President Ader sums up water talks in South Korea

Gyeongbuk, South Korea, April 13 (MTI) – Opportunities can be found in crises, Hungary’s president said in Gyeongbuk, South Korea, on Monday, summing up his talks at the 7th World Water Forum that he opened in Daegu the day before.

On the forum’s sidelines, Janos Ader held talks with Benedito Braga, president of the World Water Council, Yvo de Boer, director-general of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), and Thomas P. Bostick, Chief of Engineers of the US Army (USACE). He asked them to back Andras Szollosi-Nagy, a governor of the World Water Council, in his bid to head the organisation when the mandate of the current president expires in November.

Janos Ader told reporters that economic and business opportunities lie in tackling water-related crises as well as related health care, social and demographic problems. The job of decision makers is to provide the resources needed while leaving it to scientists and professionals to solve the problems themselves, he said.

The next climate summit in November in Paris will be a first step “on this difficult road,” he added.

Speaking to reporters, Szollosi-Nagy emphasised the importance of addressing water issues.

“The amount of water accessible per person annually has dropped to 5,000 cubic metres from 12,000 cubic metres over the past 35 years. Weather extremes occur more frequently and the risk of floods has also risen. These problems affect developing countries the most. In the Sub-Sahara region of Africa insufficient water supplies are blamed for 90 percent of illnesses,” the Hungarian official said.

The issue must be addressed on a professional level, he said. President Ader was the first politician to act on the gravity of the situation, he added.

Szollosi-Nagy said Hungary has obtained 200 years of experience not only in flood defence, but in the use of common catchment areas where 90 percent of the country’s waters arrive from across the border.

He said Hungary can make a valuable contribution to efforts aimed at resolving water related problems by sharing its related experiences.