Reflection on the International Riversymposium Closing Ceremony and the Emerging Water Professionals Program 2018

Reflection on the International Riversymposium Closing Ceremony and the Emerging Water Professionals Program 2018

Embracing innovation – this was the theme of the 21st International Riversymposium held in Sydney last October 14-18. Part of the annual conference is the Emerging Water Professionals Program (EWPP) which is tailored to support water professionals in the early part of their careers.

I was fortunate to be part of the EWPP batch for 2018. I had the pleasure of meeting and engaging with young water professionals from different parts of the world. The Program is designed to hone the skills of emerging water professionals through various activities embedded in the Riversymposium such as networking and listening to the stories of senior professionals in water and development. One of the highlights of my engagement with EWPP was to be involved in the Riversymposium’s Closing Ceremony where we, the emerging water professionals, reflected on our learnings and experiences throughout the conference and shared our collective vision for our rivers, society, and the world. Every year EWPP volunteers for the Closing Ceremony have the opportunity to tap their creativity and explore how best to present the group’s vision and learnings. This year, we decided to write a Letter to our Future Selves. This kind of letter is a unique way to put forth goals and aspirations for ourselves and the world we live in.

Together with the EWPP Lead Coordinator, Vanh Mixap, six EWPP volunteers shared ideas and envisioned the state of the world twelve years from now. As emerging water leaders, we dream of a world where the efforts and commitment of water leaders have led to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. We recognise that strong collaboration and teamwork among different stakeholders are keys to water security. As individuals, it is essential to continue learning, inspiring, and transforming.

The Letter to Our Future Selves serves as a motivational wake-up call to society, especially to us young professionals involved in water management. The Letter ignites an optimistic outlook amidst the prevailing vulnerable situation of the world under enormous social and environmental stress. To share our envisioned future in the Riversymposium was both an inspiring and reflective process. One of the EWPP Closing Ceremony volunteers, Jina Rabearisoa, expressed: “There is a community which is involved in the sustainability of water resources through protection of our rivers. Collaboration, communication, and exchange of ideas and best practices are what we need to sustain our environment for humankind and the generations to come.”

Written by Carmina Rivera

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