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Folkebevegelsen for bevaring av vann som felleseie

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21
Opprop og underskriftskampanjer / Sv: Gjør drikkevann til en menneskerett!
« Nyeste innlegg av Tsiv Torsdag 26. November 2015, kl. 23:10 »
http://www.watertreaty.org/

Denne underskriftskampanjen drives av Grønne Kors, og målet er å få FN til å innlemmet retten til rent drikkevann inn i menneskerettighetene.
22
Vannposten / Vannposten nr. 160 Hellas - bit for bit
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Fredag 9. Oktober 2015, kl. 11:17 »
HELLAS - BIT FOR BIT?


Planlagt krise?
Da Hellas skulle gå over til euro, ble de offentlige finansene pyntet på, for å tilfredsstille kravene fra EU. Økonomien var langt verre enn de offisielle tallene tydet på.

Det økonomiske uføret Hellas var havnet i og som regjeringen, ved hjelp av Goldman Sachs, ønsket å skjule for å bringe landet inn i eurounionen, skyldtes blant annet innkjøp av militært utstyr fra Tyskland og Frankrike.

Da krisen var et faktum, kom krav om innstramminger i offentlig virksomhet. Masseoppsigelsene og den sosiale nøden som fulgte, førte til et ras av nedleggelser i privat sektor.  Nøden eksploderte.

Tyske, franske og greske banker skulle reddes
EU-kommisjonen, Den europeiske sentralbank (ESB) og Det internasjonale pengefondet (IMF) var raskt på pletten for å redde tyske, franske og greske banker fra kollaps.

Motytelsen, som skulle betales av den greske befolkningen, var foruten innstramminger i pensjon, sosialhjelp og helsevesen, salg av offentlige virksomheter. Salget skulle omfatte havner, flyplasser, energiselskaper og vannverk.


Folkeopprør og svik
Et folkelig opprør førte til nyvalg og en regjering som ønsket å stoppe privatiseringene. Men ettersom repet til EU-kommisjonen, ESB og IMF (kalt troikaen) ble strammet til, viste det seg at et flertall i regjeringen, nær sagt for enhver pris, ønsket å beholde euroen. Det gjør det imidlertid umulig å drive en motkonjunktur-politikk. Finansministeren, som var en hard negl i forhandlingene med troikaen, innså dette. I stedet for å ofre euroen, skiftet regjeringen ham ut. Det håpet Hellas hadde gitt, blant annet til Podemos i Spania, ble brått en blek skygge, da Syriza-regjeringen godtok kravene til «hjelpepakken» fra IMF og ESB.

Et nytt folkeopprør fulgte og det ble holdt folkeavstemming om neste «hjelpepakke» inkludert kravene til privatisering. Folkeavstemmingen viste et klart NEI. Med noen få justeringer godtok allikevel regjeringen vilkårene for nye lån.


Bak kulissene
Før de to siste Syriza-regjeringene kom til makten var det allerede opprettet et organ for salg av offentlig virksomhet (HRADF-TAYPED). I januar 2012 overførte regjeringen en eierandel på 27,3 prosent av vann- og avløpsverket i Athen til HRADF-TAYPED. Og i mai ble enda 34,03 prosent overført. Hensikten var at disse aksjene, som gir en Salget kontrollerende eierandel, skulle selges til private investorer.

Salget grunnlovsstridig
Sommeren 2014 avgjorde imidlertid Høyesterett at salget ville være grunnlovsstridig.

Avgjørelsen satte nytt mot i motstanderne av privatiseringen av vannverket i Thessaloniki (EYATH). Her var salget nært forestående.  HRADF-TAYPED) ønsker å selge en kontrollerende andel til en av to investorer som ble godkjent allerede i mai 2013; enten konsortiet Suez/Ellaktor eller Merokot/G. Apostolopoulos/Miya/Terna Energy.


Hovedmålsetting - varige strukturelle endringer
Initiativ 136, som er et abonnentinitiativ for å overta vannverket i Thessaloniki, ble ikke godkjent som anbydere! Det skyldes mest sannsynlig at EU-kommisjonen, ESB og IMF ikke «bare» ønsker privatisering, men like mye varige strukturelle endringer.

Det var liknende strukturendringer som gjorde at Pinoché kunne tillate valg i Chile: Samfunnsmessig grunnleggende endringer lot seg vanskelig gjøre om og ville binde senere regjeringer.

Jugoslavia fikk også smake denne medisinen: Milosovic fikk valget mellom bomber og salg av offentlig eiendom. Han valgte det første og fikk begge deler. Rambouille-«avtalen» foreskrev salg av offentlig virksomhet i et internasjonalt marked.

Syriza-regjeringens bestrebelser på å senke offentlige utgifter, omfattet et forslag til reduksjon i militær-budsjettene. Dette ble ikke godtatt av troikaen. Forslaget ville blant annet svekket tysk og franske økonomi. Men det ville også hindret grunnleggende strukturelle endringer.

Har så EU-kommisjonen, ESB og IMF tatt hensyn til Høyesteretts kjennelse om at salg av vannverket i Athen er grunnlovsstridig?
Vann- og avløpsverkene i Athen og Thessaloniki står fortsatt på listen over offentlige virksomheter som skal selges. Men andelen er redusert til henholdsvis 23 og 11 prosent.


