27 June 2017

water Q&A

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The Water-Employment-Migration Nexus
27 June 2017

water Q&A by RevolveTeam

Vangelis Constantianos is sharing insights in the Water- Employment-Migration Nexus in the Mediterranean and MENA regions. Vangelis is the Executive Secretary of the Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med), a leading multistakeholder regional platform promoting integrated water resources management towards water security goals.

  • What is the link between Water Security, Youth Employment and Migration? How did you conclude on this nexus and how does it fit under the agenda of GWP-Med?

    There is a fundamental thread: less water – less jobs – more migration. In a water scarce region, with high unemployment rates, and under great migration challenges, the mix is explosive. Youth is a victim and a trigger of that explosion that we shall avoid. Immediate action, governed by a long-term vision, is a must. GWP-Med is a promoter of the much-needed positive change towards water security and sustainable development in the Mediterranean. Developing with partners the Water Security, Youth Employment and Migration Program is a key contribution to that.

  • What are the objectives of the Water Security, Youth Employment and Migration program? In what way do you hope to impact the youth employment situation in the MENA?

    We will work to address the low employability of youth in the MENA, including skills mismatch and gender imbalances. We will design and apply interdisciplinary curricula and training programs to advance employability, and we will enable entrepreneurship opportunities in water related jobs through mentoring and start-up funding. Contributing to the respective governance processes at regional and national level, we will assist introducing actionable strategies to tackle these pressing challenges. Awareness raising, dialogue across and engagement of stakeholders will be a key enabling component of the program.

  • What is your strategy to address this multifaceted challenge? Has it been easy to identify and engage partners to implement the project?

    Like with all burning developmental issues, solutions can come real only with wise leadership, wide partnership, integrated planning and sustained investment. A range of state and non-state entities across and beyond the MENA share similar comprehension of the issues and their solutions, and wish to engage in concert. The volume and complexity of the challenges demand a wide partnership. At this stage, we have introduced the concept to targeted regional and national potential partners and we are starting to build momentum. Our plan is to reach out in the coming months to international, regional and national institutions, migration and employment organisations, civil society academia, and of course interested financing partners, including the private sector. The program is built with support by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and GWP, and we would aim for labeling it under the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). A multifaceted program like this can only succeed through collaboration and joint efforts.

  • What are the greatest challenges you expect to face in the coming months?

    Focus of contents and envisaged solutions for the employment and migration challenges differ in the countries of the region. To be relevant and helpful, our national actions should be tailored accordingly. Furthermore, linking these with the water security agenda is not necessarily high in national priorities, since the tangibility and volume of benefits is not always evident. However, we see both the volume potential including through promoting new markets in Water-Energy-Food-Environment Nexus fields, and the quality element promoting a new water culture amongst youth and mainstreaming gender issues. Another important challenge is to quantify the expected tangible outcomes in a process that involves several intangibles which can only present impacts in the longer term. To ensure the effective investment of our own start-up resources, we will first launch a couple of pilot activities in targeted MENA countries to enhance our understanding and identify how our work can be of most help. At the same time, we will be working at assisting policy making and action planning at both regional and national levels.