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The Yukon Water Forum 2016 – “The Water Cooler Conversations” plenary held on February 3 and 4 at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre in Whitehorse, Yukon.
The Yukon Water Forum is a commitment in the Yukon Water Strategy and Action Plan, which was released in June 2014. Based on this feedback during its development , the Strategy includes an action item to “host an annual or biennial Water Forum to exchange information, collaboratively address water issues and promote continuous improvements.” In 2015, the Water Forum focused on gathering feedback on how to execute several of the 55 different action items from within the Strategy.
The focus of the 2016 Yukon Water Forum – “the Water Cooler Conversations” was to build on the networking from last year’s Forum and cultivate partnerships within Yukon’s water management community. The fresh format and approach was based on the notion that some of the best ideas – the ones that lead to real action – are shared during the in-between moments at work. Great conversations can happen before a meeting begins or around the “water cooler”.
The Forum objectives were to:
The facilitators guided participants through three sessions specifically designed to meet each of the three objectives and set out a path for a more coordinated, effective approach to water management in the Yukon. The participants themselves developed the Forum content – they brought their issues and needs forward to get turned into actions like starting/refining a project, linking up partners, providing the seeds for a broader Yukon-wide initiative or re-directing policies that impact them.
Our goal at this Forum was to harness collaboration, launch new partnerships and infuse energy into existing water projects. Based on participant feedback this was achieved.
The 2015 and 2016 Water Forums are examples of how different the approaches can be: We went from heavy presentations and intense work planning in 2015 to a free approach with heavy dialogue and limited presentations this year. Participants’ overall recommendation for future Water Forums is to do a mix of both. Read about other recommendations and what happened at the Yukon Water Forum 2016 by reading the Workshop Summary Report.