The Swedish Delegation to the OECD and UNESCO organised jointly with the Swedish Embassy in Paris an event on water at the OECD Headquarters in Paris on 17 May. The event was held within the framework of the global goals for sustainable development and as part of the #FirstGeneration initiative.

At the event, upper secondary pupils from around France presented projects they had worked on as part of the national process to select the French candidate for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize that will be awarded in Stockholm during the annual World Water Week in late August. The winning project was “The Dead Water Phenomenon”, which was developed by students from the Lycée Rosa Parks upper secondary school in Neuville sur Saône. The Swedish Ambassador, Annika Markovic, as well as Secretary-General of the OECD Angel Gurría and Deputy Director-General of UNESCO Getachew Engida spoke at the prize ceremony, and the prizes were awarded by Mr Gurría.

The event also included a seminar on Innovation and Water Management – New Ideas and Challenges. At the seminar, experts from the OECD and UNESCO presented key strands of work in the respective organisation related to water. Presentations were also made by representatives from the organisations Tascmar, Astareal and Off-EEE. The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) also presented its work, with particular reference to World Water Week in Stockholm.

Around 100 people participated in the event, with mainly students, interns and young professionals in the organisations attending. One of the goals of the #FirstGeneration campaign is to reach out to, and engage with, young people and also involve teachers and educators.

The water theme for the event was chosen because water is the main focus of several goals of the 2030 Agenda. Water issues are also closely linked to other sustainable development issues such as poverty, hunger, health, gender equality and climate change. Sustainable management of water therefore has a crucial role to play in achieving the entire 2030 Agenda.

Text: Jörgen Karlsson, Delegation of Sweden to the OECD and UNESCO
Photo: Ebba Palmstierna, Swedish Embassy & Frida Gustafsson, Delegation of Sweden to the OECD and UNESCO