The UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia, home to ancient temples, pristine forests, historic cities, and unique ecosystems, are facing threats from water-related issues. Challenges like water scarcity, changing climate patterns, and increased droughts and floods are straining these delicate environments and the communities that depend on them. Historic cities and ancient structures are deteriorating, and natural ecosystems are suffering habitat destruction and reduced biodiversity. Meanwhile, uncontrolled urbanization, unsustainable food production, tourism, and population growth are worsening these water-related problems, and pollution from various sources is harming both the environment and cultural heritage sites. To preserve the balance of these sites while meeting the growing demand for water, it is crucial to implement innovative solutions and encourage cooperation among communities, governments, universities, and other stakeholders across borders.
In order to drive transformative change and secure the sustainable future of UNESCO-designated sites, the revival of Youth Leadership is exactly necessary. In the current era, it demands more than just innovative concepts and solutions. It necessitates the active engagement of youth to showcase their ability to effect concrete and tangible contributions to sustainable water management. This means demonstrating that their original ideas and solutions have the potential for practical implementation, leading to real, on-the-ground impact.
UNCESCO Water Resilience Challenge 2023 program will be built on three pillars;
- Designing for implementation – to enable participants to turn their ideas into practical solutions for water-related issues in UNESCO sites. This involves understanding how water problems manifest on the ground and acquiring essential skills like project financing, stakeholder management, community engagement, and implementation planning to bring their ideas to life.
- Regional Collaboration – to show youths leadership by collaborating regionally. Many countries and UNESCO sites face shared challenges, and the program aims to maximize cross-border knowledge exchange and idea sharing.
- Harnessing Digital – to encourage youths to introduce digital tools into the solution development and implementation process.