Keynote address XXIII IAHR Biennial Congress, Ottawa, 21st August, 1989

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [UQ Library]On: 04 November 2014, At: 01:53Publisher: Taylor &amp; FrancisInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Journal of Hydraulic ResearchPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:</p><p>Keynote address XXIII IAHR BiennialCongress, Ottawa, 21st August, 1989Mr. S. LewisPublished online: 19 Jan 2010.</p><p>To cite this article: Mr. S. Lewis (1990) Keynote address XXIII IAHR Biennial Congress,Ottawa, 21st August, 1989, Journal of Hydraulic Research, 28:2, 129-138, DOI:10.1080/00221689009499081</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to orarising out of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms&amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>Stephen Lewis startles the conscience of his audience! </p><p>IAHR Council is happy to be able to give you herewith the full text of the enthralling open-ing speech of the XXIII IAHR Biennial Congress, delivered by Mr. Stephen Lewis currently of Stephen Lewis Associates and former Ambassador and Permanent Represen-tative for Canada to the United Nations. Professor Jack Lawson, President of IAHR was in the chair during the session when the address was delivered. </p><p>Mr. S. Lewis, Keynote speaker. </p><p>Keynote address XXIII IAHR Biennial Congress, Ottawa, 21st August, 1989 </p><p>Thank you immensely for so friendly and congenial an introduction. I am delighted and honoured to attend this Congress. I feel entirely privileged to address the opening session. I'm in a state of unceasing delight at the opportunity to return to my own country after spending four years amongst the Philistines of Manhattan. So when one returns to a crucible of enlightenment, particularly at a conference such as this, my soul is positively palpitating with enthusiasm. I'm also delighted to return to mortal status. It's a pleasure more than I can normally describe to be referred to simply as Mr. Lewis, and to be able to discard all that titular nonsense which the diplomatic core so lavishly embraces, running around calling each other Mr. Ambassador, or worse still, your Excellency. I'm a Democratic Socialist; you can imagine what that did to my </p><p>Mr. Lewis approved the transcript of his address on 26th January, 1990. </p><p>JOURNAL OF HYDRAULIC RESEARCH. VOL. 28. 1990. NO. 2 129 </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>UQ</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 01:</p><p>53 0</p><p>4 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>socialist soul. It's therefore intensely pleasing in this elegant and modest country, as Canada feels itself to be, to jettison titular self-aggrandizement, and to return to normal mortal activity. I have three disclaimers as I begin. Number One: I apologize for my reliance exclusively on the English language. I am one of those Canadians who is a hapless unilingual anglophone, and because I have reverence for language, I would not wish to do damage to the French language. Second, this is for me an absurdly early hour of the morning, it is undoubtedly for many of you an hour when you have been active for some time. I, on the other hand, regard it as indecent to have to disgorge a speech at 10:00 a.m. Just three days ago, for exotic health reasons, I stopped drinking coffee, and I am subject to serious withdrawal symptoms. If I should expire during the course of my remarks, I ask you to allow compassion to prevail. Finally, as all of you will recognize, I have utterly no expertise in the domain with which the IAHR is consumed. That hasn't stopped me before and it won't stop me today from making pronouncements that may be uninformed. But I do want to make it clear that I don't pretend to have a grip on the subject matter as such, although having read your programme, I realize that there are people in this audience, indeed all of you collectively, of enormous knowledge and authority, and I need not feel self-conscience about my own intellectual impotence. On the other hand, I think it fair to say that I found most of the subject matters of the research papers entirely incomprehensible. I read the titles and the subjects to my family last night around the dinner table and they looked at me with a faintly bizarre expression. It means, therefore, that I am speaking to an audience more than skilled in the intricacies, details and complexities of your own fields, and I want you therefore to allow me to wander a little and deal, as was suggested to me by the Conference organizers, with the Effects of Global Change, and put it in a context which all of you will find initially, faintly unorthodox, but I hope that by the time I have reached the end of my remarks the coherence will appear. I want to begin, as you can perhaps anticipate, by reverting to my experience at the United Nations as a peg on which to hang some opening observations. At the UN, as a Canadian, with a certain celebratory nostalgia. I am delighted with what I see has happened within the UN context. </p><p>Positive shift in international relationships The United Nations, an organization that was so often vilified and abused over the last many years by detractors on the right and on the left, sometimes informed, often witless and destructive - the United Nations has suddenly come into its own. It is experiencing an astonishing renais-sance in international approval, culminating in the winning of the Nobel Peace Prize, as all of you know, for peace keeping in 1988. When one looks back, it can be seen that things began to move, roughly at the end of 1987. Some historians may say that it coincides with the promulgation of Glasnost by Mikhail Gorbachev in September 1987. But things internationally over the last couple of years, began to focus on the United Nations, and between and among the super powers and related countries, in a way none of us would have thought imaginable just four or five years ago. I point out to you that the Soviet troops left Afghanistan; the Iran/Iraq war has reached a certain rapprochement and the carnage has, at least for the moment, ended; we may be on the verge of a certain breakthrough in Southern Africa - certainly we will see the independence of Namibia by the end 1990; it would appear that Vietnam will withdraw from Cambodia; it looks as though there can be peace in Central America if the Agreement of the five presidents recently reached is adhered to. In a variety of arenas around the world there are intractable regional conflicts which bedeviled and corrupted international society, and took a terrible toll on human kind. Those conflicts, </p><p>130 JOURNAL DE RECHERCHES HYDRAULIQUES. VOL. 28, 1990, NO. 2 </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>UQ</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 01:</p><p>53 0</p><p>4 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>within the last couple of