2017-08-30

H.M. Konungens tal vid Stockholm Water Prize, Stockholm, onsdagen den 30 augusti 2017

(Det talade ordet gäller)

Mister President, First Lady,
Ministers, Excellences, Laureates,
Ladies and gentlemen.

Water knows no boundaries. It flows through cities, over mountains and across continents. No matter what borders we draw, water will find its way through. It connects countries and people.

But, as the world’s population grows, so does the demand for water. This places a tremendous stress not only on water resources, but on diplomatic relations. Nearly 40 per cent of the world’s population lives in countries that share one or more river basins.

This year’s laureate, professor Stephen McCaffrey has served as counsel in many interstate disputes over shared water resources. He has shown that through diplomacy and effective law making, water can be shared peacefully – becoming a catalyst for cooperation, rather than conflict.

This year’s theme for World Water Week is called “Water and waste: reduce and reuse”.

In Sweden, we use more than 150 litres of fresh water per person and day. This is an enormous luxury compared to other parts of the world; or an incredible waste, depending on how you look at it.

The last two summers, though, large parts of our country have experienced drought. Shortage of water has affected farmers, businesses and households. We have all had to realize that we cannot take water for granted – and to think more carefully about how we use it.

As you may have noticed during your stay here in Stockholm, many of our buses and taxis run on biogas. And just like we use the power of waste to power vehicles, light homes and nourish farmland, we need to start thinking about wastewater as a possible resource. We need to find new ways to use our common resources wisely and sustainably – this is a most urgent task. And we need to foster innovation.

For the last 21 years, my daughter, Crown Princess Victoria, has been Patron of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. This is a most important prize, celebrating ambition and creative thinking among the next generation of leaders and scientists.

This week we have once again seen how water can serve as a connector, bringing together:
youth and experience;
the civil society and the business sector;
and new ideas with tested ones.

The World Water Week brings us together to innovate and inspire. But even more important: it provides us with an opportunity to listen and learn from each other.

Ladies and gentlemen, I urge you all to make the most of that opportunity. Just like water knows no boundaries, we need to work across borders to ensure a water–wise–world.

Thank you.