UNAM and the Swedish embassy in Mexico call for the 2022 National Youth Water Award

The National Autonomous University of Mexico, through the UNAM Water Network, the Regional Center for Water Security under the auspices of UNESCO and the Swedish embassy in Mexico, announced the call for the National Youth Water Award (PNJA) 2022.

It is aimed at Mexican students between the ages of 15 and 20 enrolled in secondary or high school levels. The objective is to propose solutions to the main water security problems facing the country through innovation, science and culture. The call will remain until May 7 of this year.

The PNJA serves as a national qualifier for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, the most important student water competition in the world, known as the “Nobel Prize for Water”, organized by the Stockholm Water Institute (SIWI) .

The first three places in the national edition will receive an economic stimulus of 25,000, 20,000 and 15,000 pesos, respectively. The winners of the international contest will receive 15,000 dollars, which they will receive from the hands of the Swedish king and princess. The winning school will also be recognized. This distinction has been made 22 times; in 2007 the Mexican delegation won the international edition.

The director of the Regional Center for Water Security (CERSHI), Fernando González Villarreal, stated that in the last two years in Mexico there have been regions with significant droughts, particularly in the north, northeast and Valley of Mexico, a phenomenon that occurs due to to its geographical position, centered on the line of the world’s deserts, in such a way that we have, on average, a drought every ten years that lasts two to three years.

With climate change we hope that this situation will worsen; For example, what Monterrey is experiencing today is complicated, “we have hydric stress that causes prolonged periods of dry weather, caused by lack of rain, to cause greater negative effects on the populations; that is also an effect of the lack of investment in the sector”, considered the university student.

This circumstance has led us to overexploit more than 100 aquifers in the country, “this is not a sustainable solution, it is necessary to innovate to seek that groundwater return to a condition of sustainability, that is, balance in its extraction and recharge.”

The National Youth Water Award is an important initiative for those of us at the National University “we are dedicated to generating solutions to face the challenges in the matter in Mexico and achieve water security. To solve this problem, innovation is required, and this initiative stimulates young people, the greatest innovators”.

On his occasion, the Swedish ambassador in Mexico, Gunnar Aldén, indicated that the PNJA constitutes a broad and inclusive call in which they have the opportunity to participate with their proposals.

The diplomat pointed out that universal access to clean water is one of the 17 global objectives of the 2030 Agenda, which both nations have committed to implement, which requires adequate investments in infrastructure, providing sanitary facilities and promoting hygiene practices, in addition more international cooperation.

Therefore, he added, initiatives like this are relevant. It is necessary that young people participate in the issue to find solutions and guarantee a more sustainable management of the liquid for the future.

It is, he continued, an environmental and social issue. “We know that taking care of water resource management is everyone’s responsibility: government, academia and the private sector, as well as civil society. We will do it together. The Swedish government is proud to collaborate with Mexico to overcome environmental challenges.”

Speaking, the director of the Institute of Engineering, Rosa María Ramírez Zamora, expressed her satisfaction that this Award returns to UNAM hand in hand with the Water Network and CERSHI.

He stressed that after two years of the pandemic, people began to work on the generation of various projects, even the health crisis accelerated the fourth industrial revolution. “That’s good, because one of the objectives of this contest is the remediation and prevention of water scarcity.”

The manager of International Cooperation of the National Water Commission (Conagua), Silvia Chávez Cereceda, pointed out that young people are important in the comprehensive management of this natural resource as agents of change; they are characterized by their energy and ability to learn and generate knowledge, as well as their creativity and commitment.

With this distinction, he continued, it seeks to recognize his ability to transform the world to make it a better place for everyone. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development highlights the importance of the collaboration of society, including the new generations, as a key factor for the sustainable transformation of the planet.

According to 2020 figures from INEGI, in Mexico there were about 11 million young people between the ages of 15 and 19, hence the importance for Conagua of this initiative, an example of support and promotion of entrepreneurial youth projects, interested in science and planning of water management, he explained.

Lisania Monzón Fernández and Sofía Tress González, remote high school students in San Pedro, Balancán, who obtained the 2021 National Youth Water Prize, participated remotely in this ceremony for the project “Biofita, a plague of life”, which gave them the international pass to the so-called “Nobel Junior of Water”.

The call can be viewed at:

https: //premiojuvenildelagua.cershi.org/, and on social media:
Facebook: @premiojuvenildelagua; Instagram: @premionacionaljuvenildelagua; Tiktok: @premiojuvenildelagua.

Also with the coordinator of the National Youth Water Award, Jorge Alberto Arriaga Medina, via email: jarriagam@iingen.unam.mx.



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UNAM and the Swedish embassy in Mexico call for the 2022 National Youth Water Award