The conference was held in colleges and spotlighted issues concerning water and sanitation with the help of multiple audio-visual devices. Short films were selected from the VidéEau Festival, directed by young film amateurs from around the world. They also showed interviews held with youth who are passionately making a difference in their communities, both in Canada and internationally.
An ISW representative started off the conference by giving an overview of the global issues surrounding access to drinking water and water purification. She was usually paired with a youth who would share his experiences, having previously participated in an international cooperation project linked with water, in a developing country. In some cases, the ISW representatives were followed by a testimony focusing on local issues, depending on the region visited.
The first part of the conference gives a brief overview of the ISW and its projects, as well as the current state of water as a global resource (availability, management, human impact, etc.) We then look at the obstacles hindering the Millennium Development Goals concerning access to drinking water and sanitation and how they affect the lives of those living in poverty in third world countries.
The problems associated with the changing climate are also touched upon as they have a direct impact on water availability. The impacts are mostly felt in poorer populations but are nonetheless present in Canada. Despite our country's large bodies of fresh water and high drinking water quality, some problems persist: overconsumption, bottled water and oil sands exploitation are a part of the Canadian reality and are readily exposed in our presentation.
The conference ends on a hopeful note: no matter how complex and worrisome the situation may seem, it is still possible for concerned citizens to act, whether locally or globally, and make a difference for their sake and the next generation's.