11th Sava Youth Parliament - "Let's work with nature!"

The 11th Sava Youth Parliament was held from September 29 to 30, 2023 in Ljubljana (Slovenia). It was attended by high schools' students from four countries in the Sava River Basin, who were selected in a competition on the theme "Let's work with nature!". The topic referred to the use of Nature Based Solution-NBS in the field of water management. This year's parliament was organized in cooperation between the International Commission for the Sava Basin, the Global Water Partnership for Central and Eastern Europe and the University of Belgrade.
The Sava Youth Parliament is a unique platform in the Sava River Basin, where young people from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia could express their opinion on current topics in the field of water. Thus, the International Commission for the Sava River Basin promotes the importance of sustainable use and protection of water resources, international cooperation in the field of water, and supports the involvement of young people in transboundary water management mechanisms. This enables the establishment of a connection and exchange of different ideas between generations, which are important to solve common problems and face future challenges in this field.
The schools that participated in this year's parliament were Biotechnical Education Center Ljubljana-Food and Nature Conservation school and Celje Secondary School from Slovenia, Economics, Trade and Hospitality School, Samobor and Sesvete Secondary School from Croatia, Gradiška Special and Technical High School and Special High School Jajce from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Palanačka Secondary School, Smederevska Palanka and Crnjanski Secondary School, Belgrade from Serbia.
The participants of the parliament were welcomed by the Minister Uroš Brežan from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning of the Republic of Slovenia, Dragan Zeljko, Executive Secretary of the International Commission for the Sava River Basin and Mitja Bricelj, member of the Sava commission from Slovenia.

Uroš Brežan: Strengthening cross-sector and intergenerational cooperation through the education of young people and their inclusion in planning and decision-making processes for adapting to climate change is also given a central place in the implementation of regional conventions (the Convention on the Protection of the Danube River and the Convention on the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea and Coast) at Slovenia's proposal.

Dragan Zeljko in his welcoming speech emphasized the importance of the Sava Youth Parliament, as the first body of its kind at the European level, for the activities of the Sava Commission. He recalled the topics discussed by young people at previous meetings and emphasized that their voice is important, because everything that is done affects future generations. At the end, he expressed the hope that the newly elected President would have the opportunity to address the messages of this year's Parliament to the participants of the 12th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, hosted by the Republic of Slovenia.

Mitja Bricelj: The Sava Youth Parliament represents a positive example of cooperation between generations, so it would be necessary to present our experience also at the level of the Danube region and beyond.

At this year's parliament, young people proved that they are active and responsible actors in the search for and implementation of natural based solutions for adapting to climate change. They also expressed a demand for active participation in planning and decision-making on the issues that affect their future. They also require that they participate in the planning process within schools and at the local, national and international levels to contribute to the sustainable development of the Sava River Basin.