Support the Swiss Finalist until the 10th August!

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize 2020 is carried out online! Despite the challenges that COVID-19 brought to all areas, 30 countries managed to pull out their national competitions and the selected projects are competing to win the international award.

Additionally to the prestigious prize, which will be designated as usual by the jury of international water experts, for the first time ever a finalist will be recognised with the People´s Choice Award, giving the audience the possibility to support their favourite projects. The interesting point about this award is that the winner could have the opportunity to visit the Stockholm World Water Week next year as a special guest, compensating for the cancelled event in 2020.
The Swiss finalist is Anna Sidonia Marugg, who conducted an excellent project researching on the presence of microplastics in alpine water systems. Support Anna Sidonia´s passion for science by voting for her amazing project!
You can see the Swiss entry here

Sponsors

The Swiss Junior Water Prize can be carried out thanks to the sponsorship of the following organisations.

Swiss Entry to the Stockholm Junior Water Prize 2020

Despite the cancellation of the Stockholm World Water Week 2020, the Stockholm Junior Water Prize 2020 will be carried out in a modified format. Most countries were able to pull out National Contests under the current challenging situation, and the finalists have already submitted their projects to be evaluated by the international jury. This year, after the jury evaluates the written projects, only a reduced number of finalists will be interviewed by the seven members of the jury using online platforms. The award ceremony will take place during the week of the 24th to 27th August 2020 and it will be broadcasted live.

A welcome addition to the contest are the finalists´ video presentations, or elevator pitches, which are now available on the SJWP Finalists´ platform, WaterTank. A “People´s Choice Award” is expected to be chosen by audience voting on the video presentations. The Swiss finalist Anna Sidonia Marugg made an attractive presentation of her project “First Evidence of Microplastics in the Waters of the Upper Engadine in Switzerland”

See Anna Sidonia Marugg´s project description and elevator pitch here

Sponsors

The Swiss Junior Water Prize can be carried out thanks to the sponsorship of the following organisations.

Skat Consulting Ltd.

Xlylem, Inc.

Contact

By interest to support the Swiss Junior Water Prize, please contact karla.schlie@swisstoilet.org or Sandra.Fuerst@swisswaterpartnership.ch

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Swiss Junior Water Prize 2020

Swiss Junior Water Prize 2020 - Anna Sidonia Marugg

Anna Sidonia Marugg from Zuoz (GB) wins the Swiss Junior Water Prize 2020

Bern (24th April 2020) – The national contest for young researchers, Swiss Youth in Science, celebrated its 54th edition with the participation of 136 finalists from 20 cantons. This year, the competition had to be conducted online, which meant a considerable challenge for the organisers as well as for the participants. The Swiss Junior Water Prize 2020 was granted to Anna Sidonia Marugg, a talented young student from the Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz (GR), for her work “Erstnachweis von Mikroplastik in den Gewässern des Oberengadins” a research on the presence of microplastics in alpine water systems, some of them considerably close to the water springs.

The awarded entry is a highly interdisciplinary project in collaboration with the University of Basel. Anna Sidonia used a LADI-trawl of her own manufacture to collect samples in different water bodies in Oberengadin, where data of microplastics are not available yet. She established 8 different collection sites and was able to collect microplastics from all of them. In the laboratory, she could divide her findings in 22 types of microplastics, which she then analysed using further parameters like size of the collected pieces, frequency of occurrence, distance of the sample site to the water spring, population density or land use for sports and leisure areas in the vicinity of the sample site. Her findings surprise in the variety of microplastics that can be found in places commonly regarded as idyllic untouched nature. Anna Sidonia´s self-constructed LADI-trawl proved to be light and portable enough to be used by one person in remote areas where the use of motorboats is not possible. This device has potential to be broadly used by schools.

The jury of Swiss Youth in Science acknowledged Anna Sidonia´s work the distinction “excellent” and commented with the following words “The work presented here by Anna Sidonia Marugg was a highly interdisciplinary project in collaboration with the University of Basel and the Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz and required a high degree of commitment, independence and a structured approach which was implemented with bravery. Data on microplastics in the alpine region are not yet available. This work makes an important contribution to generate scientifically sound knowledge concerning the quantity and occurrence of microplastics in the Alpine region.” (Original Text in German, translation from Karla Schlie)

See Anna Sidonia Marugg´s project presentation here (YouTube, German)

The summary of Anna Sidonia Marugg´s work can be found here (SJf, German)

About Swiss Junior Water Prize

The Swiss Junior Water Prize recognises young students between 15 and 20 years old, who have conducted outstanding school projects related to water and sanitation with proven environmental, scientific, social or technological significance. The winner is entitled to represent Switzerland in the international competition Stockholm Junior Water Prize. The Swiss Junior Water Prize is a joint effort of the Swiss Water Partnership and the Swiss Toilet Organisation, aiming to encourage Swiss Youth to grow an interest in water and sustainability issues.

