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21
Nyheter om den internasjonale vannsaken / Renewed attempt at imposing water privatisation on Greece
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Fredag 28. August 2015, kl. 18:59 »
Leaked EU memorandum reveals renewed attempt at imposing water privatisation on Greece
24 August 2015
Article
The stubborn and aggressive imposition of privatisation by Troika goes against the will of Greek citizens and represents a direct attack on democracy.
Authors
Satoko Kishimoto, Olivier Hoedeman
Projects
Water Justice
 
Greeks protest against privatisation of water / Photo credit http://www.amyntika.gr
 
The requirement to sell off €50 billion in public assets is one of the most controversial aspects of the ‘agreement’ that Eurozone countries and the Troika forced on the Greek government during mid-July’s “night of shame”.
Details of exactly what Greece is required to privatise have now emerged with the leaking of the "Memorandum of Understanding for a three-year ESM programme” prepared by the Troika’s International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank. [1] The leaked document lists 23 state assets, ranging from airports to service utilities, and presents precise steps and timelines for privatisation.
It comes as a shock that this list includes two large public water companies: Athens Water Supply & Sewerage S.A (EYDAP) and Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage S.A. (EYATH), which provide drinking water for the country's two biggest cities. The Troika had insisted on water privatisation in an earlier memorandum, but strong public opposition had blocked this proposal.
In June 2014 the Council of State, the country's highest administrative court, ruled that transferring a controlling stake in Athens' public water utility EYDAP to private hands was unconstitutional because of the responsibility of the state to protect citizens' fundamental right to health. [2] The new Memorandum foresees the sale of 11% of EYDAP shares, which seems minimal at face value, but given that 38.7% of EYDAP´s shares are already owned by private companies and individuals, it would leave 49.7% of the utility in private hands.
As for Thessaloniki, a non-binding referendum was held in May 2014, resulting in a 98% vote against water privatisation. This citizen-led initiative mobilised 218,002 voters and sent a crystal clear message rejecting the planned sale of 51% of EYATH shares to private investors (French water multinational Suez and Israel’s state-owned Merokot had shown interest). The leaked Memorandum now orders the liquidation of 23% of state-owned shares; knowing that another 26% are already in private hands, this would make the company 49% private.
In both cases, the Troika is demanding a selloff at the maximum level possible without directly conflicting with the court ruling. George Archontopoulos, the president of the Thessaloniki water workers’ union, fears that private investors "will be given management control as a present". Therefore "whether it is 49% or 51%, we oppose further privatization of the company", says Archontopoulos.
Rightly so because there are numerous examples of so-called public-private partnerships in which water multinationals own just under half of the shares but control the utility de facto. An ironic example is that of Germany´s capital Berlin, which sold off 49.9% of its water company (BWB) in 1999. Despite minority ownership, the private companies controlled management and were guaranteed high profits through secret contracts. In 2013, Berlin’s water was taken back in public hands, after almost 15 years of unpopular privatisation. As reported by The Guardian last week, the push by the German government and the EU institutions to privatise Greek water starkly contradicts the trend in the rest of Europe where cities are “remunicipalising” water after failed privatisation experiments. Germany’s water sector is overwhelmingly publicly-owned and publicly-managed and the German population enjoys high-quality water services provided by these public utilities.
Enough harm has been done already. The public water companies of Athens and Thessaloniki have been on the Athens stock exchange for nearly 15 years. Since then the number of employees in Thessaloniki decreased from 700 to 229. This is a very small number of water workers for a city over one million inhabitants and a 2,330-km piped network. In a comparable city like Amsterdam (1.3 million served population, 2,700 km network), the public water company employs 1,700 staff. Similar cuts have taken place in Athens.
The water utilities of both Athens and Thessaloniki are modern and well-functioning and there is no logical rationale for privatisation. Despite the severe social crisis in Greece, EYDAP and EYATH have been providing high quality, essential services at one of the most affordable tariffs in Europe. The companies are efficient and have healthy finances.
The Troika´s insistence on privatisation is driven by misguided ideology. For one, the sale of the water utilities shares will yield insignificant earnings when considering the big picture.
Worse, handing control over essential services to profit-driven multinationals presents serious risks for the most vulnerable among Greece’s crisis-hit population. The stubborn and aggressive imposition of privatisation goes against the will of Greek citizens and represents a direct attack on democracy. It is scandalous that the European Commission, one of the three institutions forming the Troika, ignores once again its EU treaty obligation to remain neutral when it comes to ownership of water services.[3]
 
