Ladies and gentlemen,
In recent years, around 2 400 participants from more than a hundred countries have participated in the World Water Week in Stockholm. The events have become a focal point on the calendar of the world's leading experts and decision makers on water, development and sustainability issues.
We are pleased to provide such a platform for discussions in Stockholm and Sweden, on how to find solutions to important international water challenges and a forum for exchange of views and experiences.
This year, both the World Water Week and the Stockholm Water Prize are celebrating their 20th anniversaries. I remember the discussions 20 years ago on the idea of establishing a Water Prize as well as organising a Water Symposium to give the Stockholm Water Festival a "more serious touch." Today we know what a good idea that was.
As Patron of the Stockholm Water Prize, I am pleased to see the positive development of the Prize activities. Motivated and inspired people have been the driving force behind this. Of greatest importance is also the support from the City of Stockholm and from many donors and sponsors.
Today, the Stockholm Water Prize is considered the most prestigious prize for outstanding achievements in the water world. Thank you all for your engagement!
The theme of this year's World Water Week is "The Water Quality Challenge." Technologies, experiences, and resources have been discussed and demonstrated in order to deal with water management problems.
This morning I personally attended a seminar where the Stockholm Water Prize Laureates tried to look into the future and analyse the challenges the world will face 20 years from now. The debate, in three panel discussions, was very vigorous. It was impressive to see so many brilliant minds focusing on the same problems.
For example: How will we solve drinking water and sanitation issues in a future where more than half of the world population will be living in cities? Many wise and thought-provoking statements were made. Sunita Narain at the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi said: "We can put a man on the moon, but we can't invent a more efficient water closet."
I wish you all success in the years to come. Your duty is important to all of us! With these words I would like to thank you for an interesting seminar today and a delicious dinner tonight.