In the event, which moreover inaugurated the company’s new auditorium, Àgora Agbar, in the Museu Agbar de les Aigües, Angel Simón requested "effort and involvement" to help achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals: "We have achieved the drinking water goal but not the one on sanitation, and in some areas of sub-Saharan Africa we have not attained any of the objectives established. We need to make a collective effort to ensure the right to water and sanitation for everyone in the world". "In Agbar, we have already set out along the path of sustainable development. We have set ourselves internal criteria to limit the carbon and water footprint in order to be energy self-sufficient”, indicated Angel Simón, for whom “the management of resources must necessarily be sustainable”.
Agbar’s Executive Chairman also referred to the company’s social involvement: “We would like it not to be necessary but, while there are families going through difficulties, the social subsidies and our collaboration with institutions such as the Red Cross, Cáritas and the Astoreca Foundation in Chile will continue over the coming years”. Since its creation in 2012, the Agbar Foundation’s Solidarity Fund has granted 30,000 subsidies which have benefited 9,000 families.
In her intervention, Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former Prime Minister of Norway and member of the United Nations High Level Global Sustainability Panel, reviewed the challenges of 2015 in relation to climate change, paying particular attention to the protection of water resources, a key point for sustainable development and a central element of World Water Day 2015, which the UN celebrates on 22 March. ‘‘The year 2015 is the year of hope for sustainable development. The effects of climate change can be seen on all continents, from the poorest to the richest countries, and do not only affect agriculture, water resources, human health and ecosystems, but also represent huge risks for economic stability and national security. It is therefore essential that governments stop thinking about themselves and end their work on a new universal climate agreement this year, stated Brundtland.
For the former Prime Minister, it is necessary “to lead all countries and all people toward an age of sustainable development and progress and, at the same time, to protect planet Earth”, for which “there is only one viable and acceptable alternative: a broad and coherent proposal to overcome poverty and guarantee dignity, human rights, healthcare and education for everyone”.
The event, which was attended by mayors, councillors and other officials from Barcelona Metropolitan Area, also included interventions by Ignacio Escudero, Director General of Aigües de Barcelona; Xavier Trias, Mayor of Barcelona and President of Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB), who defined Agbar “as a benchmark in social involvement”; Antonio Balmón, Mayor of Cornellà de Llobregat and Executive Vice-President of AMB; and José Montilla, former President of the Generalitat (autonomous government) of Catalonia.
The event also included a reading of poetry related to water by the Chilean poet Raúl Zurita, National Literature Award of Chile (2000), and a musical performance by the Escolanía de Montserrat.