 [1] The document is available via the website of German Green MEP Sven Giegold: Greece Memorandum of Understanding for a three year ESM programme http://www.sven-giegold.de/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MoU-draft-11-August.pdf
ANNEXES 1 HRDAF Asset Development Plan 30 July 2015 http://www.sven-giegold.de/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Privatisation-Programme.pdf
HRDAF Government Pending Actions 30 July 2015 http://www.sven-giegold.de/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Government-Pending-Actions-final.pdf
The list of privatisation projects is in the first annex.
[2] The ruling happened after 27.3 % of the shares were had been transferred to the privatisation fund HRADF in January 2014, to be sold to private investors. The court blocked the planned transfer of another 34.03% to HRADF.
[3]  ¨EU Commission forces crisis-hit countries to privatise water ¨, October 17th 2012; http://corporateeurope.org/pressreleases/2012/eu-commission-forces-crisis-hit-countries-privatise-water
22
Drikkevann i Norge / Norsk Casino Blog
« Nyeste innlegg av Weberjohn Onsdag 26. August 2015, kl. 12:31 »
Med sterk konkurranse blant de forskjellige casino pÃ¥ nett er utmerket kundeservice helt nødvendig.  En viktig del av kundeservice er Ã¥ kunne tilby forstÃ¥elig og innbydende nettsider, pÃ¥ spillerens eget sprÃ¥k.
23
Nyheter om den internasjonale vannsaken / TTIP: a corporate lobbying paradise
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Søndag 19. Juli 2015, kl. 15:23 »
TTIP: a corporate lobbying paradise

Who do you think should be writing the terms of the huge trade deal between the EU and the US that’s currently being negotiated? Politicians? European citizens? Or corporate lobbyists, paid hundreds of thousands of Euros a year to push a big business agenda in Brussels?
We’ve teamed up with Corporate Europe Observatory to find out who’s lobbying on TTIP, and it’s pretty disturbing to read. We found that some of the biggest increases in lobbying spending came from the finance sector and big pharma. Not the most trustworthy people when it comes to protecting European citizens.

We’ve created a set of graphics to highlight the most important details we’ve uncovered. With TTIP talks happening right now, it’s never been more important to spread the word about big business’ involvement in the deal. The more people that see them, the harder it will be for European politicians to justify this dangerous corporate power grab.

Have a look at the infographics yourself -- and then share them on Facebook or by forwarding this email, so that everyone knows who’s really writing TTIP.
 
Our research found that many corporate lobbyists didn’t even bother signing the EU’s transparency register -- leaving the public completely in the dark about their influence on the trade deal.
Even though politicians might try to ignore corporate lobbyists, their constant presence -- not to mention fancy dinners -- can be hard to resist.

The best way to stop politicians listening to lobbyists is to deliver a louder, stronger, people-powered message opposing TTIP. We’ve done that time and again -- targeting politicians at every level, and highlighting the truth about TTIP whenever we get the chance.
But we also need to make sure we chip away at the power of the lobbyists lurking behind closed doors in Brussels, paid big money to convince politicians to ignore their voters in favour of big business’ demands. Shining a light on what they’re up to destroys their power.

We don’t have much time left before the talks finish for this stage of TTIP. And we urgently need to ramp up the pressure: US politicians just voted in favour of making it much easier for Obama to sign them up to big trade deals like TTIP. The EU is increasingly the last line of defence against the trade deal. If we want to prevent this massive corporate power grab, we need to stop lobbyists dominating the TTIP debate. Will you help spread the word?

Look at the shocking truth about the Brussels TTIP lobbying here -- then share the details on Facebook to get the word out far and wide.

Thanks for all you do,
Wiebke, Hannah and the team at SumOfUs
 
**********
More information:
TTIP: a corporate lobbying paradise, Corporate Europe Observatory, July 14th, 2015: http://corporateeurope.org/international-trade/2015/07/ttip-corporate-lobbying-paradise

'Fast-track' trade bill passes US Senate and awaits Obama nod, BBC news, June 25th, 2015: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.860220347397300.1073741835.181924628560212&type=3

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.860220347397300.1073741835.181924628560212&type=3
24
Nyheter om den internasjonale vannsaken / Flint, Michigan, Overpriced Water
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Søndag 19. Juli 2015, kl. 15:04 »
In Flint, Michigan, Overpriced Water is Causing People’s Skin to Erupt in Rashes and Hair to Fall Out.
As the nation’s infrastructure falls apart, water is becoming more expensive and less safe.
By
Curt Guyette

On a Saturday afternoon in early May, Gertrude Marshall stood on a sidewalk in front of Flint City Hall holding a hand-printed sign that declared, “We Need Affordable Water.” A 48-year-old grandmother with a kind face and determined eyes, she had come alone to protest the city’s skyrocketing water rates. In the month of April, the city had issued shutoff notices to 378 customers who could not afford to pay their bills.
In some respects, Flint’s water affordability crisis is difficult to fathom. Michigan is “The Great Lake State” after all, a place surrounded by 20 percent of the world’s fresh surface water, suggesting that water should be extremely affordable. But as in Detroit, its more famous sibling city to the south, water has become a high-priced commodity that too many residents can no longer afford. With average household charges nearing $150 a month, Flint’s water and sewer rates are among the highest in the United States.Nor is price the only water problem facing the people of Flint. Since the city’s emergency manager switched the city’s drinking-water source in April 2014 from Detroit’s system to the Flint River—a move that was billed as a cost-saving windfall—residents have endured a series of water-safety scares. First came the three boil-water warnings, which the city issued after finding evidence E. coli and other nasty bacteria in the city’s water supply. These were followed by nine months of dangerously high levels of total trihalomethanes, a carcinogenic byproduct of chlorine, which put the city in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act; the city had ramped up the chlorine in an effort to kill the E. coli and other gut-busting microbes. Along the way, people have complained about rashes, hair loss, bad smells and worse, leading a group of them to file a lawsuit on June 5 to force the city to stop getting its water from the Flint River.
More recently, an internal Environmental Protection Agency memo obtained by the ACLU of Michigan raised concerns about the possibility of widespread lead contamination after the water in one family’s home was found to be contaminated with lead at a level of 13,200 parts per billion (ppb). A lead level of 5,000 ppb is classified as hazardous waste. The EPA memo asserted that the lead issue was the direct result of the cash-strapped city’s inability to handle the job of water treatment.
As in Detroit, water has become a high-priced commodity that too many Flint residents can no longer afford.
Much of Flint’s water woes—both in terms of quality and cost—can be tracked to its crumbling infrastructure: 600 miles of poorly maintained pipes plagued by hundreds of water main breaks a year. The whole system is in desperate need of repair, but the city, which is just now exiting receivership, isn’t in any shape to foot the bill—and no one else is stepping in to help.
Flint is a city with little more than half the residents it had when its population peaked in 1950. Likewise, only a fraction of the manufacturing jobs it previously had remain. Once a successful auto town—and a hub of organized labor—it counted only 8,000 General Motors jobs in 2006, down from nearly 80,000 good-paying union jobs in 1978. And jobs weren’t the only things the auto plants took when they closed; the tax revenues that flowed from them dried up as well. As a result, an ever smaller and poorer number of people have had to shoulder the costs of maintaining a decrepit water and sewer system.

For wealthier Flint residents, the relentless rise in rates has been irksome. But for the increasing number of poor people—the city’s poverty rate has swelled to more than 40 percent—the rate spikes are devastating. So is the unsafe water.
“People are forced to decide what bills are going to get paid,” said Flint resident Melissa Mays, a mother of three who’s struggling to make ends meet when the monthly water bill is over $300.


