The Prime Minister of Morocco, Saad Dine el Otomani, awarded the King Hassan II Great World Water Prize to the Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurría this Monday.

As he could not attend, due to the fact he was at the G20 meeting in Bueno Aires, Gurría sent a video with his thank you speech, emphasizing that for at least a decade he has defended that the organization take a closer look at water, along with other issues, such as migration.

"Today, 3.5 billion people lack access to sanitation and more than 2 live with water stress. There are other challenges that do not always appear in the newspapers and that are equally devastating, like the millions of children who cannot go to school because there are no bathrooms," said Gurría. "The solution for this problem is cross-sectional and involves different actors. The OECD will continue working in water management," he added.

The award, offered by the Moroccan Government along with the World Water Council, is bestowed every three years at the opening ceremony of the World Water Forum and in 2018 aims to recognize initiatives that ensure solidarity, inclusion and global water security. The awardee is gifted a check for US$100 million, a trophy and a certificate.

Charafat Afailal El Yedri, President of the award’s jury, pointed out that the goal of the initiative is to emphasize technological resources to ensure water safety. She also celebrated the 92 entries in this edition. "It was the highest number of participants since the first edition in 2000. It reaffirms the quality of projects and proposals," she stressed.

Saad Dine el Otomani expressed concern with the availability of water for future generations. "Water does not belong exclusively to the current generation. We must leave it for future generations."

In 2003, in Kyoto, Jerson Kelman, former president of the Brazilian Water Agency, received the award along with Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation from Egypt. Three years later, in Mexico City, Torkil Jønch Clausen Denmark was the chosen one.

In Istanbul, Turkey, in 2009, the winner was the Kuwaiti Abdulatif Al-Hamad Youssef, Administrator for the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD). In 2012, at the French city of Marseille, The Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) was the laureate. In 2015, the recipient was businessman Maman Abdou, from Niger.