‘The war raging on the territory of our immediate neighbour, Ukraine, has an impact on us as well, and we are facing demographic decline and challenges that we have never experienced before,’ President Katalin Novák said on Thursday, 18 May during the Ligh-Level Meeting to review the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Enhancement of the United Nations in New York. ‘Hungary is a medium-sized country in the heart of Europe with a population of ten million. Despite not having a sea or other significant natural resources, we make outstanding efforts to assist those in need,’ the President began her remarks, drawing attention to the severe challenges currently affecting Europe, including the global pandemic, forest fires, floods, and the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Katalin Novák highlighted that since its launch in 2017, the Hungary Helps programme has supported approximately 300 humanitarian and rehabilitation projects in 54 countries, with a total value of over 100 million dollars. She mentioned that Hungary was among the first to aid Turkey after the earthquake in February, with 167 experts and 29 rescue dogs freeing 35 people from beneath the rubble. Additionally, Hungary provided over a hundred tonnes of medication and medical equipment to Turkey, and Hungarian experts are assisting in the reconstruction of several buildings.
‘We were there to help during the floods in Pakistan last year and the earthquake in Croatia the year before that,’ listed Katalin Novák, emphasising that these are just a few examples demonstrating the importance of not only protecting ourselves, but also supporting each other.
‘Whom do we want to save our planet for if not for the next generation?’
President Novák posed the question. ‘We need strong families that can teach our children how to take care of their environment and help those in need,’ the President emphasised.
‘Let us offer the future generation the hope of tomorrow, not war. Let us create a future filled with cradles, not graves,’ she recalled the words of Pope Francis during his visit to Hungary at the end of April. ‘Together, we can do more to build a secure and sustainable future. Hungary is ready to help,’ stated the Head of State. The President highlighted: ‘I am proud to be present at a meeting where the President of the General Assembly, Csaba Kőrösi, serves as the Vice President in charge.’ Novák expressed her gratitude to Kőrösi for his work over the past eight months.