Speech of Hungarian President János Áder, at the 7th World Water Forum Opening
Esteemed Madame President, your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
When just a few minutes ago we all watched the video clip about the time lapse history of mankind I think we also saw the core message: without water there is no life, without water there is no human civilization, and we could add to this message that without suitable amount of healthy water there is no sustainable development, without adequate amount of safe water there is no sustainable peace. So when we talk about water we are talking about our common life and our future together. It is no coincidence that this year’s report of the World Economic Forum names the water-crisis as the largest risk threatening the world today. It is not wars, it is not weapons of mass destruction, it is the water-crisis. How fitting this report is can be seen daily from media reports. All we have to do is remember headlines of the past few weeks.
If you allow me, I would add a small personal remark. Before the start of this conference, I very briefly met with President Braga who when greeting us, among the first sentences spontaneously told us about the drought in Brazil. But of course you also all read about Sao Paulo, a city of 20 million people. Five reservoirs were used to store half of the water required for the population of this city. Now these reservoirs are only 13 per cent full. It is not a coincidence that there are serious weekly restrictions on water usage and it is not a coincidence that people have started to move from Sao Paulo – of course provided they have somewhere to move. But we can look at another South-American example of Chile. Just a few weeks ago we all saw also the devastating rainfall and what it caused: the dramatic images, dramatic reports. Perhaps less mention is made of the fact that Chile has been devastated by drought for eight years now and what are the consequences of this? Completely dried-up fruit plantations, threatened wine producers, and the copper mining industry is also being restricted because of its serious need of water. But if we were to take a leap to North America, the State of California, again just recent news that you might have also seen that for 120 years now California has not seen a comparable drought. They are having to brace themselves for regular water shortages, water restrictions and of course an impossible situation for agriculture. While preparing for this forum and the opening today, I saw, I heard very-very compelling figures about Korea. One could not have found a better place to organize this 7th World Water Forum, because perhaps few people know that Korea is the country which actually is showing an increase of temperature that exceeds the world average. We can see the consequences of this, because today Korea has 27 per cent higher water fall than before and of course this is something that has its impact on the everyday life of the Korean people. Within over a span of a few months you will see intense rainfall and very severe flooding with all the damages that it causes and then just a few weeks later perhaps on another part of the country protracted regional drought along with all its repercussions.