Marshall, a childcare worker and grandmother who lives in a house with one other person, said in May that her last monthly water bill was more than $200.
“A lot of people just can’t afford bills like that,” she said.
* * *
Outside the borders of Michigan, the story of Flint has gotten little attention. But the country ignores the plight of women like Mays and Marshall at its own risk, because their struggle is a growing one, spreading quickly past the frayed borders of Flint toward other troubled cities throughout the United States.
Just 70 miles to the south, Detroit’s spiking water rates have led to shutoffs so massive and unremitting that the United Nations condemned the disconnections as a violation of human rights. This past April, Baltimore also made headlines when reports surfaced that officials there were preparing to start the process of cutting service to some 25,000 homes—a threat that has so far resulted in 3,000 customers’ losing their water. And the number of Baltimoreans who can’t afford to turn on the tap is destined to grow as the city’s water and sewer rates are slated to increase a combined 42 percent over a three-year period; the money has been earmarked for infrastructure replacement that’s both costly and badly needed.
In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the country’s water infrastructure a ‘D+’ grade.
Meanwhile, shutoffs aren’t the only tactics used in an attempt to collect delinquent water bills. In New York City, for example, where rates jumped 78 percent between 2005 and 2014, liens are placed on the homes of owners who have fallen behind on their bills. If people don’t pay up, the liens are sold to private companies, which have the authority to foreclose on the properties, the New York Daily News reported last year. Between 2008 and 2013, the newspaper reported, “The number of liens sold against owners of two- and three-family homes and mixed-use properties has risen 41%.”
As in Flint, much of the blame can be traced to our failing national water system. The country’s water infrastructure—the million miles of pipes, treatment facilities, and pumping stations that comprise municipal water systems—is old, dating in some cases back to the mid to late-19th century. The situation is similar for sewer lines. Although there have been updates and extensions along the way, with some of the most recent major projects occurring in the 1950s through 1970s, the materials used in each successive wave have tended to be of poorer quality, meaning they tend to erode faster, according to a report by the Georgetown Law Human Rights Institute. The result has been a decline so pernicious that, in 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the country’s water infrastructure a ‘D+’ grade, warning that “much of our drinking water infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful life.”
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This does not bode well for American’s future ability to cook, shower, wash dishes, flush toilets, or simply drink water when the urge strikes. “We must get this right. Currently we are getting it very wrong,” warned Michael Shank, a journalist and director of media strategy for the nonprofit group Climate Nexus, during a February briefing in Washington, DC, on the looming water infrastructure crisis. “This should alarm every member of Congress and finally put water in its rightful high-priority place.”
Much of the problem can be attributed to a change in policy on the part of the federal government, which reduced funding for water and wastewater systems by 80 percent between 1977 and 2014. As a result of those cuts, consumers have been forced to bear most of the burden of paying for the repair and replacement of aging water infrastructure, causing rates to soar. One particularly stunning survey of 100 municipalities by USA Today in 2012 found that water prices had doubled in more than a quarter of the cities since 2000, and even tripled in several others.
And they’re going to continue to climb.
“Our estimates are that this is a trillion-dollar program,” David LaFrance, CEO of the American Water Works Association, told National Public Radio last year. “About half of that trillion dollars will be to replace existing infrastructure. The other half will be putting into the ground new infrastructure to serve population growth and areas that currently aren’t receiving water.”
With the federal government filling in only a fraction of the gaps, municipal systems’ solution of choice has been to dump rising infrastructure costs on customers by raising prices. But cities have also been exploring other options, including privatizing their water systems (which James Kelly explores in his article about New Jersey’s recent water privatization push) and switching over to cheaper water sources, as Flint has done. Rarely, however, have the changes offered much benefit; frequently, they have made the situation worse.
Once upon a time, this country dreamed of ambitious interventions to help its residents live safe, secure lives.
This shouldn’t have to be Americans’ fate. Once upon a time, this country dreamed of big and ambitious interventions to help its residents live safe, secure, and comfortable lives—a notion that stakeholders like the US Conference of Mayors have echoed, however faintly, in asking Congress to provide direct financial relief to municipal water systems. As of now, the federal government merely makes money available to revolving loan funds that must be repaid—with money coming out of the pockets of consumers.
But getting Congress to come up with the cash is a decidedly tough task in an era when lawmakers eschew any form of tax hike, focusing instead on attempts to rein in the federal budget by hacking away at established programs. So, as we wait and dream for more visionary days, we can and should begin pushing for another solution that makes both economic and humanitarian sense: government can step in and begin helping customers with their exorbitant bills, the same way it provides a safety net for other fundamental needs, such as food, housing, and heating bills. Making that argument all the more compelling is the fact that in parts of the country water rates “are rising faster than any other utility rate, including heating bills,” the National Consumer Law Center reported last year.
Why should water be treated differently?
The idea, which is beginning to make the rounds in cities like Detroit, is for income-based affordability plans based on a customer’s ability to pay. That means, essentially, that poor people are provided a discount based on their income levels. Although it might seem counterintuitive, such an approach actually results in water utilities collecting more money than if the rates were higher.
When bills are out of reach, people tend to toss them aside rather than make partial payments. If, on the other hand, they take a reasonable portion of a person’s income—the US EPA suggests no more than 4.5 percent for water and sewer—then people are not just able but also willing to cough up the cash needed to keep the water flowing.
In June, the Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously to set rates for impoverished customers based on their incomes. And the City of Brotherly Love will be better off financially for it.
“This legislation will improve collections, because experience shows that customers are more likely to pay their utility bills when they are affordable,” Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez said. “At the same time, this program will prevent families who are doing their best and following the rules from being crushed under old and uncollectable debt.”
25
Nyheter om den internasjonale vannsaken / How Israel Weaponized Water
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Torsdag 2. Juli 2015, kl. 14:45 »
How Israel Weaponized Water
by Laith Shakir
•   
California is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in the state’s history, prompting Governor Jerry Brown to declare a water “state of emergency.”
Ordinary Californians are bearing the brunt of this disaster. While the governor has imposed restrictions to reduce residential water consumption, businesses in the fields of agriculture and hydraulic fracturing have been largely exempt. Brown’s unwillingness to take on these gargantuan corporate water-wasters lends a sharp political element to an otherwise natural disaster.
There’s another region in the world, however, where access to water isn’t just decided on the whims of politicians dealing with natural disasters. In fact, the very existence of water crises is official state policy for one country: Israel.
Dying of Thirst
Despite its location in a region thought to be perennially dry, the Holy Land actually has ample natural freshwater resources — namely in the form of underwater aquifers and the Jordan River. Palestinians in the West Bank and Israeli settlers live in roughly equal proximity to these resources, which theoretically would allow for equal consumption.
Israeli water policy, however, has made this prospect virtually impossible. In fact, there’s a shocking disparity.
A report from the United Nations found that the average Israeli settler consumes 300 liters of water per day — a figure surpassing even the average Californian’s 290. But thanks to Israeli military action and legal restrictions on access, the average Palestinian in the occupied West Bank only gets about 70. And for the tens of thousands of Palestinians who live off the water grid altogether, daily consumption hovers at around 30. That’s just 10 percent of the Israeli figure.
Both figures are well below the minimum 100 liters per day recommended by the World Health Organization. While Israelis are watering their lawns and swimming in Olympic-sized pools, Palestinians a few kilometers away are literally dying of thirst.
Weaponizing Water
This inequality has deep roots — and it’s no accident.
Almost immediately after the creation of Israel in 1948, the fledgling country took comprehensive action to secure control of the region’s water. These policies were ramped up again following the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, when Israel first assumed control of the Palestinian territories.
That year, the Israeli armed forces issued Military Order 92 — an initiative that put Palestinian water resources under Israel’s military jurisdiction. This was shortly followed by Military Order 158, which required Palestinians to obtain permits from the military in order to build new water infrastructure. If they built new wells, springs, or even rain-collecting containers without Israeli permission, soldiers would confiscate or destroy them, often without prior notification.
These orders, among others, remain on the books to this day. They form the basis for the administration of water access for nearly 4.4 million Palestinians. Although control of water resources is now officially the domain of Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, Israeli forces routinely perform operations with the explicit intent of destroying Palestinian water infrastructure.
A Veneer of Legality
Decades of peace negotiations have done little to grant Palestinians sovereign control over their resources.
Even after the Oslo Accords of the early 1990s, which were supposed to grant the Palestinians some semblance of political agency in the territories, water access remains limited. In fact, the accords simply codified the unfair distribution of water in the region, imbuing these flagrantly harmful practices with a veneer of legality.
Even in Palestinian-administered portions of the West Bank, Israeli troops regularly demolish rain cisterns, pipelines, and agricultural water structures. The Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq has meticulously documented a number of these instances, compiling them in a report examining the extent of the hardship these operations cause to West Bank residents.
One case study detailed the destruction of a farmer’s well in a village east of Jenin. His well, along with five others in the area, was destroyed by the military under the pretext that it had been built without proper authorization by Israel — despite the fact that an Israeli permit is supposedly not needed in the Palestinian-administered Area B of the West Bank, where these villages are located.
These operations showcase the coordination between civil and military channels to restrict Palestinian access to water, a system that’s been startlingly effective in its goal.
Even when Palestinians attempt to go through the “proper” Israeli channels, they’re met with innumerable obstacles. Two regulatory organizations — the Joint Water Commission (JWC) and the Israeli Civil Administration — have created a bureaucratic nightmare for West Bank residents attempting to acquire permits to either build new instillations or repair the region’s floundering infrastructure. Both organizations are capable of vetoing petitions without explanation, creating a system that prevents Palestinians from maintaining consistent and comprehensive water access.
Meanwhile, access is severely curtailed even where Palestinians have permission to pump water. The most striking inequality lies in the division of the Mountain Aquifer, the only underground aquifer that Palestinians in the West Bank are allowed to access. Despite being the sole source for the territory, Palestinian extraction is limited to 20 percent of the aquifer’s total capacity. Israel, on the other hand, has access to 80 percent of the aquifer’s water — a stunningly unequal distribution, considering it also has unfettered access to the region’s remaining aquifers and the Jordan River.
A Worsening Crisis
California’s drought has captivated U.S. audiences, sparking concern and calls to action to prevent ecological disaster in the face of natural causes. On the subject of Israel’s deliberate drought, however, media attention has been virtually nonexistent.
This crisis has become the norm for Palestinians for decades now, though its severity continues to increase as water becomes more scarce. The UN estimates that due to Israel’s siege, the Gaza Strip will be uninhabitable by the year 2020. Though the West Bank is relatively well-off in comparison, the water crisis there has resulted in severe economic hardship for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, a situation that’s not conducive to long-term stability in the region.
This water disparity is emblematic of the power disparity between Israel and Palestine — a gulf that seems wholly unrecognized during regional peace talks. In order to have a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian question, both parties must enter negotiations on an equal playing field. This is only possible once Israel’s occupation in the West Bank is dismantled, and Palestinians are given access to the water resources they need in order to live their lives with dignity.
Laith Shakir is a fellow of the Next Leaders program at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC.
This article was originally published by Foreign Policy in Focus.
 
