with 🎙️ Hasmik Barseghyan, President of the European Youth Parliament for Water, among other strategic roles at the World Water Quality Alliance, the World Energy Council, the International Secretariat for Water, or Woman in Climate and Energy.
💧 The EYPW aims to promote youth involvement in the water sector by increasing their awareness of water resource management issues and by fostering an understanding of citizenship and democracy.
What we covered:
🍏 How young voices like Camille Etienne, Luisa Neubauer, Leah Namugerwa, or Greta Thunberg lead a (green) revolution
🍏 How success can be defined as the point in time where the cause stays even if the leaders disappear
🍏 How young people have much to say if we ensure that their voices are heard
🍎 How young water professionals might not be numerous enough, which may result in missing human capital
💪 How COP26 may be a good occasion to tell the world how much leaders and countries value sustainable development
🍏 How ambition and “doing good” in the Water and Sanitation sector boils down to reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goal n°6
🍏 How you have to be unhappy to finally realize how happy you were
🍏 How Water may be used as a weapon in political or economic conflicts – and how human rights to Water in conflict zones should be embedded in political agreements
🍏 How initiatives like the Blue Peace Movement enable young people from the same river catchment to work together
🍏 How Water is more scarce than oil – even if we speak more about oil than Water.
🍏 How we need to find the right way to live with nature, to benefit from its positive health impact, effectiveness, and overall well-being increases
🍏 But also, building to last, passing the torch, the burden of climate change on women, human capital development, and much more!
🔥 … and of course, we concluded with the 𝙧𝙖𝙥𝙞𝙙 𝙛𝙞𝙧𝙚 𝙦𝙪𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨 🔥
➡️ Send your warm regards to Hasmik on LinkedIn
is on Linkedin ➡️
Infographic: Digital Water QualityLinkedIn-Infographic-Hasmik-Barseghyan-European-Youth-Water-Parliament
Table of contents
These are computer-generated, so expect some typos 🙂
Antoine Walter: Hi, welcome to the show. Hi,
Hasmik Barseghyan: and thank you for the invitation.
Antoine Walter: I can’t tell you how happy I am to have you on the show today. It’s a topic that we will be discussing today, which is really full of many interesting stuff to discuss. So I’m going to try to keep everything within the boundaries of a usual episode, but,
you know, I might be talking far too much, which is already the case right now.
Before we start, let’s start with our good old tradition. So with the postcard and you are in Erevan right now, so what can you tell us about your place or your country? There are
Hasmik Barseghyan: two things that I want to share with you. First of all, this is the taste of fruits. And right now is the season of apricot. And just come now in Armenia, you will taste the all types of apricots.
Like I am fond of this fruit and I haven’t found the same taste in elsewhere. Yeah. And the second stuff is that Armenia is a country of chess sport the chess. And there are many famous chess players and even the. Taught in the schools. So come to play chess in
Antoine Walter: Armenia. Yeah. Who is actually the best chess player in Armenia?
Is it still a Aronian or does it change? Yeah,
Hasmik Barseghyan: it is still a Levon Aronian and there are other players as well in the adolescent and the others.
Long long, long , long, long time ago, I had once one selection in the French team of chess players before they realized that I was just a terrible chess player, but I can say I have it somewhere in my resume.
I had one selection. So that’s why I know that they are very good Armenian chess players, actually.
You know, usually when I introduce my guest. I don’t need notes, but that’s not the case for you because there are so many different things in your path. I was fascinated. And I was wondering, when did you realize that you wanted to have a certain impact on environmental topics, even political topics?
What is your path?
Well, this is a long story as you can, but , well, the story is long, but the time, so it’s very short compared to that story. For me, water talking from water, what are part of our collective identity, a river or a lake reflects the life and the memory of any region. Water is the link that binds everyone?
So the priorities for water resources development, worldwide are many protecting water and protecting people from water. So besides social environmental emergencies, it is important to see the whole picture. You cannot take water separately. Water is every everywhere crossing from energy to health, from climate change to ecosystem services.
So our society is aware of that. Every sector benefits, if nature resources are managed in an efficient way, I’m not sure that societies are aware about it. So this interconnection of water, energy climate with all aspects of life inspires me the most.
Antoine Walter: So if our societies are not yet aware of all of that, how do you play a role in moving
this, this awareness forward?
Hasmik Barseghyan: Well with many actions. And while I will tell you the firms that have missions and work with with different with you, but different regions, different sectors. So one of them is my mission at the present at the European youth parliament for water, as well as I’m affiliated to number of international organizations.
