination with the relevant ministries, to establish an African Youth Center brining African youth together and benefiting from their innovative ideas, to put a plan for cultural exchange and provide scholarships for youth coordinated by the National Youth Academy for Training and Empowerment - established in Egypt in 2016, to develop a strategy to counter extremism, terrorism and illiteracy by the beginning of 2018, to activate mechanisms of acquaintance and dialogue among the youth around the world and to expand the financing of small and micro enterprises to support Egyptian youth willing to launch their own projects. During the forum in 2017, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi also revealed that Egypt along with Arabic and European countries are all exerting efforts to add counterterrorism to the agenda of international human rights. The idea of the WYF was originally proposed on April 25, 2017 by a group of young Egyptians from the Presidential Leadership Program (PLP) during the third National Youth Conference in Ismailia. The aim of these young Egyptians’ initiative was to engage in dialogue with their peer youth from around the world. President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi responded to the initiative on July 24, 2017 during the 4th National Youth Conference in Alexandria and launched the first World Youth Forum in 2017.