As a side event of the Water Summit held between 28-30 November in Budapest, a seminar dealing with transboundary water dispute prevention and settlement in Europe was organised at the National University of Public Service on the 1st of December.
The event was jointly organised by the Implementation Committee of the Water Convention adopted in 1992 in Helsinki and the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies of the National University of Public Service (NUPS). The seminar included the presentations of the chair and other members of the Committee, as well as panel discussions involving all the participants.
The seminar was moderated by Mr Balázs HEINCZ, water coordinator at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose introduction was followed by the speeches of Prof. Attila TANZI, Chair of the Implementation Committee, Prof. Stephen MCCAFFREY, former special rapporteur of the UN International Law Commission and Mr. Gábor BARANYAI, director of the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies of NUPS. Their presentations discussed the nature of transboundary water conflicts, lessons of inter-state water dispute settlement in the United States and beyond along with water disputes in the EU.
The Implementation Committee was established in the framework of the Water Convention adopted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe with the aim of facilitating, promoting and ensuring the implementation of the Convention.
The seminar was closely connected to the Water Summit that was attended by nearly 1800 participants from 117 countries, during which NUPS was also represented. During the three days of the conference heads of states and governments, ministers, high-level representatives of international organisations as well as actors of the private sector, civil society and scientific life discussed issues related to water, sanitation and sustainable water management.
The National University of Public Service was the first in Europe to host a training on the transition to low-carbon society in co-operation with Climate KIC, one of Europe’s largest climate innovation centres. The workshop was led by Jon Bloomfield, Research Professor at the University of Birmingham and Christoph Auch RIC Education Leader.
The two-day training was aimed at policy-makers, researchers and crucial players of the academic sphere. The purpose of the workshop was to enable participants to cope with climate related issues at an institutional level and to become proponents of introducing low-carbon practices within their respective organisations. In addition, the training introduced methods supporting system-level thinking.
Climate change is one of the greatest social challenges of the 21st century the solution of which is raising public awareness. This challenge was also recognized by the European Union which has ambitious plans for 2020 and 2030. Decision-makers agree that the goals will not be easy to reach, as this would require deep changes in work and in other fields of life as well.
The problem in hand seems sometimes quite distant, however, Hungary cannot be unconcerned. President János Áder said: “We have a common responsibility in speaking about the problem of climate change, to look for solutions, to adapt, to prepare and we have a common responsibility in doing something against climate change as well. We have to decide whether we wait for the harmful processes to become irreversible or we do something for the future of our children and grandchildren.”
The National University of Public Service is planned to have a unique knowledge centre that would provide guidelines in current issues of sustainability with the support of its partners.