Like what you’ve parliament for water international secretariat for water. UN Alliance. I’m also a member of the EU water. In energy, a, this is the word that you count sales, which Angela there’s program in Armenia women in climate with energy platform. Coming to climate, I’m officially representing Armenia this September’s you for climate driving ambition event in Milan, where we will work to shape the climate agenda for cop 26 and Preco 26 events.
So and so on. So there are different platforms. Yeah. Fortunately, they are very enthusiastic youth that you can rely on that work with them and it gives more and more inspiration.
Antoine Walter: So first I’m wondering how you back all of that within a day. So that sounds really a lot. And secondly, if I have to pick just one of them, can you tell something about the European youth parliament, what it is and what are your duties as the president?
Hasmik Barseghyan: So what around 20 years ago, the international secretary for water and solidarity go to Europe, founded the European parliament for water. The parliament aims to promote youth involvement in the water sector by increasing their awareness of what resource management issues and by fostering understanding of citizenship, democracy, and the department.
Building a collective voice of young people, supporting them to work together, to speak United and coherent. We are as you’ve concerns on Europe and international level. And the parliament also tends to build strong ties among young participants and between generations. The recent session of the parliament was the 15th session that took place in Russia in 2019.
It was a gathering over seven days for all 80 young people and experts and from 20 countries. So we explore together the pulse, the orientation of river basins as backbone of regional development. And are the, you’ve had the opportunity to learn about what makes issues and also opportunity for personal development for different activities and
well, we had different workshops, so we had the resulted concrete project proposals by our hue.
And in the end, the parliament has elected a new board to present their voice until the next session. And carry the message of collective commitment. So the new team consists of me represented from Armenia and two vice presidents. That’s Peter’s from middle lens and member of a shell of parliament and David Mindell from Ecuador and presenting Belgium.
Antoine Walter: And what are your duties as the president?
Hasmik Barseghyan: Well, every time, every session and every presidency sets its priorities for that session. So our priority is to raise youth voices and make sure that youth can appear, will appear on different platforms and we’ll will be considered as a stakeholder.
Antoine Walter: Talking of youth voices, it’s hard to those days to ignore that there is something happening.
many of us have heard for instance of Luisa Neubauer, some have heard of Leah Namugerwa and the me as a French, I’ve heard quite a lot about Camille Etienne and I think you would have to leave in a cave just to ignore a Greta Thunberg. And I’m just wondering, does this involvement of young people into sustainability topic, water, topic, energy topic, does it always need a face or can it be all the young people out there that.
Raise their hand, start talking with the neighbors, their parents with associated with anyone. What is the involvement of youth people? How should it look like if you want it to be effective?
Hasmik Barseghyan: If we need to face or not, the answer can be yes and no. Yes, because those people that’s faces are inspiring.
Others, other youth groups, local youth global personalities. And not only you have experts as well, but we can consider that it was successful when the movement stays without the face so the people that you mentioned, these are successful cases, then that we can forget the name of the initiator, but we always remember the initiative.
Like it is the case for Fridays, for future and the other initiative. So when we have this one, the initiative stays without the face. It is a success, it becomes the ownership of all enthusiastic people.
Antoine Walter: The thing in common with all these, this faces. Of course, they talk about sustainability topics, but if you look a bit deeper into it, it’s often carbon emissions, energy topics.
Those are very important topics. Don’t get me wrong. But with my own lenses, I’m waiting for the water ambassador, which is going to drive. Water awareness forward. Do you think that water topics are valued out there at the level where they should, considering the challenges that we face in that sector?
Hasmik Barseghyan: Valuing Water is a very interesting topic I can say. So what is value in water? It describes the qualities we choose to guide our relationship with. The manner in which we treat water and our interaction with it in a specific context. So we need to work on fostering this relationship with water in order to encourage greater prioritization.
And the protection of fresh water is fresh water sources, diverse lakes and water stored underground, et cetera, as well as that management of water. If citizens better understand this relationship, they will participate more and join efforts to solve common challenge. So here we have a key word. There is
communication communication with citizens with decision-makers academia businesses in all sectors in general.
So whenever we speak about communication global cooperation, we need to acknowledge young people’s capacity for multicultural understanding and the ability to unite for common global goals and to build resilience to global challenges. So young people are the actors of change. And are like bridges and facilitators of dialogue between citizens and decision-makers and POLST experts from local and global levels.
Antoine Walter: does that mean that we would let me include myself in young people and that that’s all that hope we have a different way to communicate these stories to the word, or do we have to communicate them differently or do we have to communicate already for ourselves for the other young people so that everyone gets disorder?
