Zero Water Day Partnership at COP28 Today


Thursday 7th December saw 12 schools from 9 countries around the world participate in ‘Children and Youth, Taking Action for Humanity and the Planet’ event during COP28 Climate Conference.
Each school and their children and students were asked to respond to 3 questions:
1. What are you doing for climate action and sustainability that needs support and help from others ?
2. What do you want everyone to do for your future ?
3. What are your wishes and hopes for the world’s water towers and their glaciers ?
The answers helped to shape the Zero Water Day Partnership intervention delivered by Manan Nailwal from Jumeirah College, United Arab Emirates  during FAO session on Restoring mountain ecosystems: International Mountain Day 11th December 2023.  

Full Text of Zero Water Day Partnership intervention

Good afternoon, I’m Manan Nailwal, a student at Jumeirah College here in Dubai. On behalf of the Zero Water Day Partnership and schools from Bhutan, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Malawi, Scotland, USA, Zimbabwe and our school in Dubai I would like to thank the Mountain Partnership for the opportunity to ignite a powerful conversation about the pivotal role of children and youth in safeguarding our planet on International Mountain Day.

We launched the Children’s Call to Action to protect mountain areas from the impact in climate change at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021. We are proud of our achievements and successes over the last 2 years, working together in our schools and communities to establish water walks using the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, waste management projects using zero waste methodologies, creating gardens to document changes in trees, plants and insects, rain water harvesting initiatives, caring for our mountains as sources of our water, protecting wetlands and promoting the health of our land, streams, rivers, lakes and oceans.

The interconnectedness of our world through global communication and the internet allows us to learn with and from each other to take action for humanity and the planet. The Zero Water Day Partnership gives us the skills and opportunities to become ambassadors advocating for transformative change at the local and global level. At Jumeirah College, our vibrant community of students, educators, and staff collaborates to elevate our sustainability initiatives. Together, we champion recycling, embrace eco-friendly alternatives, and inspire environmentally conscious art.


Mountains are water towers of the world and we must make ever drop of water count. Majestic peaks, such as the Hajar mountain range hosting the Hatta water dam, aren’t just breathtaking landscapes; they are the lifeblood of our planet. They nurture rivers, sustain biodiversity, and provide vital resources like fresh water and energy crucial for sustainable development. In Dubai, the visionary Clean Energy Strategy spearheaded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum sets a bold target of 75 percent clean energy production by 2050. This forward-thinking approach aims to mitigate the environmental impact of carbon emissions on these critical mountain ecosystems.


Yet, the challenges persist. Increased tourism poses threats of litter and the release of harmful materials, exacerbating the vulnerability of many mountainous regions worldwide. As someone connected to the mountainous terrains of India, I’ve witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of pollution, mining, and erosion-induced landslides on the delicate balance of biodiversity and natural beauty.


No matter who you are or where you live, we are all united by water, our lives and the planet depend on it.


Yet the greatest threat to the planet is the belief that someone else will save it.


Let’s embark on this journey together, a collective effort to protect the world’s mountains and their glaciers. Together our concerted actions today at COP28 will resonate through time. We call upon delegates to empower children and youth to be the stewards of the mountains to safeguard them for the generations to come. Thank you.

Julian Fisher

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