Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

Preventing water crises – Budapest to be the capital of water once again

The water crisis – that is the theme of the year’s most important event in Hungarian diplomacy, the Budapest Water Summit to be held on 15-17 October. Water shortages and the severe pollution of water resources are hazards that many hundreds of millions of people face – preventing the catastrophe is everyone’s shared task and responsibility.

In less then six months, Budapest will once again become the world’s water capital: the Budapest Water Summit 2109 will be attended by almost two thousand guests from around the world at the Millennáris Conference Centre between 15 and 17 October. President of the Republic János Áder will be the chief patron of the event.

While during the 20th century, the decline of fossil fuel resources seemed to be the greatest problem, by today, the protection of Earth’s water resources has become increasingly urgent and important. We are currently on the brink of a global water crisis, as water shortages and the heavy pollution of water resources are jeopardising the water supply of many hundreds of millions of people.

According to a UN estimate, by 2050, five billion people will not have access to appropriate drinking water, which will be half the population of Earth at that time – we’ve written in more detail about that here. Recently, it has also come to light that each year, 17 million women give birth in hospitals where it is not even possible to wash hands – and of course there is also the example of Cape Town, where ’Day Zero’, when taps would have to be turned off all over the metropolis with several million inhabitants, is looming large.


Building on the success of the events in 2013 and 2016, the Government of Hungary will organise one of the most important events of the year in Hungarian diplomacy, the Budapest Water Summit 2019, whose main themes will be the prevention of the global water crisis, or, where that is no longer possible, the promotion of adaptation to its impacts.

The summit, to be held 15–17 October under the chief patronage of President János Áder, will aim to chart actions to prevent water crises and successful adaptation to the consequences in situations of too little water, too much water as well as polluted water, and thereby to contribute to the shaping of global water policy processes.

As in previous years, the 2019 event will be hosted by the Millenáris Conference Centre Photo: MTI/László Beliczay

The guests invited to the international conference yet again include the specialist international organisations in the fields of water, sanitation and sustainable water management as well as delegates from governments and the business, the financial and scientific community, as the issue we are facing is not of a purely hydrological nature: managing the situation is a challenge from the perspectives of social and economic development as, well. The water diplomacy event, to which some two thousand delegates are expected, will conclude by formulating guidelines to be followed by all governments and all citizens of the world to draw attention to the proximity of the crisis.

Relative to previous years, this year the water industry exhibition organised as part of the conference will receive even more emphasis. The Hungarian water industry and water science are already working on preventing the crisis, and Hungary is at the forefront of digital water management, therefore the exhibition will be a venue for – primarily Hungarian – water industry companies and organisations that produce competitive, innovative and environment friendly technologies that may play a significant role worldwide in solving water industry challenges and even reducing the already present harmful impacts.

A snapshot of the 2016 Summit Photo: MTI/Szilárd Koszticsák

On the initiative of President János Áder, and in cooperation with UN organisations and the World Water Council, the Government of Hungary had organised the first Budapest Water Summit (BWS 2013) between 9 and 11 October 2013. The closing document of BWS 2013, the “Budapest Declaration” stated that after 2015, water must feature as a separate theme and objective within developmental policy planning. The event played an important role in the inclusion of the issues of water and sanitation in the Development Assistance Framework that the UN adopted in 2015 as a separate objective, so it acted as a compass for sustainable development efforts and international climate politics.

The second Budapest Water Summit took place in November 2016, with over 2200 attendees. The three-day event aimed to elaborate the changes that would be required to implement sustainable water management, and forging a successful link between political decision-making processes, the specific solutions offered by capital, knowledge and technology, and the non-governmental organisations that play a key role, that is to say to set out specific, practical steps so as to aid the resolution of the greatest challenge of the 21st century.

Having met its objectives, the conference specified water policy tasks for the following 15 years, and the package of recommendations adopted at the end of the event contributed to the unification of the sustainable development transition supported by water management and climate protection, and the plan to transform the financing of water industry developments.

Almost two thousand participants worldwide are expected to attend the global summit Photo: MTI/Zoltán Máthé

The High-level Panel on Water appointed by the UN Secetary-General and the World Bank Group President has also used the recommendations of BWS 2016. The conference was attended by representatives of the financing sector, who play a particularly important role in implementation, and who undertook to double the funds devoted to water-related investment projects over the next 5 years.

Both events also included, as a major component, water industry exhibitions, attended by companies and organisations – primarily Hungarian entities – active in the water industry. The two global events therefore also provided venues for the presentation of the Hungarian water industry at the international level, which has resulted in the receipt of large orders, totalling several hundred million dollars.

Hungarians in the global water industry

The design and implementation of complex water engineering solutions for developing countries has always been and still is a distinguished area of Hungary’s international cooperation. Hungarian experts have several success stories from over the years in providing solutions in – amongst others – water management, well drilling and in irrigation.

AsMet, the Arsenic Removal Equipment Family

S-Metalltech 98 Ltd founded in 1998 works on one hand as a R&D workshop for universities and industrial companies and on the other hand as a manufacturing base of special materials applied in the field of environmental protection, electrical industry, automotive industry and nuclear reactor technology – cooperating with many of home and foreign partners.

New method of flash-flood protection developed in Szeged

The Public Relations Directorate of the University of Szeged has announced that a system for forecasting precipitation and flash floods is being implemented in the Hungarian–Serbian border region. The project will provide valuable assistance for preventing damage in the future.

Overview of Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals – adopted in the Summit of Prime Ministers and Heads of State between 25 and 27 September 2015 – are based on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Microbial Removal of Drug Pharmaceutical Residues from Organic Sewage Sludge

It is a necessity to pay more attention to the ever increasing pollution of the waters. Conventional waste water treatments are not suitable to remove all the incoming pollutants in the treatment plants. That is the reason why Nyírségvíz Zrt. has started a development program.

Green Infrastructure – effective and sustainable solutions in water management

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have produced a water management manual based on the principles of green infrastructure. The purpose of the publication is to popularise the solutions, and to present efficient and sustainable projects already in operation that use green or hybrid (traditional – gray and natural – green) infrastructural solutions in the field of water management.

Water, the source of development

There is no life without water – this is an unquestionable truth for everybody, but has anyone ever thought of the fact that without water there is no development, either? Talking either about the basic fact that water is essential for the development of plants, or the ingenious inventions of later ages, we have to admit that water significantly determines our lives.

Global Framework for Action for Sustainable Groundwater Governance

The purpose of the document entitled Groundwater Governance – A Global Framework for Action is to make the importance of sustainable groundwater governance clear to political decision-makers.

Water and Jobs

At the global level, three of every four jobs are related to water in some way. The 2016 World Water Development Report examines the links between water and jobs, employment and economic development. The key findings of the report are summarised below.