(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and gentlemen, dear finalists of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize.
What will the world look like 25 years from now? I know I am not the only one asking that question.
We are living in an era of innovation. At great speed, science is breaking new ground, opening up new opportunities for humanity and for the planet that is our home. Our only home.
However, we are also becoming increasingly aware of how vulnerable that home is, and how severe the risks are that we are facing.
The latest special report from the IPCC, on the impacts of global warming, reminds us that the choices we make today will determine what future we will be living in, 25 years from now.
Dear finalists, I understand that to many of you, 25 years may seem like an incredibly long time. Of the global population, 40 per cent are younger than 25. But to me, it does not feel that long ago, that I was myself, around your age and first became Patron of this award.
Ever since then, the Prize has held a special place in my heart. Over the years, it has been a privilege to follow how it has evolved to become a global prize and competition, with participants from all over the world. The finalists keep finding new problems that they want to solve, and new solutions that really make a difference – changing the lives of so many people for the better.
For that reason, whenever I think of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, it makes me feel hopeful for the future. And I consider it a great privilege to be its Patron.
Dear finalists, your innovations are remarkable, and your passion for water and science is truly inspiring.
Today, as we celebrate your achievements and excellence, we should also acknowledge your perseverance – carrying out your projects at a time when many countries have been in lockdown and many schools have been closed.
As participants in the Stockholm Junior Water Prize you set an example to all of us. I am certain that you will continue to inspire people of all ages and that your creativity and innovations will play an important role in the next 25 years. I want to wish all of you the best of luck and look forward to seeing what you will accomplish in the future.
And now, it is my honour to announce the Stockholm Junior Water Prize winner 2021.
The winner is… Eshani Jha from the United States of America. Congratulations!