26
Vannposten / Vannposten nr. 157 Vilje til kapitalmakt
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Tirsdag 30. Juni 2015, kl. 16:04 »
VILJE TIL KAPITALMAKT

Regjeringen vil ha en norsk modell for å verne norske investeringer i andre land

Av Dag Sejerstad

Imperialisme er blitt et fremmedord i «sivilisert» debatt. Men nå vil regjeringen gi norsk imperialisme fritt løp ved hjelp av tosidige investeringsavtaler med fattige land.

Det provoserende ved de tusenvis av tosidige investeringsavtaler som er inngått det siste tiåret, er de såkalte «investor-stat-reglene». De gir investorer rett til å kreve erstatning hvis «framtidig fortjeneste» rammes av nye lover eller andre offentlige vedtak.

Slike krav skal ikke avgjøres ved nasjonale domstoler og i henhold til nasjonale lovverk. De skal avgjøres av tre handelsjurister i tvisteløsningsorgan der stater dømmes til å betale erstatninger som provoserer stadig flere regjeringer.

Det er de mange eksemplene på hårreisende erstatningskrav som provoserer. Og enda mer skremmer det at selskaper ofte vinner fram med krava sine.
Se: www.foeeurope.org/hidden-cost-eu-trade-deals

Her er to eksempler blant mange, mange:
•   Etter den katastrofale krisa i 2001-02 har Argentina betalt 1150 millioner dollar til konsern som «tapte framtidig fortjeneste» pÃ¥ at regjeringen ikke tillot at prisene pÃ¥ strøm og vann ble økt som del av en dugnadsbasert kriseløsning som hele samfunnet mÃ¥tte bidra til.
•   Equador ble i 2012 dømt til Ã¥ betale 2,4 milliarder dollar til Occidental Petroleum fra USA for et «kontraktbrudd». Det var like mye som den samla Ã¥rsinntekten til den fattigste femtedelen av befolkningen i Ecuador.

