Señora María Ignacia Benítez, Ministra del Medio Ambiente,
Señor Alvaro Fischer, Presidente de Fundación Chile,
Estimados Representantes del Gobierno de Chile,
Estimados socios de Suizagua Andina Chile,
Estimados representantes de ONGs y del sector privado,
Damas y caballeros,
El agua es todo! El agua juega un papel central en todos los aspectos de la vida, el medio ambiente y nuestras economías, la seguridad alimentaria y la producción, la política y incluso la religión. Water stands at the centre of nearly every global challenge. It’s like water flowing in a riverbed, reaching even the tiniest crack and the furthest gap. Climate change, health, nutrition, environment, transportation, political conflicts; all these and many more are directly linked to water. Water is life!
Even if freshwater is a renewable resource, its worldwide available total amount is constant. On the other hand the demand for freshwater is dramatically increasing. While the world´s population has tripled during the last century, the water demand has increased six-fold. Furthermore, it is predicted that by 2030, as the population will top 8.3 billion people, the global demand for freshwater will be 40% higher than the available amount. And climate change will even augment the gap. These are not only impressive figures: this is an alarm we should all listen to.
Feeding a world of 8 billion people will require a much more efficient use of water. This is particularly true for agriculture, but also for energy generation, cooling, extraction or production. Giving people enough to drink has to come first!
Many of today’s challenges call for innovations – not only technological, but also social or institutional. Science and young brains are necessary. New alliances for transformation and development are needed.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Switzerland’s foreign policy defends both interests and values. And in many questions, like the question of water, interests and values coincide.
As the water tower of Europe with abundant water resources, we would like to believe that Switzerland is immune from global freshwater challenges. This is not the case! Since we import products – in particular food – that are water intensive, Switzerland’s water footprint is created above all outside the country and often in regions where water resources are scarcer than in ours. We have a responsibility, and we want our partners to enjoy human and economic development, as well as stability. This underlines the relevance of Switzerland’s solidarity and responsibility to contribute to resolving global water issues.
Despite the enormous challenges, I strongly believe and hope that we are able to avoid a major global water crisis. Actually, we have no choice. Because if we fail, this would be a huge cause for violence, wars and instability that will affect us all. All pillars of society and broad international cooperation are required. Joint efforts based on strategic and reinforced partnerships are needed.
Señoras y Señores,
Qué mejor ilustración puede haber de un tal partenariado, si no es la iniciativa SuizAgua Andina!
Beyond corporate social responsibility this project aims at creating and delivering on shared value, creating win-win outcomes that strengthen society as well as satisfy the profit motive.
Suizagua Andina will help partner companies to measure and reduce their water footprint, to implement water-focused social responsibility actions, This initiative will also enrich the development of ISO standards on water footprints.
It´s for me a great pleasure to witness today these “Voluntary Agreements” with two Swiss and Chilean companies – Polpaico and Clariant - ready to embark on a common journey towards sustainability, to pave the way for many others… to assume responsibility and to show solidarity.
Las semillas de la transformación están creciendo. Quisiera concluir deseando a todos los socios de Suizagua Andina Chile un exitoso desarrollo del proyecto y que inspiren a muchos más a unirse al movimiento. Qué como el agua que corre, este lindo proyecto toque todo y se infiltre hasta en el último rincón!