International Coalition denounces World Water Forum's privatization agenda
Speaker Maude Barlow defends drinking water as a public right, not corporate cash cow.
ISTANBUL, TURKEY, March 19, 2009 — Senior Advisor to the United Nations General Assembly and Food & Water Watch Board Chair Maude Barlow, along with advocates from an international coalition on water justice issues, today denounced the World Water Forum's position on water privatization and defended public access to clean, safe water as a human right. Conceived as a counter-event to the World Water Forum, today's protest opposed the forum's support of the privatization of municipal water systems and urged the United Nations to take a greater role in delivering water to populations in developing nations.
The World Water Forum, organized and controlled by the World Water Council, has taken place this week in Istanbul. While the World Water Council has long touted the privatization of municipal water systems as a means of improving the welfare of communities in need, the reality is that water is being used to generate profit rather than to slake the world's growing thirst. The privatization of municipal water systems has caused conflicts around the world, and communities that have sold their water rights have faced limited access to water, higher tariffs, and poor water quality.
"For several years, the World Water Council has used this forum to create the illusion of global consensus around risky privatization schemes," said Barlow. "But privatizing water systems is not an effective means of delivering this essential resource to the 6.7 billion people who rely on it to live. Water is a public trust and a human right. It is not a commodity, nor should its value be determined by corporate interests."
Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer organization based in Washington, DC, works to ensure clean water and safe food in the United States and around the world. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.
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BTL:Global Activists To Protest Water Privatization at Istanbul Conference, by Scott Harris, Sarasota Indymedia, March 15 2009
Posted: March 19, 2009
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