Statement on Water by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the Budapest Water Summit (November 28-30, 2016)

Dear friends,

It is a special privilege to address the distinguished participants of the Budapest Water Summit, which has been organized by the Hungarian Government under the high patronage of His Excellency President János Áder.

As you may be aware, both the theme and the venue of your important gathering are very close to the heart and ministry of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Indeed, almost two decades ago, we addressed the authorities and people of Budapest during our Third International, Inter-Religious and Inter-Disciplinary Symposium, entitled “The Danube: A River of Life.” It was a unique event – sailing along the Danube from Germany to Romania in October of 1999, with religious and political leaders, as well as scientists, activists and journalists – highlighting the pollution of cities along this great river.
At that time, we underlined that the church cannot be solely interested in the salvation of the soul, but is deeply concerned with the transformation of God’s entire creation. Therefore, what is a threat to nature is also a threat to humankind; just as what is for the preservation of the planet is for the salvation of the whole world.

Water is as life-giving and sacred as the blood that runs through our body. It does not belong to any individual or any industry, but is the inviolable and non-negotiable right of every human being.

Unless we appreciate the danger – perhaps even sinfulness – of refusing to share the planet’s natural resources, we will inevitably face serious challenges and conflicts. Sustainability is not just sound technology and good business. Sustainability is the way to peaceful coexistence.

We wish you every success in the deliberations and decisions of your vital summit. May God bless you all