You know, You know, it is important to make sure that wearing water on global or national levels corresponds to the understanding of valuing water or end-users level. We now easily not as a disconnection of perceptions between different stakeholders. So I think we need to work on that in different sectors to make sure that people understand and value water as much as possible.
Antoine Walter: But your gut feeling, I’m sorry to insist on that one. Your gut feeling on the value of water. I’ll tell you where I’m coming from.
You know, You know, there was this full COVID. I mean, I mean, of course, you know, you know, everybody knows that there was this full pandemic or you’re really living in a cave and you don’t know Greta Thunberg and you don’t do neither that there was a pandemic, but we discovered with this pandemic, for instance, that wastewater based epidemiology was a very good proxy to follow the various steps of the pandemic.
But when you had a news coverage around. Waste water based epidemiology. You had a lot of bad jokes about,
you know, you know, it’s smelly water, it’s pee, it’s poo. If you’re looking in a lab to a COVID sample, it’s serious. If you’re taking a wastewater sample and checking for COVID, then you know, it’s almost, what are the fresh from the toilets.
I had this intangible feeling that the general perception about water is, is not yet to the same level of understanding. Than it is in, you know, there are risks. If you’re telling me you disagree with that, I move on. It’s just, that’s, that’s a perception. It’s very subject.
Hasmik Barseghyan: You know, when do you realize that you are, you were happy.
When do you realize it? You realize when you are unhappy. In that case, you realize that previously you were happy. It’s the same with water. You realize better the value water when it is polluted, or when you have problems with water, when it is there you are like, okay, it’s it’s there. It helps in your life near your everyday life.
Do you not don’t have problems. You don’t realize the value of it. So, um, to have a complete understanding of the problems related to water, we need to consider the transfers are all of water, water is passing for all the, all the sectors. So it means also to better venue in water, in the sustainable development.
Cause such as the role of water for resilience and sustainable citizen communities, one of them, for example, Well, desertification, you know, is a challenge for citizens and young people because they are forced to leave when they leave rural areas, it puts pressure on the cities in the Eastern Europe or in the Northern Africa.
It is like a vicious cycle there’s communities without good quality water, or without that access to sanitation are not developing young. People are living and young people are living and because of it, the territories are not developed. So you can think this example is not sorry, love on for the communities in the European union, but you know, we talk about brain drain and demography changes.
So people will come young. People also will come to the areas where there is antebellum, where there are all the conditions to live on the, not to think about the needs that relates to water or water costs. Yeah. So the equal development for me, Ms. Reconnecting citizens, young people to their territories, to rave for the feeling of ownership so they can participate in development of their country and community.
Antoine Walter: that’s a brilliant answer to a sub average question. So, so congrats. I really love your taking if I recall, right? The, the statistics from the UN sustainable development goals, it’s about 700 million people that might be displaced because of water topics. So, so that is what we are facing. If we don’t
Hasmik Barseghyan: act.
Antoine Walter: You shortly alluded to water quality. I know that that is one of your causes. And I was wondering what are the threats that we’re facing in terms of water quality? What, what has changed that we need now to act on water quality and what is our role and what are the initiatives that we can do to act on water quality?
Hasmik Barseghyan: Well, you mentioned too, one of the problems related to water quality right now, I will tell you a statistic, which is the more shocking. It is equally shocking to say like that. What you said according to UNICEF each day, nearly 1000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation weighted DRL diseases.
It is shocking statistics and it makes access to clean water and sanitation. One of the most urgent, sustainable development goals. While what are called T has been improving in the developing world in the last year. The water pollution trend in the developing world is worsening emerging. Chemical pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides are posing new risks for human challenges in water treatment, and the effect of poor water quality especially affect the poor.
We meet children and the children and young and are inheriting the consequences. Today’s water, climate and environmental problems crisis, which impact their not only their health, but also the chances of living in a peaceful fair world. So we young people, young generation specially, and inheriting the responsibility to find solutions in the future.
So we therefore need to adopt more inclusive approaches and involve this most vulnerable groups in the formulation of solutions. Consider them as social providers for local challenges and involve. That means you’re making more water. If you ask me about the initiatives, I can tell you to you should, but if you ask,
Antoine Walter: please, I’d be glad to hear about.
Hasmik Barseghyan: Yeah. So I have two examples of initiatives on global level to share with you about what quality. So since October, 2020, the European parliament for water has joined the World Water Quality Alliance, the WW QA. The WWQA is a global expert network launched by the United nations environment program and the joint research center at the European commission.
And. That WQA brings together a wide range of expertise in fields of water quality the science technology, innovation, governors, and diplomacy to seek solutions, to translate science or what to call it, the interaction. So the parliament is involved in the dub WK as core team member of the social engagement platform.