Norge har i dag 14 investeringsavtaler med 14 land, men har ikke inngått noen nye avtaler siden midt på 1990-tallet. Dagens regjering vil ha flere slike investeringsavtaler «slik at det blir tryggere for norske bedrifter å etablere seg i og investere i andre land».

Et utkast til såkalt «modellavtale» er sendt på høring med høringsfrist 13. august. Modellavtalen er ment som Norges utgangspunkt for forhandlinger om investeringsavtaler med andre land.

Modellavtalen gir investorer «rett til erstatning ved ekspropriasjon» og «adgang til å få løst tvister med vertslandet i internasjonal voldgift». Ordlyden er den samme som i hundrevis andre investeringsavtaler. Da betyr «ekspropriasjon» noe langt mer enn å ta over en privat eiendom. Det omfatter ethvert offentlig vedtak som kan «begrense framtidig fortjeneste».

Det er først og fremst EU og USA som har pressa fram slike tosidige investeringsavtaler – etter at u-land har klart å hindre at slike investeringsregler ble del av WTO-systemet

Regjeringen understreker at det er Nærings- og fiskeridepartementet som har ansvaret for å forhandle med andre land om slike investeringsavtaler. I høringsnotatet om modellavtalen står det ingen ting om at Stortinget skal ha noe å si. Til trøst for demokrater: Et eventuelt forhandlingsresultat vil bli lagt fram for Stortinget til ratifikasjon, altså til å si ja eller nei uten å kunne flytte på et komma.

Det betyr at den egentlige avgjørelsen om framtidige investeringsavtaler blir tatt i høst – når modellavtalen kommer til behandling i Stortinget.

Høringsnotatet til regjeringen mangler ikke beroligende meldinger. Investeringsvernet skal f.eks. ikke kunne gripe inn mot «helse, miljø og sikkerhet». Slik er det ikke ellers i verden. De fleste tvistesakene dreier seg nettopp om statlige forsøk på å verne helse, miljø og sikkerhet.

Det sies ogsÃ¥ i høringsnotatet at «en internasjonal investor ikke skal oppnÃ¥ et bedre ekspropriasjonsvern i Norge enn landets egne innbyggere». Men hver mÃ¥ned reises nye tvistesaker der en investor vil ha en erstatning som det ikke er grunnlag for i nasjonale lover og domstoler 

Forslaget til modellavtale legger da ogsÃ¥ opp til at tvister skal avgjøres av et sÃ¥kalt ICSID-tribunal.  Dette tribunalet skal bare «tolke og anvende den foreliggende avtalen».  ICSID er knytta til Verdensbanken og er den voldgiftsdomstolen som er mest brukt.

Som i andre investeringsavtaler er det bare en investor som kan reise en tvistesak. Tvisten mÃ¥ da bygges pÃ¥ en pÃ¥stand om «at vertslandet har brutt en forpliktelse underlagt investeringsavtalen» – og at investor derfor har «tapt framtidig fortjeneste».   
Det skal ikke tas hensyn til det nasjonale rettssystemet – eller som det presiseres i høringsnotatet: «Voldgiftsretten kan ikke dømme på grunnlag av brudd på nasjonal rett, og skal således ikke ha nasjonal rett som sitt kompetanseområde».

Slik må det nødvendigvis være når mange saker oppstår nettopp fordi investor ser seg «urimelig behandla» nettopp av lovendringer eller nye lover. Men vertslandet har aldri rett til å gå til sak mot investoren. Det kan heller ingen instans i sivilsamfunnet, verken fagforeninger, miljøorganisasjoner eller lokalsamfunn..

ICSID kan gi regjeringer rett, men det betyr bare at de unngår å tape – av og til millioner av dollar, av og til milliarder. Det er ingen ankemulighet i dette systemet.

Dermed blir verden slik som regjeringen vÃ¥r vil ha den. Pengene flyttes bare én vei, fra regjeringer til utenlandske investorer, aldri den andre veien.  Da er det sjølsagt forbløffende at det per 13. mai - ifølge Unctad – var inngÃ¥tt 2926 tosidige investeringsavtaler og 347 investeringsavtaler mellom mer enn to land rundt om i verden. Hvorfor er alle de avtalene inngÃ¥tt?

Bakgrunnen er naturligvis at mange land – og særlig mange u-land – har bruk for å trekke til seg investeringer fra utlandet. Da hevdes det at de som vil investere må ha noen garantier for at det er trygt å satse penger i et annet land. I hvert fall kan det for en regjering føles utrygt å avstå fra investeringsavtaler hvis nabolanda har inngått slike avtaler.

Men rike land står sterkt i forhandlingene om slike investeringsavtaler fordi fattige land så sårt trenger investeringer og teknologi tilført fra utlandet. Sterkt vil også vår egen regjering gjerne stå.
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Norske statlige eiere tok ut 882 millioner i utbytte i Nepal

FIVAS 18. mai 2015   
  
Norske statlige eiere tok ut 882 millioner i utbytte i Nepal

18. mai 2015   

Landsbyen Khimti ligger like ved kraftverket. Innbyggerne her får ikke strøm fra det norskeide vannkraftverket.

