18th March 2021

Hungarian president Áder János’ statement on UN High-Level Meeting on Water (video message)

Esteemed Mr. President,
Distinguished Mr. Secretary-General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is a saying in Hungary: „hope dies last”.

We have been asking the question multiple times, even under the auspices of UN conferences: how can we avert the looming water crisis, how can we stop the man-made climate change?

There have been a good number of responses, analyses and political declarations published during the recent years. But, have we made progress?

We adopted the climate goals in Paris. We agreed on substantially reducing CO2 emissions. Yet, today we are further away from attaining these shared goals than we were in 2015, when we adopted them.

It was during the same year that we adopted the Sustainable Development Goals including the ones on water as well. Yet, we can rightly ask the question: do we have less drought areas? Are we more successful in mitigating major floods? Are our rivers, lakes and seas less polluted?

Not to mention the new tasks that are piling up. Let us see a few examples.

We need new economic methodology of calculations to assess the impact of our investments on climate and our waters. We need to build integrated data bases to prevent the water crisis. We need local, regional and global data on flood and drought warning, on the location, source, extent and impact of water pollution incidents. We need to carry out precise calculations on the extent of the expected damages and the funds to be spent on prevention.

We have a lot to do. Looking at the number and the size of the tasks, the slogan for the coming years would sound better if we said: “Act globally, act locally!”

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