In his welcoming speech, Mayor of Debrecen László Papp said that “climate change is not sparing us, but we have the knowledge and the technological achievements that our generation can do to mitigate and perhaps prevent the harmful effects of extremes.”

He recalled that in recent years, a number of developments and investments have been made, all of which have contributed to: developing, but at the same time protecting Debrecen’s environment and natural treasures.

“Today, Debrecen is a city that is both a local player and a global one in the green transition. Our city has an impact on the world economy thanks to the investments made here, and at the same time we have a prominent role in Europe and thus globally in the green transformation of transport, and we have a prominent role in solving one of the most important challenges of the 21st century, the storage of green energy. Green energy cannot be used sustainably and efficiently without energy storage,” he stressed. He pointed out that there is no other city in Hungary today that has done so much for the protection of the environment, sustainability and a clean environment as Debrecen.

“Thanks to Civaqua, we have put our surface water management on a new footing. By the end of the cycle, we will have planted more than 10,000 trees in the city, surrounded our industrial areas with protective forests, set up solar power plants, converted public transport to electric power, and made our institutions more sustainable through energy-efficient renovations,” he said.

“We see our nature as our common heritage, and that means we have a duty to pass it on to our children and grandchildren in at least the same condition, if not better, as we have received it,” he said. He added that the individual measures would be worthless, however, if it had not been possible to create a movement, a cohesive community of enthusiastic, home-loving people committed to environmental protection: the Future of Debrecen.

István Láng, Director General of the National Water Directorate General, said that one of the fundamental segments of the city that will become a green watchdog is certainly water. Debrecen, he said, is an area at high altitude, whose water management depends more on local catchments than on large river basins. Speaking about the Civaqua programme, he said that the development started in the 1980s, but it took more than twenty-five years before the Tisza reached Debrecen today.

The conference then continued with a historical overview by Dr. György Dévai, Professor Emeritus, and a presentation by Dr. Csaba Aradi, ecological expert at Future of Debrecen.

This was followed by a panel discussion, which was also the first round table discussion of the Future Workshop. 

The joint initiative of Future of Debrecen, VOSZ (National Association of Entrepreneurs) and the Hajdú-Bihar County Chamber of Commerce and Industry was born in the spirit of cooperation and joint thinking. The aim of the Future Workshop is to discuss the current issues of Debrecen, to discuss the topics of most concern to the people of Debrecen, and to present ways and solutions. So for the first Future Workshop, there is no more appropriate topic than the Civaqua programme.

Prof. Dr. Sándor Kéki, member of the board of the working group responsible for the development of the Debrecen Environmental Monitoring System, said that science was put at the service of the people of Debrecen in the development of the Environmental Monitoring System. Together with the colleagues of the internationally renowned professor, the scientific pillars of the Environmental Monitoring System have been developed and will soon be presented to the citizens of Debrecen.

He added that the aim of the Environmental Monitoring System is to present and monitor the biodiversity that determines the quality of life of the citizens of Debrecen. “The Environmental Monitoring System will monitor the status and changes of water, air, soil and biodiversity throughout the city. We will be able to measure, for example, the extent to which the afforestation programme and Civaqua have improved the city’s air and the biological improvements that the presence of water has brought.”

He stressed that the Environmental Monitoring System is in fact a monitoring system that can distinguish between industrial and residential emissions. This guarantees the safety of the people of Debrecen.

The next speaker was Prof. Dr. István Szűcs, the professional leader of the Debrecen Environmental Protection Programme working group, who spoke about the new environmental policy of Debrecen in 2019. The Green Task Force was formed and together with the city’s leaders they started to develop and implement Debrecen’s long-term environmental programme. This led to the launch of the Future of Debrecen movement. “We don’t work for the desk, we believe in environmental action: the flagship of this is the Civaqua programme.”

István Szűcs underlined that the University of Debrecen and the city are jointly preparing Debrecen’s Environmental Protection Programme, which is being developed by Debrecen professors working with members of the Green Task Force. As a result, the knowledge will be used in Debrecen. In creating the Programme, Debrecen is seen to be on a firm footing on green issues and has long-term plans.

He then proposed to Mayor of Debrecen László Papp, on behalf of the programme’s creators, that Debrecen should apply for the title of “European Green Capital”, with the Environment Programme as the basic document.

István Szűcs concluded his presentation with the thought that “Debrecen should be a city that is green, where we develop based on local knowledge and guarantee the health, safety and well-being of the people of Debrecen.”

Ákos Balázs, Deputy Mayor of Debrecen concluded the conference by saying: “Debrecen is a green city and the green city of the future! The city’s goal is to build a healthy and green city, to give our children a growing, safe and green City of Hearts!

The deputy mayor highlighted that the people of Debrecen are proud of their local identity and its traditions. An important part of this process is to achieve the city’s goals while ensuring that sustainability and green aspects are implemented in all aspects of life. In terms of nature conservation, Civaqua is the solution, in terms of mobility, green energy electric buses, and in terms of the economy, green industry and green energy storage.

Ákos Balázs added that Debrecen has proven on several occasions in its history that it is a “guardian” city that looks after its important national and urban values and its citizens. In every era, it has relied on local knowledge and a high degree of cooperation, because these are the basic laws of the city.

Regarding the Civaqua programme, he stressed that the investment is a symbol of dreams coming true in Debrecen. The green vision of the city administration is a legacy, as generations pass it on.

Ákos Balázs pointed out that for them “Debrecen comes first.”

Source and photo credit: debrecen.hu

Author: Debrecen4U