Norge bygget Khimti-kraftverket i Nepal for Ã¥ skape utvikling i et av verdens fattigste land. Investeringen ble svært lønnsom for de norske eierne. Les om Statkrafts investeringer i Nepal pÃ¥ E24: http://e24.no/makro-og-politikk/norske-statlige-eiere-bygde-kraftverk-i-lutfattige-nepal-tok-ut-882-millioner-i-utbytte/23449082  
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Norconsult innrømmer risiko for brot på urfolksrettar i vasskraftprosjekt i Sarawak

FIVAS 23. juni 2015   

Norconsult seier at alle deira prosjekt skal være i tråd med FN si erklæring om urfolksrettar etter at Fivas har klaga dei inn for brot på OECD-retningslinene. Det er tydelege brot på urfolksrettar i samband med utbygginga av demningane Murum og Baram i Sarawak. Vi meiner difor at Norconsults deltaking er problematisk dersom selskapet ønsker å ikkje bidra til brot.

Les felleserklæringa her:  http://www.responsiblebusiness.no/files/2015/01/Felleserkl%C3%A6ring-Norconsult-FIVAS-02.06.15.pdf

I august i 2014 leverte Fivas ein klage til det nasjonale kontaktpunktet for OECD-klagesaker fordi vi meinte dei gjennom deira involvering i utbygginga av Murum- og Baram-dammen braut fleire av OECD sine retningslinjer for multinasjonale selskap. Klagen gjaldt både manglande offentleggjering av opplysningar, brot på menneskerettar og dei overordna retningslinjene.

Tysdag 23. juni 2015 skreiv leiar for kontaktpunktet Ola Mestad, dagleg leiar i Fivas Jonas Holmqvist og direktør i Norconsult Per Kristian Jacobsen formelt under slutterklæringa.

Damutbyggingar i Sarawak har dei siste tiÃ¥ra ført til tvangsflytting av titusenvis av urfolk utan at gode nok konsultasjonar har vorte gjennomført og utan at dei har gjeve fritt, informert forhandsamtykke. Det er eit klart brot pÃ¥ internasjonale menneskerettar og urfolksrettar. Norske selskap har vore involvert sidan dÃ¥verande statsminster KÃ¥re Willoch leia ein næringslivsdelegasjon til Malysia i 1986.  Meir om norsk involvering i Sarawak og kvifor Fivas meiner det er bÃ¥de menneskerettsbrot, urfolksrettsbrot og stor korrupsjonsfare i Sarawak finn du i dette bakgrunnsdokumentet.

Gjennom mekling i løpet av våren 2015 har FIVAS og Norconsult greidd å komme til ei einigheit med konsulentselskapet kring nokre viktige punkt knytt til deira involvering i Sarawak. Dei anerkjenner mellom anna den ibuande risikoen for brot på urfolksrettar i Sarawak. Likevel har dei vald å gå inn i prosjektet og i samarbeid med Sarawak Energy utan å gjere aktsomheitsvurderingar knytt til menneskerettar.

Særleg er det tre ting vi i Fivas er glad for at har kome med i slutterklæringa.

For det første, at Norconsult tydeleg anerkjenner at OECD-retningslinjene også gjeld for konsulentselskap. Det gjer at konsulentselskap ikkje kan fråskrive seg ansvar for menneskerettskrenkelsar i prosjekt kor dei er hyra inn for å gjere ein jobb, vere den seg stor eller liten.

For det andre, at Norconsult tydeleg anerkjenner at det er ibuande fare for brot på urfolksrettar i Sarawak. Ein rapport frå den malaysiske menneskerettskommisjonen, Suhakam, skildrar bekymringsverdige forhold knytta til denne risikoen i forbindelse med Murum-dammen og syner både til manglande konsultasjonar, manglande fritt, informert forhandsssamtykke og manglande konsekvensanalysar for sosiale og miljømessige verknadar av prosjektet. Selskapet har og teke opp bekymringane med sin kontraktspartner Sarawak Energy.

Jonas Holmqvist, dagleg leiar i Fivas, seier at han er glad for at Norconsult presiserer at alle deira prosjekt skal vere i tråd med FN si erklæring for urfolksrettar.

– Urfolksgrupper i Sarawak på Borneo rammast hardt av damutbyggingar, og det som kan skape økonomisk utvikling for nokon kan leie til fattigdom for andre. I trass av at Murum- og Baram-prosjekta bryt urfolksrettar leverer Norconsult tenester til Sarawak Energy som bygger dei ut, seier Holmqvist.

For det tredje, at Norconsult seier at dei frå no vil gjennomføre aktsomheitsvurderingar for menneskerettar og at dei og vil vere opnare om kva prosjekt dei er involvert i og kva rolle dei speler.

