The 23rd edition of the COP-UNFCCC took place at the Bonn World Conference Center from 6-17 November 2017. The CMI-facilitated Mediterranean Youth for Water (MedYWat) Network was represented by its core group members Antoine Allam and Hassan Tolba at a joint UNESCO/UNECSO-IHP side event, organized in collaboration with the World Youth Parliament for Water.
MedYWat is a community of young professionals, researchers and civil society members working in the water sector from around the Mediterranean. It was launched earlier at the CMI World Water Day youth workshop “Youth Innovating with Wastewater for a Sustainable Mediterranean” (Marseille, 21-22 March 2017) and has been growing ever since.
The “The role of Youth in Bridging Water and Climate Change” side event took place on Friday 10th as part of the 2nd Water Action Day at the UNESCO Pavilion, in the presence of the Deputy Director of the Division of Water Sciences at UNESCO, Dr. Anil Mishra.
The session was introduced by Dr. Mishra, myself and the other two speakers, Anaïs Vives, board member of (Generations Climate and the Water and Climate Initiative) and Hassan Tolba (World Youth Parliament for Water).
The session began with my own presentation on “Mediterranean Youth for Regional Water Security” which consisted of a description of the Center for Mediterranean Integration, the MedYWat network and a case study of climate change impact on Mediterranean watersheds.
Several reports mentioned the escalating situation in the Mediterranean involving water resources such as the Plan Bleu 2012 report (PlanBleu, 2012), IPCC 2014 report (IPCC, 2014) and Llsat’s 2013 study (Llasat, et al., 2013). They all confirmed that climate change is deeply affecting the hydrological regime of Mediterranean watersheds.
Once again, the findings of a simulation research study on the evolution of Lebanese snow cover done in 2007 and later verified by measures in 2017 at the “Centre Régional de l’Eau et de l’Environnement” (CREEN) of Saint Joseph University in Beirut (Hreiche & Najem, 2007), confirmed the impact of climate change on Lebanese water resources.
Researchers noticed that spring discharges between 2005 and 2015 were becoming more regulated, with a lower peak flow in spring season and higher flows in winter, compared to the period between 1965 and 1975 with 2°C lower temperatures. Another finding by researchers was the early snowmelt occurring 1 month earlier than before. Such impacts might affect the water management plans and have major consequences on irrigation, water supply and other water management applications.
Therefore, to anticipate major consequences on water management in Lebanon, we are working right now at CREEN on developing a low flow prediction model to support water authorities in management tasks.
As a Mediterranean youth, myself, I call on other young people to take part in the fight against climate change by:
- Volunteering in local and regional youth committees and networks promoting more sustainable development by raising awareness in several Lebanese universities, scouting activities and others
- Working in the water sciences research field with several research projects involving water resources and climate change
- Acquiring new personal healthy habits such as reducing waste production
At COP23, several UNESCO sessions stressed the importance of youth involvement in research studies on climate change, since access to data has become easier and several organizations such as G-Wadi, (http://www.gwadi.org/, a UNESCO MENA platform) built online platforms for data collection and sharing. These research opportunities push youth and research communities in exploring the relations between climate change and natural resources.
This session was unique, it gave an opportunity to youth to contribute to the 2nd Water Action Day by presenting their work and achievements.
Indeed, youth are gaining ground when it comes to conceiving and presenting innovative solutions.
Through my participation at COP23 Water Action Day, MedYWat network seized another opportunity to gain visibility as a blooming and active network on an international level. MedYWat needs to keep making progress with a clear working plan for addressing climate change.
 PlanBleu. (2012). les demandes en eau toujours satisfaites en Méditerranée à l'horizon 2050 ? Les Notes du Plan Bleu, #25. Sophia Antipolis: Plan Bleu PNUE/PAM.
 IPCC. (2014). GIEC, 2014: Changements climatiques 2014: Rapport de synthèse. Contribution des Groupes de travail I, II et III au cinquième Rapport d’évaluation. Genève, Suisse: GIEC.
 Llasat, M., Llasat-Botija, M., Petrucci, O., AA, P., J, R., F, V., & L, B. (2013). Towards a database on societal impact of Mediterranean floods within the framework of the HYMEX project. Natural Hazards Earth Systems Sciences. doi:10.5194/nhess-13-1337-2013
Hreiche, A., & Najem, W. (2007). Hydrological impact simulations of climate change on Lebanese Coastal Rivers. Hydrological Sceinces Journal, 1119-1133.