European Youth Water Parliament,
Youth for Water and Democracy in the Europe of Transition

Target group:

Motivated, intelligent youth leaders (age 16-18) from European countries in transition - youth and youth trainers with high leadership potential and specific interests in water and sanitation sector and democratic development.

Project sponsors:

The Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation
Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, Geneva
Municipality of Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

Project summary:

The European Youth Water Parliament, Bulgaria 2003 will bring together the efforts of youth, local authority, school authorities and NGOs in the municipality of Stara Zagora on one hand, as well as a number of partners from developed world and European countries in transition on the other, in the process of raising youth leaders’ awareness for the essential need of democratic tools in strategic decision-making in water and sanitation sector. Youth delegations will gather in Stara Zagora Spa resort for the Parliament and the Feast from 1 Sep. to 7 Sep. 2003.

A model distance youth leaders’ participatory training program will be implemented as a starting point for ‘learning by doing’ and ‘learning by sharing’ strategy applied via a Snap Shot Survey of water management practices.

The project will make a real step to raise youth awareness for active civil position and participation and foster youth cooperation among youth water and sanitation groups from countries in transition and Western Europe.



The project could be considered a follow-up of a number of initiatives, surveys and campaigns in water and sanitation sector implemented by a group of young people, volunteers of Earth Forever Foundation, in collaboration with NGO International Secretariat for Water, Quebec and NGO Solidarity Water Europe, Strasbourg and their network of youth and water and sanitation associations and schools from all over Europe; as well as local partners of Earth Forever: Municipal Administration and Municipal Council of Stara Zagora and Romain Rolland Language School, Stara Zagora.
The concrete idea has been proposed by Raymond Jost, President of International Secretariat for Water, Quebec, Diana Iskreva, Executive Director of Earth Forever Foundation and Christine Bismuth, Executive Director of Solidarity Water Europe. The project has been designed with the support and valuable inputs of Dr. Evgeniy Zhelev, Mayor of Stara Zagora; Mrs. Mariana Stoilova, Head of Strategic Development and European Integration, Municipality of Stara Zagora; Mr. Stefan Georgiev, Executive Director of Water Supply and Sanitation Ltd., Stara Zagora; Mrs. Vanya Sotirova, Headmaster Romain Rolland Language School, Stara Zagora; Ms. Maria Zheleva, President, First European Youth Water Parliament, Espalion and young volunteers of Earth Forever.
The youth volunteers of Earth Forever Foundation has shown enormous interest and creativity working for water and sanitation. The group has established working relationships with a number of youth groups, in the context of the network of Solidarity Water Europe, and participated in First (France, 1999) and Second (Hungary, 2000) Youth Water Parliaments. A member of the youth Bulgarian delegation – Ms. Maria Zheleva, has been elected a President of the First Parliament. The activities of the Youth Municipal Water Council, Stara Zagora has been presented at the Second World Water Forum, The Hague, 2000 and attracted the personal attention of Prince Willem of Orange, Mr. Prodi, Mrs. Mitetrand, Mr. Gorbachov, etc.
The results of the youth water and sanitation projects implemented by Earth Forever Foundation have been presented at three venues at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, 2002, with great success.
Earth Forever is a partner of Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), Geneva. The organisation was a key player for CEE in the preparation and implementation of Vision 21, Water for People. This was a genuine exercise involving common efforts of institutions and people for integrated water management and supports the right of participation of all stakeholders in decision-making in water and sanitation sector. At the moment Earth Forever serves as a regional secretariat of WSSCC for the countries in transition.

Concrete results and impacts expected by the end of the project

* WebSite in Bulgarian, English and French as tools for coordination, cooperation, communication, networking for youth leaders in water and sanitation sector;

* Snap Shot Surveys involving youth groups from countries in transition on river basin management practices in the Europe of transition;
* Internet Forum on water and sanitation management among youth water leaders of SEE network with assay and poster contests and awards (French and English);

* European Youth Water Parliament on democratic tools in river basin management strategic decision-making (3 days) with 60 participants from European countries in transition; organized in active intercollaboration of SEE, WSSCC, Municipal Council and the Language School;

* Youth Water Feast (3 days) 60 participants from European countries in transition; organized with the active intercollaboration of SEE, WSSCC, Municipal Council and the Language School with exhibitions, hearings, special evenings, river bed clean-up, historical and cultural events;

* 2 booklets (Bulgarian, English, French, 500 copies each), 3 posters (500 copies each), 1 video; a number of press conferences.


