A Blue Deal through citizenship and stewardship 

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Draft Agenda

16:15-16:20: Welcome and introduction by Piotr Sadowski, Secretary General of Volonteurope 

16:20-16:30: Interactive Mentimeter exercise on the theme water, youth participation and EU elections 

16:30- 17:15: Panel discussion on the role and importance of active citizenship, stewardship, and youth engagement in ensuring a sustainable and just Blue Deal for Europe and beyond: 

  • Annelies Mertens, FLOW (Future Lives with Oceans and Waters) Youth Advisory Board Member
  • Furkan Sorkuncuk, Project Coordinator and Youth Leader, Volonteurope 
  • Maxi Leuchters, EESC Member, Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI)
  • Sergiy Moroz, Policy Manager for Water and Biodiversity, European Environmental Bureau 
  • Hasmik Barseghyan, President of the European Youth Parliament For Water (EYPW) 

17:15-17:35: Discussion with the workshop participants 

17:35-17:45: ‘A strategic foresight for the Blue Deal’ – final address by Max Priebe, Project Manager and Research Associate, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovations 

Concept Note

Water is a substance that is present in our everyday lives; it is something that everyone can relate to. It is the most precious resource on earth, vital for human life and the natural environment. Water is a source of inspiration for many, so the challenges relating to it – be it pollution, a lack of access to drinking water and sanitation, or the degradation of rivers, lakes and oceans - drive people to take action in their communities and across borders. The younger generations have been particularly vocal in protecting our oceans, rivers and water resources.  

The core part of this workshop revolves around two subjects linking water, youth participation and the European elections. It highlights how water has the possibility to engage people and unite them across Europe around one issue of common interest. It is a good occasion to showcase how the younger generation can be a driving force in calling for and implementing a new and ambitious approach to water: the EU Blue Deal. 

The EU's Blue Deal, presented by the EESC in October 2023, proposes a new, strategic approach to water policies at European level in order to create a water-secure future for us all. Its aim is to have water adopted as a strategic priority for the European Union in the next term of office, following the 2024 European elections. In addition, the FLOW (Future Lives with Oceans and Waters) project aims to capture and understand the dynamic relationship between people and water.  

Based on work carried out in the FLOW project, one focus of the workshop will be the development of 'stewardship assemblages' to preserve our bodies of water. These are frameworks developed to foster a more sustainable and empathetic relationship with bodies of water. These assemblages represent a novel approach to environmental stewardship, blending scientific research with socio-cultural insights. Moreover, the use of strategic foresight also allows such research projects to work with memories of the future, enabling young people to have shared memories of the future and a vision for collective action.  

An essential element of both the EU Blue Deal initiative and the FLOW project – and a key feature of this workshop – is engagement with young people. The FLOW project has been involving young people aged 18-30 from seven different bio-geographical regions of Europe, encouraging them to examine the historical, current and potential futures of various bodies of water. This not only raises awareness but also promotes a sense of shared responsibility and community among the young people from countries surrounding each body of water, such as the Mediterranean Sea and North Sea. This involvement offers fresh perspectives and innovative ideas, vital for the success of environmental initiatives.  

The EU Blue Deal proposal aims to preserve and manage our bodies of water more effectively and to recognise water as a crucial resource that requires careful stewardship and a strategic policy approach, bringing the water element into all European policies. The workshop will serve as a platform for discussing this concept by inviting ideas and contributions from participants; these will be shared with the other EU institutions in the run-up to the European elections. The workshop invites young people to contribute to the future EU Blue Deal and to help shape a more sustainable future for our common water resources.  

The overarching aim of the workshop is to address the fact that democracy is about more than participating in elections every now and then; it is equally important to enable people to act as aware, engaged citizens of Europe. Pro-active citizens create an essential fabric of a democratic, inclusive society; consulting and involving people in devising the EU Blue Deal policy, as well as creating stewardship of a precarious resource – to which access is a human right – are mechanisms to secure such engagement.

Work organisation