Youth in Action: 50 young Thai leaders bring forward sustainable water solutions
Young leaders from across Thailand convened on 6-8 August 2021 at the ‘Blue-Net Camp’ to drive youth action to tackle water challenges. The online event was organized by the Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR) to stimulate youth-led advocacy for sustainable water management in Thailand.
Thailand has adopted the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and ONWR has a key role in translating policies into actions in the water sector. Dr. Somkiat Prajamwong, Secretary-General of ONWR, said that the Blue-Net Camp was held to celebrate World Water Day 2021 and to strengthen the engagement of all stakeholders, particularly the young generations.
“Sustainable water management is an important issue that affects all of us. We hope that Thai youth will be an integral part in taking action, initiating small ideas that could spark big changes. By bringing ideas into practical implementationactions on water will accompany us in the long-term and in a sustainable manner.”, said Dr. Somkiat.
During the 3-day virtual gathering, the 50 young leaders that were selected from Thailand’s 22 river basins, actively exchanged with experts from Thai water agencies on topics including water-related data, integrated water management, and water and environmental issues, including on how to address the various impacts of climate change.
As a solution to improve water quality, ‘Coffee Sorb’ is an innovative project that participating youths developed by utilizing the concept of constructed wetlands and the use of ground coffee waste. As this treatment system is based on a natural process involving vegetation and soil, it is not costly and can be implemented in communities. It also promotes Thailand’s implementation of SDG 6 clean water and sanitation.
To raise awareness about sustainable water use, the idea of a ‘Smile Water’ label was also put forward. It aims to certify and promote water efficiency in the production. The young leaders plan to start on a small scale, such as community products. Then it could be extended to community enterprises, households, and larger manufacturers in the future.
“This youth camp is not just an ordinary camp. It aims to find and empower young people who are ready to lead the changes on water issues and to really put ideas into actions. We come up with project ideas and find ways to make them happen, not only in imagination,” said Ms. Anchanikran Nantasook, 19, a student in Electrical Engineering and one of the inspiring young leaders in this youth camp.
To enhance knowledge of participating youths in preparation for the Blue-Net camp, a 10-episode webinar series was organized between March and June, to which Anchanikran shared, “I personally love the session ‘Information Sharing and Good Practices of Water Management from Germany’ with speakers from GIZ. It provided me with good examples of water management in Germany and ecosystem-based solutions which allow humans, aquatic organisms, and nature to be in harmonious coexistence without destroying one another.”
Despite the impact from the Covid-19 pandemic, the youths are continuing their discussion online, including planning for the implementation and the site visits when the Covid-19 situation improves. A youth network has also been formed by the young participants from the 1st Blue-Net Camp and ONWR aims to continue empowering young people in the future to drive Thailand’s integrated and sustainable water management.
For more information about the webinar session by GIZ Thailand on ‘Information Sharing and Good Practices of Water Management from Germany’: Empowering Thai youths for climate-sensitive water management: GIZ shares good practices from Germany | Sector Network Natural Resources and Rural Development Asia (snrd-asia.org)
Phoossarapha Thongjumrool – Junior Advisor