Budapest-based modern circus company, Recirquel, opened BWS 2019 with a mesmerizing water-themed performance.
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:
Can Water Crises Be Prevented?
Value of Water vs. Costs of a Water Crisis - Are we Talking About the Same?
Water Crises - What is the Economically Rational Behavior?
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.
António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, addressed participants via a video message.
Gilbert Houngbo, UN-Water Chair and IFAD President
Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister, Cambodia
Jin Liqun, AIIB President
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation, India
János Áder, President of Hungary, and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation, India, addressing a press conference following the opening of the Summit.
The media at BWS 2019
Session 1 - Can Water Crises Be Prevented?
L-R: Moderator Bai-Mass Taal, Former Executive Secretary, African Ministers’ Council on Water; Raed Abu Al-Saud, Minister of Water and Irrigation, Jordan; Norbert Kurilla, Ministry of Environment, Slovak; Youssef Filali-Meknassi, UNESCO; Li Yong, UNIDO Director General; Rodolfo Lacy, OECD; and Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Ghana
Moderator Bai-Mass Taal, Former Executive Secretary, African Ministers’ Council on Water
Raed Abu Al-Saud, Minister of Water and Irrigation, Jordan
Session 2: Value of Water vs. Costs of a Water Crisis – Are We Talking About the Same?
L-R: Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, South Africa; Ahmat Awad Sakine, Permanent Representative of the AU to the EU; Pio Wennubst, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), IFAD and the World Food Programme (WFP); Frank Rijsberman, Director General, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI); Moderator Aaron Salzberg, Director, Water Institute, University of North Carolina; Olcay Ünver, Vice Chair, UN-Water; Elisabeth van Duin, Director, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Netherlands; and Rochi Khemka, 2030 Water Resources Group
Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, South Africa
Ahmat Awad Sakine, Permanent Representative of the AU to the EU
Session 3: Water Crises – What is the Economically Rational Behaviour?
L-R: Martin Frick, Senior Director, Policy and Programme Coordination, UNFCCC Secretariat; Jennifer Sara, Global Director, Water Global Practice, World Bank Group; Simon Zajc, Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning, Slovenia; Monika Weber-Fahr, Executive Secretary, Global Water Partnership (GWP); Joseph Siaw Agyepong, Executive Chairman, The Jospong Group; Ciarán Ó Cuinn, Director, Middle East Desalination Research Center; Karine Méasson, Head of Water Management Division, European Investment Bank (EIB); and Moderator María Concepción Donoso, Institute for Water and Environment, Florida International University, and Member of the International Programme and Drafting Committee of BWS 2019
Martin Frick, Senior Director, Policy and Programme Coordination, UNFCCC Secretariat
Jennifer Sara, Global Director, Water Global Practice, World Bank Group
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