The 2016 Budapest Water Summit held its opening event today in Budapest’s Millennium Park. The Summit, which focuses on issues surrounding the availability and security of water sources throughout the world, runs from November 28th to the 30th.
In his opening speech today, János Áder, President of the Republic of Hungary and patron of the Water Summit, emphasized the importance of the issue, saying that “today, water is the most endangered natural resource, which is why we must transform the issue of water into the most important question of political thought and action.”
Mr. Áder’s opinions were echoed by Peter Thompson, the current President of the General Assembly, who is also in attendance at the water conference. According to Mr. Thompson, if people around the world had access to adequate amounts of clean water, there would be peace and security. In addition, Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General, appeared in a video message to Summit attendees, in which he discussed the need to restructure the natural resources market, in order to ensure sustainable growth, which could in turn ensure clean drinking water for all the Earth’s inhabitants.
In an interview on Hungarian state radio on November 25th, President Áder likewise emphasized the need for changes in the way people view the issue of water use, arguing that “water resource usage needs the same type of attitude change that the Paris Climate Summit brought to the issue of addressing global warming.” He added that the main goal of the Budapest Water Summit is to bring attention to the position of water as humanity’s most important, yet most endangered, natural resource.
In attendance at the conference are political, scientific, and business leaders from around the world, with over 2,000 officials representing 111 countries, including 35 current or former ministers and prime ministers. Among those present are the Presidents of Mauritius and Tajikistan, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, the former President of Slovenia, and the Former Prime Minister of South Korea. In addition to President of the General Assembly Peter Thompson, other UN and international officials are in Budapest for the summit as well, such as the Under-Secretary-General, the European Regional Director of the World Health Organization, and the Secretary-General of the world Meteorological Organization. The Summit’s list of attendees also includes the heads of several international banks and financial institutions, as well as the directors of significant environmental and diplomatic non-profit entities.
For more information, read our article on the Budapest photo exhibition inspired by the Water Summit.
Via MTI, budapestwatersummit.hu, and Hungary Matters
Images via MTI