Addresses by His Majesty the Emperor (2022)

Addresses by His Majesty the Emperor

Remarks by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan The 9th World Water Forum (through Video)


Remarks by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan The 9th World Water Forum

March 21st, 2022
Dakar, Republic of Senegal

Your Excellency Mr. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal
Mr. Loic Fauchon, President of the World Water Council
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 I am delighted to participate through video in the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar, Republic of Senegal, the city that has fostered water and greenery, under the theme of “Water Security for Peace and Development”. I thank Your Excellency President Macky Sall, for your invitation and the Government of the Republic of Senegal, the World Water Council and all people associated with the Forum for organizing the conference despite the various challenges under the COVID-19 pandemic.

 This 9th Forum is being held in Africa for the first time since the first Forum in Morocco a quarter century ago. Water plays a critical role on this continent where rapid socio-economic development is taking place. The annual rate of economic growth in Africa is over 3%, and that of the urban population is around 3.6%, that is twice as much as that of the world average. Hydropower production in the continent is expected to nearly triple by 2040. Water demand in major water-related sectors such as food, drinking water, sanitation and electric power are expected to increase rapidly. Africa is the continent to which higher attention will be given in the water section as its socio-economic and water demand are growing quickly. Indeed, I was impressed with the remarkable size of the Akosombo Dam in Ghana when I visited it in 2010. I recognized the importance of hydropower in the region when I learned that the power it generates is exported across its borders to the neighboring countries.

 Regional socio-economic development as well as global challenges, such as climate change, should be addressed in a holistic manner when discussing the issue of “Water Security for Peace and Development”. I served on the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, or UNSGAB, as the Honorary President for 8 years from 2007. UNSGAB helped bring about the African Union Water Summit in 2008, which the group had proposed as one of its main recommendations in the “Hashimoto Action Plan”. The Declaration of the AU Water Summit called for putting in place adaptation measures to improve the resilience of the countries to the increasing threat of climate change and variability to water resources. COP27 will be held this year in the same city of Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt as the AU Water Summit. I sincerely hope that the spirit of the AU Water Summit is remembered in COP27, to deepen the discussion on the issue of water and climate change, and lead to concrete action on the subject.

 The persisting COVID-19 pandemic made us realize that water and sanitation are fundamental to maintain our health. Securing water in areas affected by disasters or conflicts is also a major challenge. Efforts need to be accelerated to meet the SDG targets of achieving universal access to safe and affordable drinking water for all, as well as access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all. The situation also raises for all of us a critical question as to how concretely we can contribute to addressing various water challenges such as water and sanitation, cooperation between the water sector and food-energy sectors, water-related disasters, water environment and Integrated Water Resources Management, while at the same time coping with global challenges, such as climate change and recurrent threats such as the pandemic ― inter alia ― by undertaking trans-sectoral collaboration in an inclusive, sustainable and resilient manner.

 In this context, the United Nations 2023 Water Conference, the first UN conference dedicated to water since the one in Mar del Plata in 1977, will be a significant occasion for the future of water. I hope that this Forum in Dakar, which is positioned as one of the major preparatory events in the lead-up process to the UN conference, will bring about a fresh approach to the water agenda in Africa and globally to help achieve our goal. The outcome will be further developed in the 4th Asia Pacific Water Summit in Kumamoto, Japan, as well. I hope that this sequence of major preparatory events will lead to fruitful discussions and action in the UN 2023 Water Conference.

 Water circulates through oceans, land, and atmosphere, and thereby nurtures all living things. I sincerely wish all people on earth will share water and nature’s blessings and care for one another, and move on together towards prosperity and happiness for all. We are still in the midst of our long journey to fully meet the water challenges. I believe, however, that we will be able to address the intricate challenges at local levels if each of us learn from history and the experience of the relationship between water and mankind, share insights gained from good practices in various regions, and foster a water culture, which will lead to the peace and development of our society. I wish that we will be able to advance cross-fertilization on water issues through dialogue and actions in this forum and beyond, leading to a peaceful world in which people and societies are closely connected and mutually understood across borders. With the hope of making solid progress, I, too, will continue to pay sincere interest in water issues.

 Thank you.

Address by His Majesty the Emperor at the Opening Ceremony 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit(Online Attendance)(April 23, 2022)(Kumamoto-jo Hall)

 Prior to my address, I would like to express my sincere condolences to all the victims of the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake and the heavy rains in recent years such as those of 2020. I would hereby extend my deepest sympathies to families in bereavement and also to those who survived the catastrophies. I hope that recovery from the disasters will proceed smoothly and steadily.

Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,

 I am delighted to join online with all of you from the Asia-Pacific Region along with the rest of the world in the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit held in Kumamoto City.

 The host city of Kumamoto is blessed with water. Abundant groundwater is distributed to all of its 740,000 citizens from this single source of water supply, which is actually an exceptional case in the world. The municipality, private sectors and citizens are jointly engaged in activities to foster groundwater and conserve the aquatic environment so that this rich resource is securely passed on to the next generation. The city has been on the way to recovery after having been severely affected by the Kumamoto Earthquake. It is thus meaningful that the Summit is being held with the theme of “Water for Sustainable Development - Best Practices and the Next Generation” in this sustainable and resilient city.

 Water is at the origin of all living things. While water benefits us in so many ways, it also threatens us in the form of water-related disasters, such as flooding. Water is a cross-cutting issue that is closely connected to poverty, education, gender and other issues of the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs. We were in fact reminded how water and sanitation is fundamental in maintaining our health when the COVID-19 pandemic threatened us all. It is also a significant challenge to secure water and sanitation in areas affected by disasters or conflicts.

 It is hoped that the leaders of countries participating in the Summit will share their visions and thoughts. International organizations, national agencies, NGOs, experts, and many others are expected to bring together their wisdom through discussions and try to find solutions for various water challenges and turn them into concrete action. I understand that many young people have also been invited to the Summit. It is very meaningful that the youth, who will take up the challenges of the future, should join in discussions and action on water throughout the region, and I look forward to their contributions.

 The United Nations will hold a conference dedicated to water next year for the first time in 46 years. I sincerely hope that this 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit will bear fruitful results and become a momentous step towards meeting water challenges in the Asia-Pacific Region and around the world, and thereby will bring about peace and happiness for all human beings.

 Thank you very much.