UN Cyberschoolbus - HomeUN Cyberschoolbus - Home

Log in | Register


Participate

How to participate

35-45 student leaders (selected by the co-sponsors) from the United States, Canada, and Mexico will meet at UN Headquarters in New York on December 2nd to draft a Plan of Action related to this year's theme: Water as a Human Right. Additional classrooms from other countries around the world will be linked by videoconference and webcast.

The interactive forums are only open to middle (intermediate) or secondary students. In order to participate, teachers can register their students or students can register themselves.

Youth and Water

The need for clean, safe water is an inescapable reality that affects all of us; young and old, rich and poor. We depend on water to survive and yet continue to contaminate and mismanage this vital resource. At present, less than 1% of all freshwater is available for use. As populations continue to grow, the need to protect our limited water supplies becomes increasingly urgent. The world’s 2 billion children and adolescents are both at the center of the water crisis and offer the greatest hope for addressing it successfully. The Earth's capacity to provide clean water to future generations will be greatly diminished unless today's youth take an active role is safeguarding this vital resource.

There are 2.8 billion people under the age of 25. In developing countries, youth make up 70 per cent of the population. As Eveline Herfkens, the Secretary-General's Executive Coordinator for the Millenium Development Goals Campaign at the UN recently emphasized, "Tomorrow's future will be defined by what youth do today."

The purpose of the 8 th Annual UN Student Human Rights Conference is to offer the world's youth an opportunity to conduct their own research on human rights and water issues and to develop a Plan of Action. After the conference is over, students will be encouraged to initiate or participate in a water-related project in their local community or abroad.

Preparation material for participating students

Below are five sub-themes and related topics that are important in considering the theme of “Water as a Human Right.” Participants should explore and research them thoroughly to prepare for the two-day conference. Some useful website addresses and documents are included in the Resource List that follows to help you get started. An online discussion forum will open on the UN Cyberschoolbus website ( http://www.cyberschoolbus.un.org) of August 2005. It will be accessible through a link on the IC 21 website (www.ic21.org).

  1. Water and gender


    • In many societies women have the greatest responsibilities in terms of water use and management (women and children living in rural Africa spend as much as 3 hours per day fetching water).
    • A major reason girls drop out of school in developing countries is because they do not have access to toilet facilities (globally, 2.4 billon people do not have access to toilets).


  2. Health problems relating to water


    • Globally, 2.4 billion people (almost half of the world’s population) do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities, therefore severely impeding proper hygiene.
    • At present, 1.2 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water
    • Every day, 6,000 children die of diseases associated with lack of safe drinking water, insufficient sanitation and poor hygiene
    • Eighty percent of all illnesses and deaths are related to water-borne diseases. Among these are:
      1. diarrhea
      2. schistosomiasis
      3. malaria
      Diarrhea is the most deadly, killing 1.3 million children, many of which are under the age of five, and 1 million adults annually and affecting another 2 million people.
    • Bacteria and parasites thrive in contaminated waters. Pollution therefore contributes to the prevalence of water-related health problems and water-borne diseases such as malaria.


  3. Water and peace/human security


    • As water resources continue to be contaminated and demand for usable water increases, conflicts over water pose a major threat in the 21st century. It is possible that, as Ismail Serageldin, Vice President of the World Bank predicts, “the wars of the next century will be fought over water.”


  4. Resource management of water


    • Leading into the 21st century, there are questions about transboundary rights and laws and the privatization of water management. Currently, 88 river basins are shared by two or more countries. Those living downstream often suffer from diminished or contaminated resources due to the practices of those living further up the stream.


  5. Water and environmental sustainability


    1. Agricultural practices and industry play major roles in water use. Approximately 60% of all water used in agriculture and 50% of all water in cities is wasted. As populations continue to grow, the need for more efficient water use is needed to ensure environmental sustainability.
    2. Preserving fresh water supplies is essential for the maintenance of biodiversity.
    3. Pollution, both in oceans and rivers, damages the ecosystems and therefore hurts environmental sustainability.


Back to top

Tips for writing a Plan of Action

  1. Preamble – The introduction to a formal document that explains its purpose which may include reference to the U.N. charter, citations or statements made by the U.N. body or agency on the issue, recognition of achievements of the work or efforts of regional organizations in dealing with the issue, general statements on the topic, its significance, its effects and its challenges.

    Suggested Preambulatory Phrases:

    Acknowledging...
    Affirming...
    Alarmed ...
    Anxious ...
    Approving ...
    Aware …
    Bearing in mind ...
    Being convinced ...
    Believing ...
    Cognizant ...
    Concerned ...
    Confident ...
    Conscious ...
    Considering ...
    Contemplating ...
    Convinced ...
    Declaring ...
    Deeply disturbed…
    Desiring…
    Determined …
    Emphasizing...
    Encouraged...
    Endorsing...
    Expressing...
    ...appreciation...
    ...deep appreciation...
    Expecting ...
    Fulfilling...
    Fully …
    ...aware...
    ...believing...
    ...bearing in mind...
    Grieved…
    Guided by...
    Having…
    ...adopted...
    ...approved...
    ...considered...
    ...examined further…
    ...received...
    ...reviewed...
    Keeping in mind...
    Mindful…
    Noting...
    ...further...
    ...with approval...
    ...with concern...
    ...with deep concern…
    ...with grave concern…
    ...with regret...
    ...with satisfaction...
    Observing... Reaffirming...
    Realizing...
    Recalling...
    Recognizing...
    Referring...
    Regretting...
    Reiterating...
    Seeking...
    Stressing...
    Welcoming...
  1. Operative Clauses – Clauses that are set out to achieve the main goals of the issue. Operative clauses should be organized in a logical progression, and each clause should contain a single idea or policy proposal. This may also include strategies on achieving a goal.

    Suggested Operative Phrases:

    Accepts...
    Adopts...
    Affirms…
    Appeals...
    Appreciates...
    Approves...
    Authorizes...
    Calls upon...
    Commends...
    Concurs...
    Condemns...
    Confirms...
    Congratulates...
    Considers...
    Decides...
    ...accordingly...
    Declares...
    Deplores...
    Designates...
    Directs...
    Emphasizes...
    Encourages...
    Endorses...
    Expresses...
    ...its appreciation...
    ...its conviction...
    ...its regret...
    ...its sympathy...
    ...its thanks...
    ...the belief...
    ...the hope...
    Further...
    …concurs…
    …invites
    ...proclaims...
    ...reminds...
    ...recommends...
    ...requests...
    ...resolves...
    Instructs...
    Invites...
    Notes...
    ...with appreciation
    ...with approval...
    ...with interest...
    ...with satisfaction...
    Reaffirms...
    ...its belief...
    Recognizes...
    Recommends...
    Regrets...
    Reiterates…
    Renews its appeal
    Repeats...
    Suggests...
    Strongly...
    Supports...
    Takes note of...
    Transmits...
    Urges...
    Welcomes...
Back to top

 


December 1-2, 2005


United Nations
Headquerters, NY


Intermediate and
Secondary Students
(grades 5- 12)


Water as a Human
Right

 



UN Cyberschoolbus - Home comments and suggestions: cyberschoolbus@un.org Copyright © 1996- United Nations