Stockholm Water Front | August 22, 2006
An exciting and impassioned Opening Session took place on Monday. H.R.H. The Prince of Orange, Stockholm Water Prize Laureate Asit Biswas and Swedish Minister for International Development Carin Jämtin welcomed, challenged and inspired the more than 1,000 audience members.
Citing the elegant words of W.H. Auden, “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water,” H.R.H. The Prince of Orange recounted the successes in water and development in recent years. But he also challenged the Week’s participants co show “vision and genuine leadership” and achieve more.
Stockholm Water Prize Laureate Asit Biswas provoked much thought: there is no water crisis; ruralisation is the problem; and mega-forums on water issues are a waste of time and money, he said. He went on to say that the very forum in which he was speaking was in danger of being irrelevant if, like many other conferences, it only rehashed the “same old stuff” and not only reinvented the wheel but “reinvented the wood that the wheel is made of.”
Also speaking at the morning session were Doris Ombara of the WWF/East Africa, SIWI Executive Director Anders Berntell, Herb Gray of the IJC, Tabeta Matiza Chiuta of IUCN, Frank Rijsberman from IWMI, and Prof. Chennat Gopalakrishnan from University of Hawaii at Manoa.
No doubt, attendees left the Opening Session challenged and inspired.