Mobilizing for Water and Peace in Central Asia

Youth Vision for Water in Central Asia
Download the Vision produced by youth in English and Russian.

The ISW has had a presence in Central Asia for 20 years, focused on our two field projects in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Youth have always been at the heart of the ISW's Central Asian activities. We mobilize young water leaders and run hygiene and awareness programs in schools and communities.

Astana Youth Workshop on Water

From June 16–20, 2017, the ISW organized a youth workshop for water during Expo2017 Astana. The event brought together 25 Central Asian youth for an open dialogue on the region's water challenges, emphasizing the key role youth will play in tackling these issues. Supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and held at the Swiss Pavilion, the workshop enabled Central Asian Youth to develop a regional perspective on water.

Some highlights of the workshop include:

  • The significant interest generated by the call for participation, with over 350 applications.
  • An interactive program by and for youth, including rewarding interactions with many internationally-renowned experts.
  • Technical and cultural visits.
  • Privileged exchanges with high-level decision makers.

Watch the video

After the expert dialogues, teamwork and visits, the youth delegates presented the Central Asian Youth Vision for Water to Swiss Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter and the high-level delegations from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. These states took part in a conference organized by the SDC, Blue Peace Central Asia: Dialogue for 2030 – Water Security and Inclusive Growth.

The workshop helped identify key messages for youth and water in Central Asia. This is an important step on the road to the World Water Forum next March in Brasilia. The results are especially valuable for the next General Assembly of the World Youth Parliament for Water, which will be held alongside the Forum. However, strengthening youth engagement in Central Asia and contributing to a sustainable future for their region is the primary goal.

Regional youth mobilize in force

Driven by their desire to link water and peace, the youth are determined to strengthen their actions in the region, which are oriented along three axes:

  1. Concrete youth-led projects
  2. Raising awareness and influence
  3. Communication

The energy and vigour of these youth is evident at all levels and in many forms. After Expo2017's conclusion, they have made significant accomplishments, for example:

  • Youth in Afghanistan created a Youth Parliament for Water there, mobilizing people new to the movement.
  • In Kazakhstan, youth participated at the 20th meeting of the Aral-Syrdarya Basin Council. The Water Resources Committee, which coordinates the country's basin councils, were so impressed by the Young Water Champions that they will now invite youth representatives to meetings of all eight of Kazakhstan's basin councils. (see article)
  • At the High-Level Panel for Water and Peace held in September 2017 in Geneva, youth presented their messages to the experts. The Panel was convened on November 16, 2015 in Geneva with the mandate of developing proposals to strengthen frameworks to avoid and reduce regional and global water-related conflict. It also calls for water to be used as an instrument of peace and cooperation.

View the Vision



  • Youth Parliament for Water created in Afghanistan
  • Young Water Champions to participate in Kazakhstan basin council meetings
  • Youth Vision for Water in Central Asia presented September to the High-Level Panel for Water and Peace in Geneva, and to Central Asian local authorities


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