October 15, 2019.
(BWS Side event)

Progresses needed in integrated lake basin management to mitigate water crisis
Targeting a lake development fund

The Lake Balaton Development Council convened a side event called “Progresses needed in integrated lake basin management to mitigate water crisis – Targeting a lake development fund” at the Budapest Water Summit in October 15, 2019.

The third Budapest Water Summit took place in Hungary in October 15-17, 2019. The three day conference under the motto ‘Preventing Water Crises’ aims to promote solutions that tackle the problems of the emerging water crises we have to face.

The event was opened by H.E. Mr. János Áder, President of the Republic, who emphasized “the drama of scarce water, too much water and polluted water is unfolding before our eyes”. In a video message, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stressed that access to water is recognized as a human right and everyone should have access to the clean water.

More than 2300 participants from 118 countries attended the event. Most of the guests came from Southeast Asia and Africa, mainly from those areas, which are already facing the problems of the water crisis on a daily basis. Participants could attend various high-level plenary sessions and side events at the conference. In addition, Water Expo was held aiming to display innovative water management technologies and solutions.

Participants of the summit agreed that water management is a trans-border problem. International cooperation is needed to prevent the global water crisis. The Summit aimed to raise awareness and encourage global decision makers, water professionals and representatives of funding institutions to take actions. During the closing session the Budapest Appeal was presented, a summary of recommendations on the way forward in water security issues.

The side event, organized by the Lake Balaton Development Council, called attention to the importance of the integrated management of lakes in order to prevent water crisis. The panel discussion was attended by Dr. Walter Rast, Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the International Lake Environment Committee (ILEC), Jörg Dürr-Pucher, Board member of Global Nature Fund (representing the Living Lakes Network), and Dr. Ferenc Jordán, Director of the Lake Balaton Limnological Institute. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Gábor Molnár, Managing Director of the Lake Balaton Development Coordination Agency.

The invited guests shared their experiences and gave suggestions for promoting the integrated management of lakes. Panelists agreed that lakes played outstanding role in providing drinking water, water transport, agriculture, tourism, flora and fauna and biodiversity. Lakes are extremely vulnerable areas, exposed to environmental changes, e.g. water quality and water quantity problems. Lakes are special areas with special development needs. However, currently there is no policy for the integrated development of lakes and their areas. Existing sectoral and integrated territorial policies do not manage lakes adequately in terms of their complexity and importance. Integrated program-based development of European lakes is needed, while taking local and regional needs into account. The implementation of integrated programs requires the provision of adequate financial resources, which would be ensured in the long term by the establishment of an international lake development fund.

The short video presented at the side event call the attention to the importance of the lakes and their integrated management. The following video, includes the main topics and key messages of the panel discussion: