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Katalin Novák: the war in Ukraine and the demographic crisis are threatening Europe

"The war in our immediate neighbourhood, in Ukraine, also affects us, and we are also confronted with demographic challenges and a population decline never seen before " – said President Katalin Novák in New York on Thursday, at the conference organised under the auspices of the Sendai Framework for Reducing Disaster Risk and Increasing Resilience. 

Hungary is a medium-size country in the heart of Europe with a population of 10 million people. We have no seas, nor significant natural resources. However, relative to our resources and local conditions, we have made outstanding efforts to help those in need – the President began her speech, warning about the serious challenges affecting Europe currently, including the pandemic, forest fires, floods and the war raging in Ukraine. 

Katalin Novák highlighted that since its launch in 2017, the Hungary Helps Programme has supported roughly 300 humanitarian and rehabilitation programmes in 54 countries, in the value of more than a hundred million USD. As the President pointed out, Hungary was one of the first to rush to Türkiye’s aid in the aftermath of the earthquake in February. 

The President explained: with 167 experts and 29 rescue dogs, Hungarians saved a total of 35 people from beneath the rubble. Beyond this, Hungary also provided Türkiye with hundreds of tons of medicines and medical equipment, and Hungarian experts assisted in the reconstruction of several buildings.
"We were there and helped at last year’s floods in Pakistan, and at the earthquake in Croatia in the year before that" – Katalin Novák enumerated. These are just a few of the examples illustrating the importance of not just protecting ourselves but also helping one another. 

"In fact, whom do we want to save our planet for if not for the next generation?" – Katalin Novák raised the question. 

"We need strong families where we can teach our children how to take care of their own environment and help those in trouble " – the President emphasized. 

"Let us give a future of hope, not of war, to the next generation. A future of cradles, not of graves" – the President quoted the words of Pope Francis, uttered during the Holy Father’s visit to Hungary at the end of April. 

„Together, we can do even more to build a secure and sustainable future. Hungary is ready for a dialogue” – the Head of State said. 

The Head of State underlined: "I am proud that I can attend a meeting presided over by the Hungarian President of the UN General Assembly, Csaba Kőrösi”. 

Katalin Novák thanked Csaba Kőrösi for his work over the last eight months. 

Following the session of the UN’s Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Head of State had  a meeting with the President of the General Assembly, a Hungarian, and expressed her thanks in person. Katalin Novák also conducted a brief consultation with Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction.