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Youth leaders voice their views on finding sustainable safe water solutions for all

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Pune (Jan. 22, 2015): The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in partnership with the Ministry of Sports Affairs, Government of India, today organized a two-day seminar on ‘Sustainable Solutions for Access to Safe Water: Promoting Innovation and Collaboration’ at the Greater NOIDA Institute of Technology, Uttar Pradesh.

The seminar comes in the wake of the YUVA Meet, which is a special event of the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) 2015, to be held in New Delhi from February 5 to 7, 2015. The YUVA Meet is held prior to the DSDS so that the voices of the youth can be heard at this major international forum.

Said Mr K R Chari, Professor, (Operations Management) and Chief Proctor, BIMTECH: “Access to safe water is a striking issue. There are still areas where people are deprived of safe water. Time has come where there is a need to bring about sustainable solutions to overcome inaccessibility to safe water. I congratulate TERI for taking up the initiative to sensitize youth to follow a sustainable route towards development.”

Said Dr Radha Goel, Member and Advisor, Indian Pollution Control Association: “Rainwater harvesting is a sustainable solution as it is technologically simpler, socially acceptable, environment-friendly and economically viable. If implemented in a proper way, rainwater harvesting can ensure access to safe water to the communities who are not getting sufficient safe water daily.”

Said Ms Kopal Chaube, Academic Fellow, School of Human Ecology, Ambedkar University: “Understanding the role of gender in managing water resources can lead to a sustainable solution in water management. Equally important is to understand and question commodification of water resources -- who benefits from it and how?”

Said Dr Deeksha Katyal, Assistant Professor, IP University: “The main objective is to restate the urgency required to address the water deficiency situation. Starting with a historical perspective of water and its usage, the current scenario and potential inconveniences need to be deliberated further.”

As part of the YUVA Meet 2015, a series of State Level Youth Seminars are being held across seven states in India -- namely Assam (Guwahati), Bihar (Patna), Maharashtra (Pune), Uttar Pradesh (Noida), West Bengal (Kolkata), Karnataka (Bengaluru) and Punjab (Ludhiana). More than 150 youth from colleges, universities, NGOs, NSS, NYKS and youth groups from the respective states are participating in each of these two-day seminars.

The seminar in Noida provided an opportunity for the youth to enhance their understanding on issues concerning safe water accessibility, youth engagement and sustainable development. It focused on pertinent and pressing issues concerning water accessibility. It also gave them an opportunity to voice their views on a range of water-related issues.

The seminar generated awareness on issues of safe water accessibility and sustainability and encouraged a systemic, multi-disciplinary approach to understand and solve water problems. It helped the students to connect with governments, academia, local communities and other stakeholders in taking suo moto action on water management. The seminar instilled a sense of responsibility and engaged the youth in environmental stewardship so that they play a pro-active role in addressing issues related to sustainable development.

The seminar forged the building of a network of like-minded youth. Apart from group discussions and competitions such as ‘Design a Water Campaign’, a film, Belonging, was also screened at the seminar.