In this framework, we try to create a mutual trust between all social sectors. Leading to a broad awareness of global local water issues. The more concretely the social engagement platform encourages and supports the development of local water. A working platform, bringing together prior stakeholders, the local level, and who wish to engage on concrete issues related to water quality in their community.
So the communities and the organizations, uh, working in a city, in a town in the village, aren’t encouraged to join this social engagement plan. The other initiative is again related with . So the parliament together with the wet skills foundation have initiated the new youth engagement work stream on the Wowk to further increase youth involvement in this multi-stakeholder platform.
And we aim to. Yeah, different aims one than it is to create impact on water calls to you through youth designed and led local and global community actions, and also to make the sector more attractive for youth to study and to work in. So I encourage youth led organizations, working for water, climate environment to join the platform, to make youth voices stronger.
Antoine Walter: Very impressive initiatives about the last one. Let me just ask you something. If we need to make the sector more attractive, is it because the water sector has a lack of attractiveness, or how did you feel the need to push?
Hasmik Barseghyan: Yes, actually we are losing young professionals in water sector and everywhere those professionals are going to other sectors.
The reasons are different. But we need to consider the role of water in the jobs and the job creation in this field to find out more details. I encourage our listeners to check the report that you report on water and jobs of taking the 2016. So to give you an idea how the jobs and water is Linked. So today’s youth will, you know, they’ll make up the majority of the labor force over the coming decades and their education skills and help collectively known as human capital will be the most direct determinants of a country’s future income growth.
So investing in young people’s human capital for education can lead to per capita GDP growth of up to 1.7% per year. According to the UN. So young people are key actors in job market and also collectors in raising awareness, run educational programs, promoting sustainable lifestyles, conserving water, nature, supporting renewable energy, adopting the amount of friendly practices and so on and so on.
So young people are the water users nowadays. I think the future. So educating them, engaging them is a excellent opportunity to share information while with family and peers. And also it provides space for cultural exchange of cultural change as well in the water management practices in that society.
Antoine Walter: So you’ve addressed many positive ways to look at it as the actions that we can ignite that, the general international community can ignite.
Let’s look a bit, if you will at the, not negative, but a bit more restrictive side of that same coin, which is regulation. I mean, we are in the market, right. Heavily regulated for good reasons. I mean, environmental regulations this is driver driver of innovation driver of moving the full awareness forward.
But I’m wondering what is here, the, the role that, that the police is and that political action can play in terms of creating the path leveling the place. Through regulation. Is it a field where you’re also involved as after all a parliament, the European youth parliament, or is it something where you need to have almost lobby action to see some new stuff regulated?
And so let me do a four in one question. What is the right level to regulate? All of that? Is it local? Is it’s Countrywide. Is it continent wide? Is it worldwide? What’s your.
Hasmik Barseghyan: Well, thank you for this broad and interesting. Yeah, you can, you, uh, are not the don’t want to enter into politics, you know, and there is a fine line that separates us from the politics.
So I would like to address the, um, the question from the other perspective, from the perspective that is not so much. Discussed it is what it is discussed, but not so so much, especially in the society. It is the role of water for peace and whether all of water diplomacy. So European youth are sending for peace, environmental, sustainability, and humanitarian principles in all parts of the world.
So beyond political boundaries in the European union, In the larger Europe, so access to water and sanitation considering human rights, you know, and we stand for thin-walled critic, water governance, and we want to see that it is reflected in the policies. Well, one of our concerns is the AEs, the topic of water, peace and security.
You know, that there are several recommendations by the international institutions, such as the Genever list of principles on the protection of structure. For example, during army or other kinds of conflicts. But however, in practice, we see that there are some limitations saving the environment in is the last thing in priority list of the sides of armed conflict.
For example, during the recent war in my country, in my region, burning of the forest of the Nagorno-Karabakh, but chemical phosphorus weapons was evident and that remain in the land for a long time and have an impact on ground water sources. So the population of the conflict zone and their environment, no, they get the heaviest flow.
So sustainable are one of the key messages as sustainable water, resources management, and protecting the environment should be one of the top priorities. Even during time of conflict, beyond policy. So cooperation between people from the, you know, from same river catchment area, neighboring countries, all municipalities is of utmost importance, but in some cases, water is used as a weapon, as a tool to put pressure on the other side, for example, an ex an example is one, an upstream country is building several waters.
