“Youth” in the forefront: before and after World Water Forum. Online Youth Water Congress: “Emerging water challenges since COVID-19”


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In responding to the multiple crises today, we must learn the lessons of yesterday, give the floor to the youth and young waterprofessionals as leaders and innovators so countries are better prepared for the achievement of SDG 6 and other water-related SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for the days to come tomorrow.  

Africa’s freshwater resources are estimated to be nearly 9% of the world’s total. However, these resources are unevenly distributed, with the six most water-rich countries in Central and Western Africa holding 54% of the continent’s total resources and the 27 most water-poor countries holding only 7%. 

The Africa Water Vision for 2025 offers a context within which water security and sustainable management of water resources could be achieved. However, rapid population growth, inappropriate water governance and institutional arrangements, depletion of water resources through pollution, environmental degradation, deforestation, and low and unsustainable financing of investments in water supply and sanitation are some of the main challenges to the achievement of SDG 6 on the continent (WWDR2021). 

The 9th World Water Forum is scheduled to take place in March 2022 in Dakar, Senegal, under the theme: Water Security for Peace and Development. The 9th Forum Program focuses on the 2030 Agenda for transformative action. The "Dakar 2022" Forum will give emphasis on four priorities, namely: Water Security and Sanitation; Water for Rural Development; Cooperation; and Means and Tools including the crucial issues of financing, governance, knowledge management and innovation. These four axes constitute priorities for Africa and also for the world as a whole. 

In a rapidly changing world we still try to solve new water problems with old solutions. We need to change our way of thinking about water and water management. This change can be attainable by broadening water education so that those technically grounded young professionals will be better prepared to work in a constantly changing global economy. The economy in which the young generation is called to work will be strongly influenced by the global marketplace for engineering and water services, which demand multidisciplinary and system-based approaches and new paradigms.  

As water education is a cross-cutting priority area in the ninth phase of the UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP) for 2022-2029 – “Science for a Water Secure World in a Changing Environment”and since UN launched the Global Acceleration Framework for SDG 6, UNESCO through its Water Family put forward the youth in general contributing and raising awareness in hydro-environment issues. 

The young people have the power to inspire new generations and also to offer policy advice.

 The Water Youth Congress

The online Water Youth Congress is co-organized by UNESCO Centre on Integrated and Multidisciplinary Water Resources Management (CIMWRM), hosted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh), in Greece, in collaboration with UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP), the Youth Delegates to the World Water Council (YDWWC) and the International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR).

The young professionals (Yps) will have the opportunity to present their projects/research and also promote new innovative ideas for action (in 3-5 min). Meanwhile, they will have the opportunity to discuss and get some feedback from senior members(mentors) as well as to network with other YPs around the world and establish a connection with the 9th World Water Forum while disseminating the outcomes of the 9th WWF.

The interactive event will explore and discuss themes which will revolve around: 

  1. Water-related disasters and climate crisis: hazards like floods and droughts require integrated water management, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

  2. The “job” system in the Meta COVID-19 era: identify opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in the water sector, skills necessary for the new “digital” era since COVID-19 and interconnected water challenges of the future which highlight the interdisciplinarity of water with almost all sciences.

  3. Resilience of societies and “digital” communication and cooperation: the climate crisis is a threat to all societies, to improve the capacity of adaptation and recovery from extreme events is our mandate as water professionals. Digital based communication and cooperation, such as web-based collaborative engineering, is paramount to achieve this goal.

  4. Management of groundwater resources, the “invisible water”: properly protecting groundwater resources is crucial against poverty, the creation of decent jobs, sustainable development and certainly contributes to increase the resilience of the societies and economies to climate change.

  5. Water-related issues of inclusiveness (culture / gender / indigenous peoples): to pretend that a sectorial standpoint can be universal is to secure old clichés. We need the support of science to solve water-related problems and its universality is not conceivable without the inclusion of all the parts.

The Congress will have parallel sessions on the above-mentioned themes and after the end of the sessions “virtual spiritual coffee breaks” will be provided where discussions will take place among participants and mentors. Mentors are experts from academia and water enterprises/agencies, etc.
There will be given the opportunity to have “be to be” meetings with mentors as well.
There will be e-proceedings of the event and even the possibility of publication to peer review scientific journal under conditions to be specified.

Registration is free and open to all! A certificate of attendance/participation will be provided.

 Why attend?

