Conference: Water for Climate Mental Health Resilience

20 March 2023

This conference is part of the UN Water Conference Virtual Side Events taking place on 20 and 21 March 2023.

On 20 March 2023 at 15:00 (CET), the UNU Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT) and the UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS) will co-organise the event “Water for Climate Mental Health Resilience — Integrating Inclusive Water Strategies in Climate Services“. This online event is part of the UN 2023 Water Conference. 

This session aims to enhance understanding of:

  1. interlinkages of water insecurity, water-related disasters, climate risks,  mental health, and psychosocial well-being, with a focus on vulnerability factors and inequalities.
  2. environmental degradation and biodiversity and its impact on mental health (e.g., climate change anxiety, eco-grief, solastalgia).
  3. what unique advantages could youth and future generations have/contribute to the vision of an inclusive climate-resilient future?
  4. multisectoral and community-based approaches for building and implementing smart water strategies in climate services to foster mental health resilience for all.


Welcome: Bartel Van de Walle, UNU-MERIT Director, Professor

Scope of the session: Sanae Okamoto, UNU-MERIT Researcher

Opening keynote speech: Xiaomeng Shen, UNU-EHS Director, Professor / UNU Vice-Rector in Europe

Moderation: Nidhi Nagabhatla, UNU-CRIS, Senior Research Fellow

Session support: Kariuki Weru, UNU EHS - Researcher.

Insights from different geographic regions, and gender and vulnerability issues

  1. Tahseen Jafry: Professor of the Mary Robinson Center for Climate Justice, Glasgow Caledonian University
  2. Quincia Gumbs Marie: Hon. Minister of Sustainability, Innovation & the Environment, / Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers, Minister of Education and Social Development at Government of Republic of Anguilla
  3. Deodato Xavier Dias: Ministry of Health, São Tomé and Príncipe
  4. Amal Sarsour: Researcher, psychosocial well-being support for women in Palestine, UNU-CRIS
  5. Kehkashan Basu: Founder, Green Hope Foundation, youth led global social innovation enterprise, Canada

Insights from practice

  1. Matteo Innocenti: Psychiatrist / Psychotherapist, Italian Institute for Planetary Health, Istituto Psicologico Italiano, Italian Climate Change Anxiety Association, European Climate Pact Ambassador, Italy.
  2. Kenneth Yongabi Anchang: Director PRF Research Group, Imo State University, Nigeria
  3. Christian Schweizer or Oliver Schmoll: Scientist, Climate Change and Health, WHO

Insights from Disaster Risk Reductions, Emergency response, Water insecurities

  1. Jekulin Lipi Saikia: United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth, Asia-Pacific focal point – DRR, UN MGCY, India
  2. Duminda Perera: Researcher, UNU-INWEH, Water disasters and threats
  3. Elena Lopez Gunn: Director, ICATALIST, Spain
  4. Closing remarks: Robert Oakes, UNU-EHS


Please register in advance at:

For updates and more information, visit the UNU-MERIT website

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