And it’s this significantly decreases what the flow to put political and economic pressure on the downstream country. There are example in Europe, everywhere. Another example, well is when, what are the infrastructures? Hydropower plants, dams, drinking, water supply, sewage and irrigation systems are deliberately targeted into aiming to expel the population the conflicts are and to gain military advantage.
It was the case in the army. Ukraine in Nagorno-Karabakh in the SaaS applications. When the key infrastructures are several damage from regular bombardment and the population was left without basic conditions. And they were forced to seek refuge in large groups in basements, within confined spaces. And especially in, during COVID it’s pred more.
So another major concern is to protect water sources. And what about this from deliberate pollution or from the risk of stopping what to supply for agriculture use? This is also a way to use the water as a weapon. It is bad that we see this kind of cases, but they exist. And it is like very, very sad to say that again.
I will come to few examples. We have. Ethnic cleansing can hate speech towards the population of Palestine in the middle east, on the garner car by himself vacations, years, years before and during the armed conflicts. So the,human rights to water of people in the conflict zone should be considered and embedded in the political agreements.
This is very, very important beyond. And no where the intervention of international organizations can pass very close to the fine line of politics. Youth organizations are more independent and can be involved in the implementation of tools in Europe and beyond. So here is important. The reinforcement of multi-lateralism by joining all our efforts and using water for peace will help.
It will help to increasing the stability. I can talk about what his topics for hours. So,
Antoine Walter: yeah, please do so. Yeah,
Hasmik Barseghyan: and actually we see European European water as leaders, facilitating dialogue and communication on sensitive topics and taboos and as pioneers in preventing future conflicts. So let’s keep water as an element to push towards peace
and young professionals can be like bridges for dialogue or blessing dial like between governments and it should be considered a great opportunity. There are several grassroots projects by Asian. You have European Armenian job that are devoted to building peace and mutual understanding. I just, I encourage you to check the recent article for together with Peter Wisnewski parliament delegates from Russia.
It is published in a new publication of the Geneva Water Hub so I encourage you to check and, uh, yeah, there are several examples there, but if you ask me, what is my favorite example, I can tell you.
Antoine Walter: Well, let me ask you, what’s your favorite examples? Yeah,
Hasmik Barseghyan: so, uh, the members are of our water parliament have a number of initiatives for light.
One of my favorite initiative is the blue peace movement. Thanks to this movement. Uh, young people of the same river pacing are able to better communicate and they work together on the assessment of the blue peace index in there early we’re basing. So it helps to get. Like from one river basic if Campbell river based enough Quora RX, or can be the river basin shelled or Columbia river.
So we have Blue Peace movements in all parts of the world. From, from north America to central Asia, everywhere. And through blue peace, young people are able to express their commitments to water and fees, participating in a way to political decision-making and contribute to more equitable and peaceful society.
Antoine Walter: It’s very interesting. The angle you have here, because we hear lots about water wars, how water may be a driver to wars, and you come with the full opposite angle, which is water as a vector for peace. And that reminds me of a discussion I had with Paul O’Callaghan on that microphone. Because he was mentioning as the core director of brave blue word on Netflix, that he wanted to move away from the doom and gloom stories around water and to instead present examples of what’s happening out there in the world with other positive initiatives.
And it’s true. In the era of social media, not to blame social media at all, but we have this natural inclination in our brains to be much more attracted to negative stories, to remember much more, what’s going wrong than what’s going in the right direction. And you mentioned at the very beginning of our discussion, how important it is to tell.
The right stories and to communicate better around water, how important for you is it to build these positive stories around this common good. We all share, which is water.
Hasmik Barseghyan: Well, you know, this examples of, um, conflicts, war peace. It reminds me in the words of Koffi Anan that he expressed in 2001. First competition for fresh water may well become a source of conflict and wars in the future.
So water can be a fuel for wars and conflicts, and it is more scarce than oil, but we speak more about oil than about water, even though the link between quadrant conflict is never direct and straightforward. Water and climate change are pretty small. And at the end of the day, we are all in the same portion.
Can we swim in this ocean? We need to decide now with our actions and activities,
Antoine Walter: that’s a very good way to look at it. I’m wondering, you know, I mentioned this a joke. People might’ve realized it was COVID. I guess everybody has, we are hopefully tending to the end of this COVID era. So there is hopefully a new word starting anytime soon.
My question here is, do you think there will be a new word or is it a return to the, oldway of doing things? And I had guests on that microphone that shared that maybe the water sector was a bit too resilient. It’s didn’t fail during the pandemic. So nobody realized a bit, what you said before is that you have to be unhappy to realize you’re happy and maybe we did too good as a service to the people.
