Astana Expo 2017: An international organization from Montreal is mobilizing young people from Central Asia for sustainable development

The International Secretariat for Water (ISW), an international non-governmental organization based in Canada, will be taking part in Astana Expo 2017 in Kazakhstan where we will be showcasing Canada’s expertise in international development cooperation, tackling climate change and promoting innovative solutions to provide a sustainable future for all. The theme of the Astana Expo is ‘Future Energy, Action for Global Sustainability’.

From 16 to 20 June 2017 – 50 years after Expo 67 was held in Montreal – the International Secretariat for Water will hold a conference at Expo 2017 on ‘Innovative Solutions to Water Issues in Central Asia: Challenges and Young People’s Contributions’ with around thirty young people aged between 18 and 27 from five Central Asian countries (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan). For a period of several days, Swissnex Lab at the Swiss Pavilion will be transformed into a discussion, learning and innovation hub. The International Secretariat for Water conference will be held alongside the international Blue Peace Central Asia: Dialogue for 2030 event at which the political authorities from Central Asian countries will discuss the sharing of water resources.

Central Asia is one of the most closed-off regions in the world and it is not always easy for its citizens to come together to discuss their countries’ future. It is also one of the regions most affected by the impacts of climate change; since the 1960s, its glaciers have been melting four times faster than the global average and have lost 27% of their total mass.

The International Secretariat for Water firmly believes that young people drive change. This is why it is essential to help young people to assert their commitment and promote their innovative solutions for sustainable development and tackling climate change. Over the course of the week, participants will develop a ‘joint vision for their region’, which will be presented to local, national and international authorities. This ‘vision’ will be enriched through working sessions held with the Swiss Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Burkhalter, representatives from UNESCO, Canadian international development experts and academics from Europe and Central Asia.