Hungary launched the initiative of an ASEM Sustainable Development Dialogue by hosting the first event of the sequence of seminars in 2012 in Budapest, focusing on the “Role of Water in Sustainable Regional Development Strategies”.

The so-called Budapest Initiative enables ASEM Partners to regularly discuss water management related issues. Participating countries agreed to reinforce collective efforts to promote the sustainable use and management of water resources. The overall objective was to ensure the right to access safe drinking water and sanitation, full policy coherence and well-functioning water-related ecosystems. Sharing experience and best practices between macro-regional development strategies such as the Danube Region Strategy or the Greater Mekong Subregion can provide additional benefits for other subregional initiatives by significantly strengthening interregional co-operation capacities.

Taking into consideration the results of the previous ASEM Sustainable Development Dialogues (#ASEMSDD), Hungary has decided to organise the subsequent seminar in 2018 hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We are guided by the ambition to further stimulate the available cooperative mechanisms towards harmonized water resources management in Asia and Europe.

The 7th ASEM Sustainable Development Dialogue, held in Budapest in September 2018, will be structured around the following five thematic axes:

  • focus on relevance of accelerated urbanization and sustainable use of water resources
  • water quality management regarding hazardous substances, micro pollutants and plastic waste in water bodies, highlighting state-of-art solutions and application of circular economy;
  • water allocation on transboundary basins, including water scarcity and drought management, the quality and quantity of surface and groundwaters;
  • increased preparedness and resilience of regions via water-related disaster management as an answer to the negative impacts of climate change; and
  • showcase possibilities and identify barriers of modern education in the 21st century to increase capabilities of the water sector.

The two-day event was financed by Hungary and hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The organisers expect approximately 150 participants – high-level representatives and experts from ASEM countries, European External Action Service, the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat, including government officials, scholars, researchers, regional and international institutions/organisations, local authorities as well as the non-governmental and business sectors. The working language of the event was English.

ASEM partners were requested to delegate speakers to the Seminar, contributing with comments and suggestions to the provisional agenda of the event as well as the final document.

For more information please download the Concept Paper and the Final programme!