Welkomstwoord van de Prins van Oranje bij de 17e UNSGAB vergadering in Bonn

14 november 2011

De toespraak is uitgesproken in het Engels.

Fellow Board members, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It really is a pleasure to open our 17th UNSGAB meeting in Germany. I would like to thank the Government of Germany and the ministry for environment, nature conservation and nuclear safety as well as the ministry for economic cooperation and development for inviting us to contribute to the Bonn2011 Conference and for generously hosting our meeting. I would also like to thank my energetic Vice-Chair Uschi Eid who has been instrumental in bringing us to Bonn. Uschi, I remember when you finally decided that you would not seek re-election for the German Parliament. We thought you would have lots of extra time. But instead of being less busy, I honestly think you now have even more responsibilities on your plate! I know the next few days will be especially intense given your role as vice-Chair of the Bonn conference International Steering Committee. It is also a pleasure to have Angel Gurria with us. We know your responsibilities with the OECD make it challenging for you to join our meetings, but your continuing support for water and sanitation within the OECD is both impressive and appreciated. Mr. Stelzer, it is a pleasure to have you with us again to represent the UN.

We are very pleased to have Dr. Konukiewitz representing the German ministry for economic cooperation and development. This will be a demanding week for the ministry and so we thank you for taking the time to be here this morning. On behalf of all our Board members, we are looking forward to engaging in the Bonn2011 dialogue. But before the Nexus conference even starts, we have much to accomplish during our 17th Meeting. We will have the opportunity to consider in more depth our 3 main policy positions for Rio+20, which as I will argue in my opening remarks to the Bonn conference, are all critical Nexus issues.

One of our policy positions for Rio+20 is the need for a global discussion and an international vision for wastewater collection, treatment and reuse. This issue is gaining traction partly thanks to the efforts of our Board members and in particular Margret, Gerard and Olivia. When our Board members talk about a wastewater revolution people listen! It is crystal clear that given urbanization trends and the increasing pressure on water resources there must be a tangible change in the way we deal with wastewater. Gerard wrote an excellent paper about waste water and I'm looking forward considering this issue later this morning.
At our last meeting, we launched the Sustainable Sanitation: Drive to 2015 along with the Secretary-General, Tony Lake of UNICEF and Maria Mutagamba who I'm delighted is with us today. Now we will have a chance to think strategically about our contributions to the Drive and how we can ensure it is a vibrant and productive campaign.

Our Water and Disaster Working Group has been active over the last several months preparing for an ambitious workplan. Every time we meet there are more major water related disasters that have devastated countries across the world. Recently, Thailand has suffered under the worst flooding in 50 years, hundreds have died and the economic impact is in the billions. Any global plan for the future must include disaster preparedness. We will have the opportunity to discuss how the High-Level Expert Panel on Water and Disaster can contribute to this discussion in the coming year.

The financing group wants to continue its cooperation with the World Bank on access of local utilities to financial markets. After a successful exercise in Peru we want to motivate the Bank to do similar studies in Africa. Francois will represent UNSGAB at the Aid Effectiveness conference in Busan. We are obliged to provide him with some strong messages focusing on increasing leverage and impact of ODA in the water and sanitation sector.

For the work on monitoring I feel we should really make use of the upcoming milestone event. Here in Bonn, in Marseille at the Sixth World Water Forum and in Rio to instill our ideas. This is part of the process leading to ensuring that the Post 2015 development framework includes strong targets for both sanitation and water.

>Thanks again to Germany, Uschi, and all the UNSGAB members for your dedication to our work. I'm looking forward to working with you in the days ahead.