Sponsors

The Swiss Junior Water Prize can be carried out thanks to the sponsorship of the following organisations.

Skat Consulting Ltd.

Xlylem, Inc.

A special recognition to VSA for their contribution to enhancing the visibility of the Swiss Junior Water Prize within the water sector.

Contact

By interest to support the Swiss Junior Water Prize, please contact karla.schlie@swisstoilet.org or Sandra.Fuerst@skat.ch

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Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

Postgraduate studies in Sustainable Water Resources at ETH Zurich - NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

Applications are now being accepted for the Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Sustainable Water Resources, a one year full time study and research program at the Institute of Environmental Engineering, ETH Zurich.

The MAS is designed to advance the knowledge of engineers, scientists, and water resources managers on sustainable water use in a changing world, preparing them to face the challenges of the future.

For further information, visit the MAS website, check out the MAS brochure, or write to darcy.molnar@ifu.baug.ethz.ch. The deadline for application is March 31, 2020 for a starting date of September 14, 2020. If you are interested in joining this unique program please start the application process now. I look forward to hearing from you!

Swiss Junior Water Prize: Sharing experiences with a new generation

Bern, 18th January 2020. Zamir Borojevic, Swiss Junior Water Prize 2019, shared the stage with Anna-Katharina Funk during the eliminatory workshop of Swiss Youth in Science (SYiS). Both Alumni shared their valuable experiences with a group of students participating in this year’s contest.

Every year, hundreds of students countrywide submit projects to participate in SYiS. Students who submitted projects to the national contest last October gathered on 18th January in Bern for the eliminatory workshop, where they presented their work to the field experts. A great effort is undertaken by SYiS to provide each student or group of students who present a project in the workshop with an individual expert to coach them. This coaching often helps the students to improve the theory basis of their projects as well as the interpretation and presentation of their results. Students with a passion for science and the subject of their work profit from this valuable offer considerably.

Approximately 100 projects were selected to compete in the finals taking place from 23th-25th April in Biel/Bienne. During the finals, more than 30 special prizes will be awarded to the best projects, among them the Swiss Junior Water Prize 2020.

Swiss Junior Water Prize: visit to the House of Government in Bern

Every year, young talents who reach the highest scores at the National Contest Swiss Youth in Science are invited to spend a day at the House of Government in Bern, where they are hosted by the Federal President in turn.

Zamir Borojevic, winner of the Swiss Junior Water Prize 2019, who reached the excellent mark in this year’s contest, was among the group of students visiting the Federal Assembly on 28th November. The group had the opportunity to exchange about their subjects of interest with President Mr. Ueli Maurer, who congratulated all the winners on their success in the National Competition and exhorted them to take their knowledge out into the world and use every opportunity to spread innovative Swiss ideas internationally.

Read the press release here (in German) Medienmitteilung | Empfang Bundespräsident 2019

Young scientists from SJWP address leaders attending COP25

“They are our future, the next generation can continue where we left off. But before they can do it, we need to start taking action, now.”  

Zamir Borojevic, winner of the Swiss Junior Water Prize 2019 and fellow finalist of this year’s Stockholm Junior Water Prize sent a messages to the international leaders gathering im Madrid for COP25.The World Climate Summit 2019 takes place in Madrid from 2nd to 13th December with the objective of reaching agreements and commitments between nations to fight agains the effects of climate change.

Watch the message here

Read also the statement of the finalists on climate change Young Water Scientists Call for Climate Action. 

Summary | Geneva Peace Week Event - Water and Conflicts

This event started with the presentation of the winners of the blue peace initiative and was followed by three interactive dialogue sessions that each featured one young professional and one senior professional on the theme of water and peace.

Sarah Dousse, Director of the International Secretariat for Water, explained the initiative “Imagine Blue Peace” and announced the winners. This initiative was launched by the Geneva Water Hub, the International Secretariat for Water and the World Youth Parliament for Water focusing on youth visions on the theme of water as an instrument for peace. Through these kind of initiatives youth is included in finding solutions on how water can be used as an instrument for peace.

The second part of the session was dedicated to the dialogues, where junior and senior experts shared their know-how and discussed the following topics:

Topic 1: Local and inclusive water management practices for conflict prevention (focus: local community involvement, especially youth and women)

The goal was to enable discussion on the importance of including especially youth and women in water resources management. This session elaborated challenges and strategies to engage these groups, especially youth and pin-pointed the main reasons why the collaboration with youth as being the future leaders, is key for good water management.

Speakers: 

  • Amrita Gautuam, Universität zu Köln, Cologne, Germany
  • François Münger, Geneva Water Hub

Topic 2: Water in contemporary warfare from a civilians’ perspective (focus: Civil Society in Syria)

The session looked at the role of access to water in “new wars” and the impact of using water as a weapon due to sub-national violence (e.g. what are the consequences for civilians of deliberately impeding the water access by targeting small water infrastructure?) and at how water can be used as a leverage to strengthen civil society.

Speakers:

  • Elodie Feijoo Seara, GeoExpertise and The Water Initiative Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
  • Ronald Jaubert, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

Topic 3: Fostering Transboundary Water Cooperation (focus: legal and technological perspective)

The last part was about pertinent issues related to international water law and the benefit of new technologies in transboundary water governance.

Speakers:

  • Imad Antoine Ibrahim, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy
  • Mara Tignino, Geneva Water Hub/University of Geneva

>>>>> Access the Event Organizer Substantive Report here. <<<<<<<

Event Organizer Substantive Report

Author: Elodie Feijoo Seara

How did your event contribute to building peace? (e.g. knowledge, relationships, initiatives, etc.)

The potential of art, a universal language, to promote peace, was highlighted, with the presentation of artistic interventions to communicate BluePeace. The variety of topics with three thematic sessions (one on Local and inclusive water management practices for conflict prevention; one on Water in contemporary warfare from a civilians’ perspective; and one on Fostering transboundary water cooperation) allowed to bring together speakers and participants with different interests topic-wise but sharing a common interest in the water sector. The nexus between water and peace was explored across disciplines (from law to development and engineering) and across categories of actors. The numerous co-organizers, with universities NGOs and youth organisations, from Swiss-based to international ones, allowed to have a diversity of speakers as well as a diversity of participants in the public. Actors that do not usually have the opportunity to discuss among them could interact. In addition to this, the numerous moments left for interactions with the public resulted in rich discussions and transfer of knowledge between actors. Finally, the Intergenerational Dialogue on Water and Peace developed a relationship across generations by matching young and senior experts in pairs. In order to build a lasting peace, it is important to include younger generations in the process, and the aim of this event was not only to have a youth presence among participants but to have them as speakers to give young people a platform allowing their voices to be heard and recognition of their expertise.

What new understandings emerged during your session on the needs for future peace-building practice?

Water management should be more inclusive with women and youth. There is a need to recognize their expertise and to involve them in water management. Key pre-conditions for inclusion process are to allow their voices to be heard, to understand their needs, to train them, so in fine they can take equal roles. For a meaningful water management, three elements are required: technical innovation, social innovation and institutions.

The importance of communication was raised. Water management being too technical, there is a challenge for universities in transferring knowledge to decision-makers. In the same vein, the fragmentation of water management with several institutions acting at different levels and in competition was mentioned.  Ways to facilitate the exchange of technical data and information among countries were discussed, and the role of institutional mechanisms in it was mentioned. Among countries, the role of river basin organizations for peacebuilding was emphasised, using the Senegal and Niger basin organizations as example of cooperation despite the speaking of different languages and distinct national laws.

The role of civilians as target and not collaterals in contemporary warfare was denounced using the Syrian example. Water access was described as an interesting weapon allowing to reach territories outside of territorial control, and especially effective at pressuring and displacing populations. The short-term perspective of humanitarian aid organizations with the reparation of water infrastructures was contrasted with civilians’ mid-term needs in long lasting conflicts. Keeping the water system functional is key, and as water can only be managed at the local level, the sustainability of answers and enhancement of local capacities is important to reconstruct society and build a lasting peace.

A recurrent observation among presentations was that designing is not enough! The importance of the implementation of laws by states was highlighted. The need for new laws was questioned considering the lack of implementation of current ones by states.

What policy recommendations on peace building emerged during your event?

  • Designing laws/inclusive mechanisms/institutions etc. is not enough; implementation is key!
  • Mobilize and empower a new generation of water leaders to contribute to a sustainable and peaceful development.
  • Encourage inclusive water management practices, specifically those including young people and women.
  • Improve communication and knowledge sharing between categories of actors, sectors and generations.
  • Acknowledge the role of civilians as target in contemporary warfare in order to provide adequate protective mechanisms and answers.
  • Put an emphasis on the sustainability of the humanitarian approach and complement short-term answers with an enhancement of civilians’ capacities e.g. providing them with information on how to protect, repair, and manage the infrastructures; establishment of water-users associations.
  • Share best practices from river basin organizations, such as information exchange, to favour the creation of new ones and the effective contribution of current and new organisations to peace.

>>>>> Access the Event Organizer Substantive Report here. <<<<<<<