So they didn’t realize how important water was, because it just never got disrupted. So do you think this post COVID era is an opportunity? And if yes, what is the kind of opportunity that you would see that we could build in this new way?
Hasmik Barseghyan: Yeah, this is very interesting questions. Thank you very much.
Antwan is a question to reflect more about you’re right. I agree with the point that water sector was more resilient. I think a lot of sectors relied on water and a dependent week itself relied on water because the simple example that you just need to wash your hands to be protected from COVID. This is very, very simple.
Uh, but I want to hope that the new normal, the new normal will not continue to make the same mistakes that you did before. For me, an example in exam or a checkpoint is the COP 26 events in November. And during this, this exam, we will see how the countries and the organizations and the private sector. How much they have realized the weight of problems and, uh, the importance of nature in the development.
They need to change all their, all the mindset, the ball to development, and to adopt new products and new perceptions of what is growth for them is growth. Just a percentage of GDP. Is the growth better environment is the growth, the health of population. What is the growth for countries and for organizations?
So I’m waiting for this November’s event, this exam of November
Will you be at this
Antoine Walter: COP26?.
Hasmik Barseghyan: I hope so. Oh, I have, uh, some projects and we are working on the direction. It is in my plants and I hope that it will take place offline and.
Antoine Walter: So the big return to the physical events, so that that’s going to be a, a change again. So that’s the new word.
Hasmik Barseghyan: yes, yes. You know, in this case, as well, people realized that how important is to hug each other simple thing that they were banded to do, or, uh, the personal relationships or just working in the park. It was also banned in a, in many cases. Uh, so I hope that they will reevaluate and give a new value to their life.
And to the
Antoine Walter: future, talking of walking in the park, you mentioned before, how important it is that people get contact with lakes, rivers. Do you have a sense of, of what, what, what adults follow the verse? That is something that Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer repeated on the microphone for over an hour.
And it was fascinating all the way along. And he was citing some studies that show that there’s an economic value to bringing back water in cities, that it has been proven that for every dollar you invest in bringing back water in cities, you have a $4 return on investment. So it’s a very, very powerful return on investment.
Yet those urbanization topics around water again are not a priority. And the news it’s about shallow. We have less cars and more cycles. It’s not so much about that river, which is just flowing underneath the city shall come back in the center of city service so that people get the sense of what water does for our community is how do we tell again that story?
And do you think that is also an important elements to bring in the center of the attention?
Hasmik Barseghyan: Sure it is very, very, very important. And we need to find the right way to live with nature. Not with the front-line with nature, but with nature in nature, we need to learn that and to make our cities totally more smart, but also more linked, more, more integrated to the environment.
And in that case, it will impact our health impact our wellbeing, and it’s gonna improve our, our effective effectiveness in the work. And. Yeah, and we will have less aggressive, uh, less aggression and less conflict. I
Antoine Walter: hope it’s a topic which we’ve discussed as sponge cities, for instance, that are really transparent to the environment or something I discussed with Dennis Mudd recently around biomimicry, how we can be inspired and learn from nature.
Treat our water and the water cycle as it always was through history. But, but somehow is part of, of the human arrogance, if I may say so, we can do so much thanks to technique that we sometimes do it just because we can do it. And we forget that nature itself has. Millions of years of R and D and we can leverage , but that is a vast topic.
And I don’t want to sidetrack you too much here, but I guess those are kind of the topics that are discussed in events, like the cop 26. So somehow it is linked a question regarding these big events. If I get it right, your term as president of the European youth, parliament for water will be coming to an end.
For it. Is that the case? And if yes, what’s next for you?
Hasmik Barseghyan: Well, like you all right. We can talk for hours about this desktop pics of water, interconnection of water and climate and environment. And the, yeah, just short comment about it in reality of the solutions are not so complicated. One of the solutions for climate change is just having more trees and more forests.
It sounds very simple, but it is proved by science, but unfortunately we see that this is less reflected in the policies and the politics, but this is very simple. We need to have more forest and forest field bring their ecosystems and the animals and they have everything
Antoine Walter: just reflecting what you just said.
It sounds like you knew a placebo effect. If we do something and if we run around and we say, Hey, we have done something. So it must become better. Whereas we are passive. If we say we need more trees, you plant and tree and you see it, you watch it grow and it’s going to grow for decades. So as a human, yeah.
Again, it’s a human arrogance. It’s like I better run around and do stuff. And no matter if it’s efficient or not, my placebo effect tells me I’m doing something, whereas you’re fully right. The solution is to plant trees to stop acidifying the ocean is too. I mean, that was simple stuff. It’s just, if we stop pushing the boundaries of nature, well, nature is going to solve it itself.