years, have unexpectedly come to a certain resolution, and along with the resolution of regional conflicts there has been activity on the front of arms control and dis-armament that seems, in retrospect, again unimaginable. At the end of 1987, the Soviet Union and the United States signed a medium-range missile accord. The super powers are now seriously discussing a short-range missile accord in Eastern and Western Europe. There are discussions of conventional arms reduction in Eastern and Western Europe. The super powers are contemplating strategic arms reduction. The whole world is gathered, examining the prohibition of chemical, bacteriological and radiological weapons. It is an extraordinary shift in international political relationships, all of which, I am going to argue, have fundamental application to the work you do; and all of it occurring within the last couple of years. It is as though the hands of the doomsday clock have been pulled back from midnight and given humankind a breathing space. And it's utterly contagious, you know. The horrors that the world witnessed in Tienanmin Square may be extremely difficult for many of us to cope with emotion-ally and intellectually, but on the other hand, it demonstrated the power of international dissent. And if one looks at what is happening in Poland today, let alone the Soviet Union and some of the satellite countries, then it is a positive liberation of the human spirit, again in a fashion which was utterly beyond contemplation a few short years ago. </p><p>Economic divide between the developed and the developing world greater than ever I make these points at the outset to demonstrate what we all know, but what I think I can also demonstrate to be germane to my thesis. And that is, that there has been an astonishing sequence of political victories internationally since the fall of 1987; but what I want to point out to you, and I point it out with some considerable sadness verging on despair, there has been no equivalent activity on the economic front. The political front, yes; the economic front, no. Indeed in all my adult life, in international terms, I have never seen it worse. I have never seen a greater divide be-tween the developed and the developing world. There is no North/South dialogue. There are no global negotiations. There is a consistent abandonment of the developing world by the developed world on every front. It is desolating to imagine that those of us privileged enough to live in the developed world can consign hundreds of millions of people nay, billions of people, to a kind of permanent impoverishment, as the developed world secures its own wealth and privilege with enormous determination. Every single index by which we measure the future prospects for the developing world is in decline. Trade is in decline. Investment is in decline. Commodity prices are declining. Foreign aid is declining. Debt and debt service obligations positively strangle any prospects for economic recovery. There is also the emergence of the great international trading blocs. The North American Free Trade Alliance on one hand; the emergence of Europe in 1992 as the consummate international trading arrangement, 323 million people, $5 trillion of economic activity, twice that of Japan, more than that of the United States; and, Japan as the centerpiece of the Pacific Rim. All of these international trading blocs which are becoming the sine qua non of economic activity in the 1990's are sealing the fate of the developing world, utterly abandoned in the process. </p><p>Transfer of resources from the developed to the developing world essential to solution of environmental crises It seems to me that it is vital to recognize the curious equations or discontinuities which are occurring. On the one hand, this extraordinary political activity with all of the hope that it </p><p>JOURNAL OF HYDRAULIC RESEARCH, VOL. 28, 1990, NO. 2 131 </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>UQ</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 01:</p><p>53 0</p><p>4 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>engenders; on the other hand the refusal by the same major political powers to do something about the riveting economic injustices internationally. That, in turn, has enormous consequences for all of the environmental problems which you collectively will be examining, because you can't solve the environmental problems today without international collaboration. You cannot expect the developing world to collaborate with the developed world in the solution of environ-mental crises unless there is a transfer of resources. But there is absolutely no suggestion any-where that the developed world, which is so seized of environmental imperatives, is prepared to make the kind of transfer of technology, knowledge and resources which is necessary to provide for the necessary collaboration, which in turn is indispensable to a solution. As a matter of fact, let me give you a couple of figures which makes the point as powerfully as I would wish it to be made. Ten years ago, in 1979, the Developed World transferred to the Developing World net $40 billion. That is to say, the Developed World gave to the Developing World $40 billion over and above all of the payments it received by way of debt and debt servicing, etc. In 1989, ten years later, the Developing World, including the poorest countries on the face of the earth, pay net to the Developed World, $50 billion. That is, over and above all that we invest in them, trade with them, give to them by way of foreign aid - they return to us, net, over and above that - $50 billion. A shift of $90 billion in ten years! Now when you're dealing with environmental crises, when you're dealing with the implications which this world is now wrestling with, and when one understands the need to give to the Developing World the kind of capacity and resources necessary to respond, I want someone to explain to me how that is humanly possible when all of the momentum is in the opposite direc-tion. It takes me again to the environment, because it is around the environment that inter-national society must be engaged. </p><p>Environmental crisis coming to attention You will surely agree with me that the environmental preoccupation, the "idee fixe" of the environment, in 1989, is again an astonishing metamorphosis in a very few years time. In my country, in Canada, you can't turn around without having another dimension of the environmen-tal crisis coming to attention. We have, in Canada, a renowned international scientist and writer and thinker whose name will be known to you, a lovely and remarkable fellow named David Suzuki. For the last five weeks on one of the major Canadian CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Sunday programs, David Suzuki has done an hour-long documentary each week called "A Matter of Survival" - a stunning compendium of all of the environmental issues inter-na...</p></li></ul>