Speech by President János Áder at the opening of the World Science Forum in Jordan
Your Royal Highnesses,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen!
Thank you for this opportunity to address you at the opening of the World Science Forum, here in the heart of the Middle East.
Ten thousand years of history in this region has left us all an abundance of lessons on peace and conflicts, scientific discoveries, development and the obstacles to development. This region is extremely rich in historical lessons; but if we look at only its past one hundred years, we can see that competition for natural resources – like arable land, water and energy – has almost always contributed to conflicts within and between countries.
It is no accident that this year’s forum focuses on the issues of food security, water and energy. All three of these areas are fundamental to security.
A series of historical examples proves that shortages of food and water also threaten social harmony. In twenty-first century societies adequate energy supplies are also vital for social harmony. Without energy it would be impossible to operate all the industrial, transportation, security and health infrastructure that we have created in recent decades. Depleted energy supplies could lead to social collapse and war. How could science help?
Allow me to pose a few questions, to provoke further debate on the three areas of water, food security and energy.
I am sure that you are all familiar with the following facts. Nowadays two billion people have no access to safe drinking water, and four billion have no access to adequate sanitation. In thirty-six countries, per capita water supplies have fallen to a critical level. Eighty percent of waste water is dumped, untreated, into the biosphere.
How can we supply a growing population with sufficient water? What methods can help us protect our water resources? How can we prevent further pollution? What could be done to clean up the pollution we have already caused?