And we have to realize that we are. Working together to save the planet? No, the planet is not going to die. The planet is absolutely fine. The planet will live without humans and have a wonderful life, but we are saving ourselves. If we don’t do something now, the one that will suffer are only the humans. It’s all about this arrogance and I get it and myself and what an engineer, I’ve learned how to do the ins and outs of complex systems.
And I’d love to solve everything with the complex systems, but sometimes if it’s dead simple, it’s much better. So yeah. Fully agree with what you said.
Hasmik Barseghyan: Yeah. I also fully agree with what you said about the, about saving ourselves. That’s completely true. It’s about saving ourselves planet can save himself there.
You felt? Yeah. Um, coming back to work in general determined last two or three years, it depends on the time it lasts until the next session is organized and the, it was supposed to be organized this year, but yeah, you know, did you cooperate and the district, this jurisdictions, it wasn’t possible. And I think it will be next here.
My ambition was to. And I think the ambition, the ambition actually of the whole presidency was to, to leave work that the other presidency can take and build upon it and to put all, all my capacities or my networks to use all of that, to create something that the others that other youth can build upon it.
I hope. We have created something that the, the next presence we can work on and the make the, the voice of youth stronger and stronger from different platforms. As for my personal, for my professional development, of course, I will continue this, that they work, you know, that there are, uh, several other platforms that I’m involved and my ambition and I, I would like to enter in a European institution.
In a decision making bodies where I can have more impact than the, my activities and my, uh, professional work can have more impact. And, um, especially that there are already connections and network and understanding of society. And then you. When there is this connection with the youth and the society, it is much easier to bring this to the tables.
And of course there are several other topics that I’m engaged. And, um, when I start something I want to pass it to someone else. Even though it is my project, but I, then I want to pass it to someone else that it can grow in style. The project can grow himself. As I told you a few minutes ago, the success is when we don’t have faced.
When we have projects, we have initiatives. So the aim,
Antoine Walter: that’s really a nice philosophy. And it’s impressive. I have to say regarding the other platforms, you just alluded to that. There’s a last one we’d like to have. Your thoughts on it and to share a bit about it. It’s, um, the woman in climate and energy.
And I’m sorry about that. Because every time I have a woman, as a guest, I have to insist on, on the fact that it’s a woman. I don’t do it with the men, which is unfair. We, you think of it, but I keep repeating that statistic in the water sector, 83% of the professionals are made. So there’s probably a problem somewhere.
If you consider that the talent is something about 50 50, So, what is your implication into this? Um, there’s a woman in climate and energy and, uh, what can we do to improve this gender parity?
Hasmik Barseghyan: Well, do you know that men and women are impacted differently by climate change and climate change places, a greater burden on women because of the social culture, roles and responsibilities that women.
Well, we now are the primary food producers and providers of water and energy for their family. Therefore they have greater responsibility for family and community welfare. On the other hand, global warming is one of the leading causes and creative contributors to work hunger, malnutrition, exposure, to disease and declining access to water and climate change urges people to migrate.
Uh, UN figures indicate that 80% of people displaced by climate change are women, here as well. We see that women are more vulnerable and safeguarding the human rights of people whose lives are most negatively affected such as women and children. Of course, the key priority globally. Women are more likely to experience poverty and to have less social economy power.
This makes it difficult to recover from disasters, which affect infrastructure, jobs, and housing and gender inequality, restricts women’s capacity and potential to be actors climate action. So this gender inequalities include for example, access to and control over resources, access to education, information, and equal rights and access to decision making process.
This define that thing and men can do and cannot do in a particular context related to climate change or water or energy. So if climate change impacts everywhere and, uh, all over the developing world and including Armenian significant amount of woman’s time is spent carrying water or managing gets used in the households for domestic duties, the simple things, preparing meals, thingy.
Etc. So with women in climate energy, we advocate for women. We advocate for sustainable living and transformation to 90% well energy through our actions for our activities, which are led 14 trainings, passive building awareness, raising also mentoring for call, fit community and accelerate progress towards.
I need to mention that the values and the projects that the organization carries, concern women and man, not all women. So that can be like clear. I just think about this topic for hours. Maybe there is a project. That’s the organizations, caring belt is the green scales. Where we work with school children to rise their knowledge, to build their knowledge on energy efficiency, topic on renewable energy for peak.
And, um, and they have already done energy measurements of energy efficiency level. Yeah. So like that in their school, in their community and several schools have also received the grant. Funding for the implementation of those measures. So, uh, yeah, it is very important too, to work with the communities because we are speaking about society.
