At a high-level United Nations session on water and disasters in New York on Thursday, President of the Republic of Hungary János Áder said that the global water crisis has become a “threatening reality.”
President János Áder speaking at a UN session on water and disaster-prevention at the UN headquarters in New York (Photo: MTI – Noémi Bruzák)
Summing up the social, economic, health and welfare consequences of the issue, the president said that the number of water-related disasters and the damage caused by them had increased exponentially over the past few years.
Ader made several recommendations at the session. He proposed, for instance, that cities, provinces and federal states should also be allowed to join the Paris climate accord.
Further, the president recommended that the accord should be extended to inlcude maritime navigation, and that investment in water-related infrastructure projects should be doubled over the next five years.
He also expressed his view that, once the Paris accords have been implemented, a system should be put in place that would work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half every decade for the next three decades.
He claimed that at least a third of climate protection resources should be spent on water management projects, including water resource protection, modern irrigation, sewage recycling, desalination and flood control.
János Áder (left) meeting with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the Bloomberg corporation’s headquarters in New York (Photo: MTI – Noémi Bruzák)
Áder argued that the UN should appoint an official in charge of water management, which he said would enable the global community to react more quickly and effectively to crises.
At present, 28 agencies deal with water issues within the United Nations, and there is no effective coordination of their efforts, he said.
Issues related to water sustainability and availability have long been close to Áder’s heart; last year, for example, he served as the official patron of the Budapest Water Summit, which brought together politicians, scientists, and thinkers from around the world to address issues surrounding the availability and security of water sources.
Meetings with Bloomberg, World Leaders
In addition to speaking before the UN, Áder also spent a deal of time in New York meeting with important global figures about threats facing global water supply.
The Hungarian President discussed the threat of a global water crisis with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres after his speech.
Speaking to Hungarian wire service MTI later in the day, Áder said of Guterres that
“It became clear to me that the new UN secretary-general also takes the threat of a water crisis very seriously, although he approaches the issue from a security perspective.”
The Hungarian President also met with former New York City Mayor (and billionaire) Michael Bloomberg. You can view a photo of their meeting, tweeted by Bloomberg, below:
During their meeting, the two discussed Bloomberg’s recent initiative to set up an organization to help US cities and states meet Paris climate accord requirements independently of US federal or presidential policy, a plan which shares similarities with Áder’s own proposals for creating conditions for cities, provinces, and federal states to join the Paris accord and other climate agreements as ‘equal participants.’
In his statement to MTI, Áder said that it would be a “serious challenge” to figure out how to settle international conflicts stemming from water shortages. He mentioned the signing of multilateral agreements or a comprehensive agreement to avoid wars for water as possible solutions.
He also expressed his belief that Hungary could serve as an example of how to avoid such conflicts, noting that the countries along the Danube River have reached agreements on their use of the river, flood forecasting, disaster management and water pollution management.
While in New York, the Hungarian President also met with Han Seung-soo, the UN’s special envoy for disaster risk reduction and water, Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, and Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party.
Images via MTI and Twitter