President Dalia Grybauskaitė is leaving for a three-day working visit to Switzerland. The Lithuanian president will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos and visit the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).
President Dalia Grybauskaitė
© DELFI / Orestas Gurevičius

The theme of this year's World Economic Forum is the fourth industrial revolution.

Heads of state, 3,000 business representatives and visionaries will discuss how future generations could successfully adapt to rapid technological evolution and how to use innovative solutions to global economic, energy, medical, and climate change challenges.

This year, the World Economic Forum will be attended by presidents and prime ministers from 50 countries as well as by the UN, OECD, World Bank, and IMF leaders.

Grybauskaitė will take part in a high-level discussion on access to and ensuring the quality of the world's water resources held on the initiative of the UN and the World Bank. Grybauskaite and another 14 heads of state are invited to join the UN permanent working group which would take the lead in implementing the UN Water Agenda.

High pollution and climate change are making water scarcity a major problem. According to World Health Organisation data, 1.8 billion - one in four people on the planet - drink contaminated water and around 1,000 children die every day from diseases related to lack of water and sanitation. In the future, pollution and climate change can make water even less accessible and more expensive than gas or oil.

Lithuania is taken as a model example of how to use water in a sustainable way. The European Commission names Lithuania as one of the leaders in waste water management, and we are among the member states which almost totally comply with the EU requirements for drinking water quality.

The president will also speak about topics relevant specifically to Lithuania, like the Astravyets nuclear power plant which is being built in Belarus without observing international security standards. Lithuania fears that in case of an accident, contaminated water from the Neris river, which will be used to cool the facility, would reach the drinking water sources in Vilnius within a few days, contaminating not only the Neris but also the Nemunas basin and the Baltic Sea.

In Davos, the president will also attend a leaders' informal meeting to exchange views on the global challenges brought about by the migration wave and on ways to deal with them.

The president will take part in a high-level event held by the Women in Parliaments Global Forum - which brings together over 9,000 members - to discuss women's participation and leadership in politics and social life.

Grybauskaitė will also visit CERN, which is the largest research institution in the world with nearly half of all physicists on the planet doing their internship there.

Lithuania seeks to become an associate member of CERN. An official application document will be submitted in March.

Lithuania and CERN have been cooperating since 1993. Every year, over 20 Lithuanian scientists from Vilnius University, Kaunas University of Technology, and Vilnius Gediminas Technological University do their internships there. Special programs are offered for teachers and school students from Lithuania.

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