They are, there is no gender, uh, frontline
Antoine Walter: there. And if people listening to that one to help you in that endeavor, how can they participate?
Hasmik Barseghyan: Wow. You can go find us on different platforms. During this interview. I have mentioned several platforms that you. Find us on Facebook or on LinkedIn. Well, LinkedIn platform, social media platform, you know, that, does this make more, this makes things easier.
Now the social media platforms for, as for the parliament work and the youth in both her work, you can find more information about the work of youth in different continents through our website, this youth for water.org. I encourage you to join. You’ll be out together. We will have a stronger, we will be
Antoine Walter: stronger.
Or the links that you just gave will be in the, in the show notes. So, um, that we have a direct access to it. Well, that’s it for this deep dive. If it’s fine with you, I propose you to switch to the rapid fire questions.
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Rapid fire questions:
Antoine Walter: So in this, in this last section there, the rules are pretty simple. I tried to keep the other questions short and you have to keep the answers short and I’m always the one cheating inside tracking. So, so don’t worry. My first question is what is the most exciting project you’ve been working on and why?
Hasmik Barseghyan: Uh, it says bloopers index workshop preparation in Armenia, because it’s about communication. Cooperation.
Antoine Walter: What is your favorite part of your current job to
Hasmik Barseghyan: being connected with many people? Because they give me an idea.
Antoine Walter: Did that change during this dispensation time? Or is it still the same? If you’re on a,
Hasmik Barseghyan: I try to, to be connected with them online, with video calls and everything and all the ways possible.
Antoine Walter: What is the trend to watch out for in the water industry?
Hasmik Barseghyan: Um, there are different trends, human capital development and digitalization are
Antoine Walter: those two linked
Hasmik Barseghyan: in a way they are linked. I recommend to watch them separately first and they’ll link.
Antoine Walter: What’s the thing you care about the most when you’re working on a new project and what is the one you care the least?
Hasmik Barseghyan: Well, the most is the sustainable impact and the list. Well, you may laugh, laugh, but the list is my personal financial benefits to the list.
Antoine Walter: Come on you, you you’re breaking all my preconceptions about people involved in almost the political world. I thought you were doing everything, but the common good.
And you were making lots of money for yourself. Obviously people don’t see my face when they listen to that. I’m joking when I’m saying that so,
Hasmik Barseghyan: well, I’m sorry. I’m here to break the stereotypes. I’m here for that. It’s my aim.
Antoine Walter: Do you have sources to recommend, to keep up with the water and wastewater market trends
Hasmik Barseghyan: they have already mentioned is you for water, that our platform, we have an initiative butterfly effect that you can subscribe to the newsletter and they received the news about what the sector and the opportunities for you.
Other otherwise are like the famous platforms, Eva or iwi.
Antoine Walter: Last question. Would you have someone to recommend that I should definitely have on that microphone to, to follow on your steps?
Hasmik Barseghyan: Wow. Um, I have a long list for that, you know, uh, maybe all the youth of our, you foster parliaments, you can contact all of them.
I truly appreciate the work that other youth on other continents and everywhere communities are doing truly appreciate their work. And I would like to, I would like to see their work highlighted. Then the more discussed on this kind of platforms as yours, one of the might admiration is what actually prove up from central Asian.
You for water from Latin America. From Columbia, uh, in Latin America, one from Peru, from Armenia Novarica to DeAnn Deanna from Europe. Peter’s from Netherlands and maybe Flavia Margo from France, you Catalina from all. Dova not yet Rebecca from Belgium, follow from it, either from rash or other stuff from Bulgaria.
So there are many names and I will get the
Antoine Walter: message.
Hasmik Barseghyan: I will give you their contact of the, yeah, I think they will be very happy to share the story
Antoine Walter: with you. Well, it has made, has been a pleasure, so many topics where I would say a week. Discuss another two hours, but I have to be conscious of your time. You, you listed all your organization’s roles and I still don’t get how you pack all of that in a day.
So if you’re on top of that, you have a crazy French guy raising you. Tons of questions. You just cannot make it. So I’m going to leave you with the, the rest of your day. And thanks for sharing all these insights with our audience. Yeah, hopefully talk to you soon. Thank
Hasmik Barseghyan: you very much for the invitation and fun.
It was the peak pleasure for me to have this exchange with you and this conversation. And I hope that we’ll meet soon in person.
Antoine Walter: Maybe a cup 26, who knows.
Hasmik Barseghyan: Thanks for listening to don’t waste water. This podcast was brought to you by GF piping systems. Loved this episode, head over to apple podcast, to subscribe rate, and leave a review. See you next time.