29th August 2017

Speech of President of the Republic János Áder at the Stockholm Junior Water Prize awards ceremony

Your Majesty,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The High-level Panel on Water was convened by the United Nations Secretary-General and the President of the World Bank. Both on its behalf and in a personal capacity, today I am able to greet the winners of this competition and all those who took part. Thank you for the opportunity to do so.

More than half a century ago, the Hungarian-born scientist and Nobel laureate Dénes Gábor wrote the following:
“Until now humanity has had to struggle with Mother Nature itself; from now on, it will have to struggle with human nature.”

His words were a prophecy which has sadly become reality.
Population explosion. A water crisis without parallel in human history. Melting glaciers. Rising sea levels. Ever more severe droughts. Rivers ebbing away. Lakes drying up. All this comes with dramatic consequences for societies in terms of their social fabric and their citizens’ health, and in political and economic dimensions.

Consider just these three statistics: Today almost two billion people have no access to clean drinking water. Eighty per cent of water being used today is returned to the biosphere in a polluted state. In financial terms, the global damage caused by the emerging water crisis has reached the rate of five hundred billion dollars a year. The problem has become a part of our everyday lives. It will present an even greater challenge for the next generation.

Commitment. Creativity. Youthful dynamism. The creation of links between new scientific findings. You will be called upon to provide all this.

In relation to your future work, I commend to you the words of another scientist and Nobel laureate, Albert Einstein:
“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

Congratulations to the winners, and I wish you much further success in your work.

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