Speech by Hungarian President János Áder at the opening session of the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia presenting report of High Level Panel on Water
Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are nowadays witnessing the drama of water unfold in front of our eyes.
The drama of too little water. Just think of Cape Town or the consequences of the drought in California during recent years.
The drama of too much water. The images show disasters of the recent years. /China, Japan, Peru/
The drama of polluted water. Illustrations of industrial pollution, the consequences of untreated communal waste water and plastic pollution.
Perhaps no further arguments and images are needed for everybody to realize that the path we have been on until now cannot be followed anymore in the future.
What is then, the alternative path that we are suggesting?
1. We have to understand more than ever before what the role of water is in creating a sustainable world. We have to give a correct response to the question: what is the real value of water?
2. Decisions on water usage should strive to create integrated systems. We need to switch as soon as possible to evidence based water management.
3. Trans-border water resource management is about joint responsibilities. 40%of humanity lives in areas of shared aquifers. It is indispensable that countries sharing rivers and lakes agree as soon as possible on shared water usage, on preventing pollution and to create as soon as possible the institutional framework required for implementation. All this is a precondition for averting regional conflicts.
4. Prevention is the most important and the cheapest solution as well. Every water source – river, lake, water basin – needs to be protected from pollution.
5. Water is a driver of the economy. If we manage it well, it will contribute to welfare on the long term. Bad decisions will mean that instead of growth, the different regions of the world may experience a GDP decline of as much as 14%.
6. Creating a water secure world means we have significantly develop the infrastructure. Human construction during the past 200 years was often to the detriment of mother nature. By today, we can see that we are much better off if we try to combine “grey” and “green” infrastructure.