  • Be part of an interesting and most important environmental scientific event about water resources

  • Have your work presented and your voice heard by colleagues from all over the world 

  • Have the opportunity to network with other young professionals and experts 

  • Interact and transform your knowledge to solutions that can be applied and solve real water problems 

  • Have the opportunity to favor from input by mentors who are experienced experts, from academia and industry 

  • Participate in interactive “coffee breaks” that are focused on sharing knowledge and enhance cooperation opportunities 

  • Have the opportunity to publish your scientific work in e-proceedings and high-impact journals

 Key dates

  • 28 February 2022: Extended deadline for abstract submission

  • 22 March 2022: Notification of abstract acceptance

  • 6-8 April 2022: Online Youth Water Congress

  • 29 May 2022: Deadline for paper submission in selected journals

 Organising Committee

  • Elpida Kolokytha, UNESCO Center on Integrated Multidisciplinary Water Resources Management AUTh 

  • Kostantinos Voudouris, UNESCO Center on Integrated Multidisciplinary Water Resources Management AUTh 

  • Dimitris Karpouzos, UNESCO Center on Integrated Multidisciplinary Water Resources Management AUTh 

  • Dionysis Latinopoulos, UNESCO Center on Integrated Multidisciplinary Water Resources Management AUTh 

  • Ellis Jorge Da Luca, UNESCO IHP

  • Elsa Incio, IAHR 

  • David Ferras, IAHR

  • Phillip Kruse, Young Delegates of the World Water Council 

  • Karishma Asoodani, Youth Delegate Asia and the Pacific to the World Water Council 

 International Scientific Committee

  • Dimitrios Karpouzos, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

  • David Ferras, IHE Delft, The Netherlands 

  • Rodrigo Maia, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, Portugal     

  • Prem Lal Patel, Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology Surat, India    

  • Barry Croke, Australian National University, Australia    

  • Vassilios Pisinaras, Soil & Water Resources Institute, Hellenic Agricultural Organization, Greece    

  • Gabriella Balacco, Polytechnic of Bari, Italy    

  • Jordi Morato, UNESCO Chair on Sustainability at Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Spain    

  • Ramesh Teegavarapu, Florida Atlantic University, USA    

  • Evangelos Tziritis, Soil and Water Resources Institute, ELGO-DIMITRA, Greece    

  • Elpida Kolokytha, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece    

  • Lat Grand Ndiaye, University Assane Seck Of Ziguinchor, Senegal    

  • Xiao Yun Zheng, School of History and Culture, Hubei University, China    

  • Andreas Panagopoulos, Soil and Water Resources Institute, Hellenic Agricultural Organisation, Greece    

  • Milan Gocic, University of Nis, Serbia    

  • Abdelfattah Benkaddour, Cadi Ayyad University, Moroccco    

  • Cybelle Braga, Federal Institute of Paraiba, Brazil    

  • Pantazis Georgiou, Aristotle Univeristy of Thessaloniki, School of Agriculture, Greece    

  • Yannis Mylopoulos, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece    

  • Athanasios Loukas, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece    

  • Nikitas Mylopoulos, University of Thessaly, Greece    

  • Triantafyllos Kaklis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece 

  • Micol Mastrocicco, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Italia    

  • Nicolò Colombani, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italia    

  • Maurizio Polemio, National Research Council (Italy, CNR-IRPI), Italy    

  • Daisuke Nohara, Kajima Technical Research Institute, Japan    

  • Capucine Dupont, IHE Delft, the Netherlands    

  • Satoru Oishi, Kobe University, Japan    

  • Carlos Galvao, Federal University of Campina Grande, Brazil    

  • Konstantinos Voudouris, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece    

 Extended Abstract Preparation Instructions

All abstracts submitted via the online submission form before the deadline 

  • Maximum length: 2 pages. This length should allow the authors to provide comprehensive details of their work

  • Congress and publication language:  All abstracts must be submitted and presented in English  

  • Format: Text (pdf or word). Use the Extended Abstract Template that can be downloaded here

Accepted abstracts will be invited for online presentation in one of the following formats: 

  • as an oral presentation in a workshop session 

  • as a discussed poster in a “science at a glance” session 

  • as a poster presentation in the poster gallery slot 

 Abstract submission and presentation rules

  • Confirmation of receipt & notification of decision 

  • You will receive an email confirmation that your abstract has been received, indicating the abstract number to which it has been allocated. Please refer to this abstract number in all correspondence regarding the status of the abstract.  

  • Please contact the Secretariat ( if you submit an abstract and do not receive confirmation that it has been received. 

  • Notifications regarding status of your abstract will be sent once the review process is complete. 

  • Instructions for preparation of oral or poster presentations will be sent together with acceptance notifications. 

  • Presenting authors must register by date (to be confirmed) 

Only through enabling the young generations and unlocking transformative power, changes may occur in terms of achieving water security, water resilience and sustainable water solutions. 

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