Young people making a difference for the environment were honoured by “a very proud patron” when Crown Princess Victoria delivered a special video message for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize 2020 on Tuesday.
Participants from about 30 countries took part in the competition, an international science prize for young people aged 15 through 20. The digital award ceremony was held in conjunction with World Water Week.
“This past half-year during the Covid-19 pandemic, I have spent a lot of time reminding my children to wash their hands,” Crown Princess Victoria said in her speech. “At the same time around the world, 785 million people do not have access to clean water. Nor are three billion people able to wash their hands with soap and water.”
“This is just one example of how access to water is brutally unequal,” Victoria continued. “Indeed, when it comes to water, we as a world face some major challenges. There may be too little water, too dirty, or too much – all causes of disease, poverty and conflict.”
This year’s winners of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize were announced by the Crown Princess as Hiroki Matsuhashi and Takuma Miyaki from Japan. The duo “came up with a creative solution to combat soil erosion,” according to the Swedish Royal Court.
Crown Princess Victoria praised the drive of the winners as well as all the finalists she’s met during her time working with the Prize, saying she was “not at all surprised that many ideas that started as Stockholm Junior Water Prize projects have proved to be important innovations, changing many lives for the better.”
“Over the years, as patron of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, I have had the privilege of meeting many young finalists and winners from all over the world,” Victoria, who has served as patron of the Prize since 1994, said. “I always cherish those meetings because they fill me with hope. Hope that when bright young minds come together, even the most complicated problems can be solved.”
World Water Week 2020 is being held digitally this week from 24-28 August with the title “WWWeek At Home.” Organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute, the event welcomes experts, decision-makers, and innovators from across the globe to discuss water-related issues.