The third Budapest Water Summit opened in Budapest, Hungary on Tuesday to a mesmerizing water-themed dance performance by the Budapest-based and world-renowned modern circus company, Recirquel.Hungarian President János Áder gave opening remarks. He stressed that technologies are needed to mitigate and adapt to emerging water crises. Among the country’s successes, he noted Hungary has built over 4,200 kilometers of dykes, as well as water reservoirs to manage floods, and its investments in water quality mean that “rivers leaving our country are cleaner than when they arrive.”Samdech Hun Sen, Cambodian Prime Minister, discussed joint approaches and implementation mechanisms to promote cooperation and water security at regional and global levels.Via video message, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres expressed support to the Summit’s objective, noting that water is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and pointed to the UN’s commitment to pursue the human right to water. UN-Water Chair and International Fund for Agricultural Development President, Gilbert Houngbo, stressed the need for new political momentum and a transformational shift in how we value water.Jin Liqun, President, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), said water disasters cost the Asian economy US$360 billion per year, and reported that AIIB is developing a water strategy to guide the investment sector.Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation, India, reported that water security is at the center of India’s development agenda, and underlined efforts to decentralize water governance and a campaign to “make water everyone’s business.”In the morning and afternoon, participants attended three sessions that brought together ministers and high-level representatives from Ghana, Jordan, Slovakia, the Netherlands, South Africa, and Slovenia as well as representatives of the EU and African Union (AU), multilateral development banks, the World Bank Group, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), among others, to discuss water crises. During the sessions, participants heard keynotes followed by panel discussions on:
On crises prevention, discussions included: technology to improve efficiency, promoting water as a tool for peace, behavior change via education of youth, investment that builds resilience, tiered pricing systems, and transboundary water governance. On water valuation and costs of crises, panelists raised a number of topics, including: reducing water consumption, valuing water at the individual level, access to water as a human right, local water governance, unlocking funding for water investment, building synergies such as the water-energy-climate nexus, and multistakeholder initiatives to address pollution.On economically rational behavior in water crises, discussion focused on how to deal with complexities in policy processes and the financial sector, including: voluntary agreements, economic incentives and models for integrated water resources management, flood forecasting and early warning systems, and risk assessments.A series of side events took place in parallel with the Summit. In the evening, participants attended a cultural programme and reception at the Palace of the Arts.
IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ meeting coverage, provided daily digital coverage and daily reports from BWS 2019. In addition, IISD Reporting Services, has published a summary report in HTML and PDF.
Photos by IISD/ENB | Diego Noguera
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