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Every year, World Water Day draws the world’s attention to key water challenges. World Water Day 2018 focuses on “Nature for Water” to raise awareness on Nature-based Solutions for Water (NbS) in the Mediterranean. NbS are defined as “… actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, while simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.” (IUCN, 2016).
NbS use or mimic natural processes to cost-effectively contribute to better water management and resilience through their environmental, social and economic benefits, and can be applied from the micro- to the macro-scale, act systemically and are always context-specific.
Mediterranean youth has a key role in working towards regional water security and better water awareness. Indeed, young people are innovating with water in the entire region, and their actions and ideas should be recognized, shared and replicated to create a more secure regional water future and further mobilize other youth, especially in the Maghreb and the Mashreq. Water innovation also constitutes a valuable economic opportunity for youth, with the potential to create numerous green jobs that can further contribute to regional resilience.
Following the success of the first CMI Mediterranean Water Heroes Contest and the subsequent World Water Day youth workshop (“Youth Innovating with Wastewater for a Sustainable Mediterranean”, (Marseille, March 21-22 2017) and the resulting launch of the MedYWat network, the Center for Mediterranean Integration, the Swedish Institute Alexandria and the World Bank are pleased to have organized the “Young Mediterranean Water Heroes: Nature-based Solutions for a Water Secure Mediterranean” World Water Day youth workshop.
The second of CMI’s World Water Day youth events, this workshop took place from 11-15 March in Aanafora, a retreat center located between Cairo and Alexendria, Egypt, with the support of the Global Water Partnership Mediterranean, Switch-Med, CIHEAM, the Mediterranean Youth for Water (MedyWat) network, Revolve Water and UN Water.
It further connected and inspired young Mediterranean water experts to make a difference in the region’s water reality by gathering 45 Mediterranean young Mediterranean water activists selected through the second CMI Mediterranean Water Heroes contest and experts. The workshop was designed to encourage active engagement, peer learning, collaborative thinking and co-creation on the part of all participants.
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