“We want to be active, open and smart”, said Peter J Kalas upon taking the ICPDR presidency. “Sustainability is not enough – nowadays we need smart sustainability to be successful.”
Mr Kalas expressed his appreciation for the past presidency of Croatia and acknowledged future presidencies of the European Union and Germany, before outlining his priorities for 2016.
In particular, these include flood issues alongside with droughts; the implementation of the two management plans – the DRBM Plan Update 2015 and the 1st FFRM Plan adopted last December – through the ICPDR contracting parties; as well as the fostering of existing cooperation in the region.
Mr Kalas proposed concrete actions in line with each of these three priorities. These actions range from strengthening resilience against climate change, to knowledge transfers, to cross-links with other cooperation mechanisms such as EUSDR, business initiatives, or the Carpathian Convention (which is also presided by the Czech Republic in 2016).
Looking back at a distinguished career in public and political offices, Mr Kalas approaches his presidency with a clear vision on global trends. He emphasised that the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG6 (water and sanitation) will focus efforts world-wide on issues related to the work of the ICPDR.
Other SDGs with links to water, such as food security, affordable and clean energy, climate action and life below water, will add to this momentum, just as the outcome of the COP21 in Paris last month did.