– Norconsult gjorde ikkje ei aktsomheitsvurdering av menneskerettar før dei bestemde seg for å levere sine konsulent-tenester til utbygginga av Murum og Baram. Utan ei skikkelig vurdering kan ein uvitande bidra til at urfolksrettar eller andre menneskerettar brytast. At Norconsult no innfører aktsomheitsvurdering for menneskerettar (human rights due dilligence) i sine prosjekt er difor heilt nødvendig for at selskapet skal kunne unngå å bidra i prosjekt med alvorlig negativ påverknad i framtida, seier Holmqvist.
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Vannposten / Vannposten nr. 156 Statkraft dropper vindmøller
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Lørdag 27. Juni 2015, kl. 15:34 »
STATKRAFT DROPPER VINDMØLLER 

                                Av Odd HandegÃ¥rd

Totalfallitt eller gladmelding?
Torsdag 4. juni kom det en gledelig melding fra Statkraft om at selskapet dropper det planlagte vindkraftprosjektet i Trøndelag. Dagen etter skrev Ola Borten Moe i Klassekampen at vedtaket var en ”totalfallitt” som vil ”sette forsyningssikkerheten mange år tilbake”, og at Norge ”må betale for tilsvarende kraftutbygginger i Sverige”.

Borten Moe får støtte fra Bellona, Zero og en rekke Sp- og Ap-ordførere. Statkraft begrunner kanselleringen med at de – tross omfattende subsidier – ikke vil kunne tjene penger på prosjektet – som Borten Moe kaller ”et av historiens største industriprosjekter på land”.

Sparer oss for 20 milliarder
Men selv om Norge kanskje taper noen kroner på et samarbeid som aldri burde vært vedtatt (el-sertifikatene), så sparer Statkraft oss samtidig for meningsløse investeringer på mer enn 20 milliarder.

Statkrafts beslutning er selvfølgelig helt logisk: Dersom Norge skal erstatte den delen av oljeindustrien som etterhvert vil falle bort, så kan vi ikke basere oss på å leve av fiktive ”inntekter” fra gigantiske, økonomiske underskudds-bedrifter. Men problemet gjelder ikke bare mangelen på lønnsomhet, men også flere andre forhold: De viktigste gjelder vernet av norsk natur, og det enkle forhold at Norge ikke trenger den planlagte vindkrafta.

Overskudd på fornybar kraft
Norge har allerede et stort overskudd på fornybar kraft som dels eksporteres og som dels sløses bort på elektrifisering på sokkelen (til absolutt ingen klimanytte). Dersom Norge skal erstatte en del av arbeidsplassene i Nordsjøen med ny virksomhet på land, må det produseres nye, lønnsomme el-baserte produkter som kan eksporteres. Her er mulighetene store, særlig om Norge kan opprettholde en rimelig pris på vannkrafta slik at industri og sysselsetting kan få de konkurransefordelene som trengs.

Det er ingenting galt med at norsk fornybar energi foreløpig er litt ”innelåst” (eksportkablenes kapasitet er ennå under halvparten av vår produksjon), men det er merkelig at klimapartiene ikke begriper at Norge ligger på fornybartoppen i verden (sammen med Island). Og det er enda merkeligere at de ikke begriper at de motarbeider norske interesser i energipolitikken.

– Ellers er det naturligvis et spørsmål om Statkraft egentlig har sagt sitt siste ord. Kanskje Statkraft egentlig prøver å presse myndighetene til enda bedre betingelser, og et enda tykkere sugerør inn til folks lommebøker.

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Nyheter om den internasjonale vannsaken / Sustainable Development Goals in the UN
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Lørdag 27. Juni 2015, kl. 15:31 »
 
European Federation of Public Service Unions   

This week negotiations on the final text for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are taking place in the UN. The outcome should be the final agreement that world leaders will sign for in the Summit in September https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/summit . We want to see an explicit mention of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation in the final text.
 The ‘zero-draft’ can be read here: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/7261Post-2015%20Summit%20-%202%20June%202015.pdf
Paragraph 15 of the Zero Draft calls for “affordable drinking water” rather than the enjoyment of the human right to water and sanitation that encompasses other important principles (including availability, accessibility, acceptability, safety, and sufficiency). As seen with the MDGs, emphasis on one aspect of the normative content of this right leads to inappropriate solutions that neglect the needs of the most vulnerable segments of the population.  We recommend to change this into “full enjoyment of Human Right to water and sanitation”.
Paragraph 26 calls for “efficient” use of water and energy. We recommend to change this into “ equitable and sustainable”.
These details make sense as they make a difference. They are important to keep world leaders to their promises and commitments after September 2015.
As the world water crisis deepens and proliferates, a hierarchy of water use that prioritizes human rights is essential to ensuring equitable and environmentally sustainable use of limited supplies. If the  Post-2015 Development Agenda is to succeed, the text must reflect these essential concerns.
Read the full explanation and amendments from the NGO Mining Working Group here (attached)
We hope to see these seemingly small, but significant changes in the final text and we ask you to lobby your governments to adopt them!
 
Rigth2water team
________________________________________
EUROPEAN FEDERATION OF PUBLIC SERVICE UNIONS
40 Rue Joseph II, Box 5
1000 Brussels
http://www.epsu.org
 
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