Making Waves: Youth engagement in water diplomacy

Working Paper Published: March 2021

Since the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace, and Security in 2015, there has been a normative shift in the way youth are recognized as significant stakeholders in global dialogues. In recent years, governments and international organizations have increasingly recognized the importance of Resolution 2250 by creating space for youth in peace and development processes (United Nations, 2020). Despite some progress, a redoubling of efforts is needed to elevate youth voices across the water sector – including as part of water diplomacy processes.

In this working paper, we explore the case for elevating youth engagement in water diplomacy processes as a key aspect of fostering sustainable and long-lasting transboundary water cooperation. In addition, this working paper explores several case studies from recent and ongoing water diplomacy processes where young people have been actively involved. Whilst linkages between water diplomacy processes and the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda are limited, and barriers remain both for youth participation and youth influence, there is much that can be learned and adapted to support the enhanced engagement of youth in water diplomacy processes.