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The Mediterranean region is the most water scarce region in the world and one of the most vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather events. Combating water scarcity in order to reduce environmental damage effects could be conducive to job creation and entrepreneurship, particularly among Mediterranean youth and women, with clear positive knock-on effects on the regional instability associated with unemployment, disenfranchisement and migration.
In an effort to address these topics and to allow space for both youth and women of the Mediterranean to be heard, the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) and the Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF) jointly hosted a high-level Conference on Women, Water & Youth on 26-27 September 2018 in Amman, Jordan.
The conference aimed to bring women – who are most affected by water challenges, food insecurity, armed conflict and displacement, and reduced economic opportunity – into the conversation. It also brought vital youth voices to the table to explore ways in which women-led / targeted, and youth-led / targeted initiatives might solve environmental and sustainability challenges whilst simultaneously promoting women’s economic participation and leadership and addressing the crisis of youth unemployment in the region.
The conference connected established women leaders in water and the international development sectors with rising stars who are breaking new ground to address the challenges of food, water and energy in the MENA region head on through the use of transformative technology and innovative, out-of-the-box projects and initiatives. AIWF and the CMI engaged subject matter experts who will share their research on critical issues around women, youth, water and food insecurity, bringing their own experiences and expertise into the discussions.
Highly interactive, impact-driven discussions and panel debates that are a hallmark of AIWF and CMI conferences contributed actionable insights and results-oriented recommendations from thought leaders, change agents and key actors whose expertise spans the most critical issues facing the MENA region: water, food security, sustainability, women and youth.
The Women, Water & Youth conference in Amman brought together around 200 participants, including change agents, young professionals, academics, representatives of media, government and civil society, as well as postgraduate and doctoral students representing STEM university institutes and those studying international development, international relations, environmental sciences, politics, Middle East studies, and sustainability in Jordan and the MENA.
Through high-level panel sessions, each panel addressed by global and emerging young leaders, both panelists and participants engaged in frank discussion in a supportive environment on water governance, gender equity in sustainable agriculture, trends and technologies to boost water security in the region, and capacity building in the water sector through training, education, entrepreneurship and social enterprise.
The conference programme also includeed a unique high-level session during which women leaders and young innovators in the water, sustainability and development sectors shared innovative solutions, projects and initiatives that directly address critical water, food and security challenges in the Arab world.
See more pictures here!