Activity 1 : Identification of participants

Coordination network will be established among all the participants in the project.
WebSite of the project will be designed and built; e-forum of participants will be started.
The detailed basis and rules will be set for the successful collaboration and networking; new interested groups and NGOs in the countries of transition and EU will be contacted and involved to set a broad base for cooperation and communication during the project and further. International consultant of SEE will be involved. National and local media will be informed for the start-up of the project.


* WebSite of the project; it will be enriched and maintained in the future; and will serve as a basic communication and networking tool;

* press-conferences to present the project goals and planned activities;

* e-forum for participants will be designed and started, to facilitate all the ‘non-formal’ discussions and exchange of ideas.

Activity 2 : Snap Shot Survey on river basin practices in decision-making in the Europe of transition

The youth participants and their trainers will design and conduct a survey on water and sanitation management democratic practices. By its methodology this is going to be a model distance participatory training. In this process the youth and their trainers will work together, using new high information technologies, exchanging with their peers, within the network of Solidarity Water Europe and WSSCC. The 3 youth groups will be democratically selected as winners during the event, and each will be provided with 500 EUR to disseminate the results of their survey.
This process will allow the youth leaders to learn by doing and participation; it will built capacity, as well as bases for better understanding, fruitful cooperation and friendship among participants.
Competition, involving European youth, for best water and sanitation management essay and water and sanitation management poster will be designed and conducted via the WebSite of the project (languages: English and French). 3 best assays and three best posters will be awarded and published to be disseminated during the European Youth Water Parliament.
Youth Water Management Forum, via the WebSite of the project, will be designed and maintained to better prepare all the potential youth participants for the European Youth Water Parliament.
This is a key practical activity that ensures hands-on participation and full understanding of public participation in decision-making. The participants will start real cooperation and exchange with peer groups of different nationalities. This phase will be a logical connection to the next major activity of the project.


* a booklet (in Bulgarian, French, English, 500 copies) depicting the results of the Snap Shot survey on water and sanitation management practices in the represented countries of transition, focussed on public participation in strategic decision-making in the represented river basins;

* a booklet, 3 best water and sanitation management assays written by teenagers chosen via competitive process published in French and English (500 copies);

* 3 best posters designed by teenagers chosen via a competitive process and published in (500 copies each);

* Youth Water Management Forum maintained via the WebSite of the project;

* press conference to present the results of the Survey and further actions to be undertaken by the project.

Activity 3 : European Youth Water Parliament, Youth for Water and Democracy in Europe

The youth and youth trainers involved in the previous phases of the project will be able to meet in person to present results of survey and various competitions, to exchange knowledge and experience, to plan future common projects and actions.
This will be the major event of the project involving youth and youth leaders and water and sanitation professionals. The major actor in the process of organization will be Solidarity Water Europe via its network of youth groups working for public participation in water and sanitation decision-making.
The event will consist of various parallel activities which will provide an opportunity for the participants to learn more about water and sanitation management legislation and practices in Bulgaria, but also in other European countries; to learn more about each others traditions, languages, cultures; to meet their peers from other countries that they have been in contact via the WebSite and e-forum of the project; to organize fun activities in their free time; to meet old friends and find new friends forever.
The core activity of the event will be the Parliament (3 days) with official speeches, reports and papers for water and sanitation management and public participation in strategic water and sanitation management decision-making with examples from Bulgaria and other European countries. For 3 other days there will be a Youth Water Feast with an exhibition of the posters and assays contests that would have happened earlier during this project; the brochure with awarded assays and awarded posters will be disseminated; evening of the nations will be organized which is traditional for SEE fora; competition of drawing on T-shirt and sales will be organized in the central city garden of Stara Zagora; clean-up event along the Bedechka River will be organized; tour to Stara Zagora Spa Resort will be organized with historical overview of ancient Roman hot mineral water and sanitation in usage from 3 century BC to nowadays; a video show evening to present videos on public participation in water and sanitation decision-making produced by the youth groups will be organized.
During the event Municipal Council of Stara Zagora and Romain Rolland Language School will very actively participate, and support Earth Forever and SEE.


European Youth Round Table(3 days) will take place in Stara Zagora with the participation of 60 participants;
* Press conference;
* Youth Water Feast with a variety of parallel events will take place (3 days):
* Exhibition posters;
* Hearing assays;
* Evening of Nations;
* Drawing on T-shirts and sales;
* River clean-up.