Hvor mange ganger skal vi la oss lure til privatiseringer og grunnleggende strukturelle endringer? Mange av dem er for lengst omtalt i Naomi Kleins bok «Sjokkdoktrinen».
Den er forhåpentligvis fortsatt i salg. Kjøp den! Les den! Snakk om den!



Vern drikkevannet i Grunnloven!
Gå til:

http://www.opprop.net/vern_drikkevannet_i_grunnloven


Du støtter arbeidet vårt ved å melde deg inn i Vannbevegelsen.
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VANNBEVEGELSEN
Buerstranda 6
3234 Sandefjord

23
Vannposten / Vannposten nr. 159 Vannbevegelsen i et nøtteskall
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Fredag 9. Oktober 2015, kl. 10:26 »


Misforståelse 1: Vannbevegelsen arbeider for offentlig
                             vannforsyning
Misforståelse 2: Vannbevegelsen arbeider for rent vann


VANNBEVEGELSEN I ET NØTTESKALL

Det er Vannbevegelsens hovedoppgave å arbeide for at tilgangen til drikkevann og annet forbruksvann skal være et fellesgode.
Offentlig vannforsyning og rent vann benyttes imidlertid som strategiske trekk i kommersialiseringsøyemed.

Vannbevegelsens oppgave er å arbeide for at drikkevann og annet forbruksvann skal være et fellesgode. For at det skal være mulig må ethvert tiltak som fører til kommersialisering, det vil si at vann betraktes som en vare, motarbeides.

Vi har gjennom de tolv år Vannbevegelsen har eksistert, gjort vårt ytterste for å belyse de mange tilsynelatende positive eller ubetydelige tiltak som, sett i en større kontekst, langsomt, men sikkert fører til at vann og offentlig vannforsyning er, og i stadig større grad, vil bli betraktet som vare.

Flere av de siste numrene av Vannposten har hatt internasjonale frihandelsavtaler, som TTIP og TISA som tema, uten at vannforsyningen har vært nevnt eksplisitt. Det forholder seg imidlertid slik at TTIP og TISA, liksom EU/EØS-avtalen har betydelig innvirkning på offentlige tjenester. Vannforsyningen i Norge er hovedsakelig en offentlig tjeneste.

Såkalt frihandel (egentlig de store selskapenes dominans), som er essensen i disse avtalene, berører først og fremst offentlig virksomhet. Man kan jo bare reflektere over at konkurranseutsetting kun gjelder offentlig virksomhet. Private næringsdrivende har ingen krav til anbudskonkurranse når de skal velge tjenesteytere. De kan velge på bakgrunn av hvilke kriterier de vil. Mens offentlig virksomhet alltid skal gå etter laveste pris.

Offentlig virksomhet, og spesielt offentlige tjenester, har i motsetning til privat virksomhet, tidligere vært beskyttet mot konkurranse, ganske enkelt fordi virksomhetene har sosial karakter. De er (eller har vært) fellesskapets løsninger på fellesskapets behov. Det er dette fellesskapet som nå står i fare for å få det endelige dødsstøtet gjennom TTIP og TISA.

EØS-avtalen, TISA og TTIP er skjebnesvangre angrep på offentlig sektor. Det innebærer angrep på samfunnet som sosialt fellesskap, på individet og menneskeverdet.

Mange lider under den vrangforestilling at Vannbevegelsen arbeider for offentlig vannforsyning. Det ville vi selvsagt gjort om det ikke nettopp var for alle de angrep som rettes mot offentlig sektor. Vannbevegelsen har derfor sett seg nødt til å kjempe for en annen løsning; nemlig selvforvaltning. Det vil si at vannforsyningen må organiseres slik at den ikke blir gjenstand for krav til konkurranseutsetting eller privatisering i liberaløkonomisk forstand. Den må fortsette å være fellesskapets eiendom, samtidig som det er nødvendig at den ikke kan kalles offentlig. Løsningen er å organisere vannforsyningen som samvirker eiet av abonnentene.

Den offentlige forvaltningen er dessverre ensbetydende med kommersialisering.

Vi har vanskelig for å stole på at den ellers positive rekommunaliseringen vi har vært vitne til i Europa de siste årene, vil vare evig. Hellas er et eksempel på at offentlig vannforsyning alltid vil være truet. Derfor må vi skape nye fellesskap.



Du støtter arbeidet vårt ved å melde deg inn i Vannbevegelsen.
Medlemskontingenten betales til konto 1254.05.18244.

kr.    250 for vanlig medlemskap, gratis for familiemedlemmer
kr.    100 for studenter og andre med dårlig råd
kr. 1.500 for organisasjoner og bedrifter

Husk å oppgi e-postadresse! Vi har ikke økonomi til å sende informasjon i posten.


VANNBEVEGELSEN
Buerstranda 6
3234 Sandefjord





24
Nyheter om den internasjonale vannsaken / Next month, TTIP negotiators are meeting in Miami
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Tirsdag 8. September 2015, kl. 13:12 »
Next month, TTIP negotiators are meeting in Miami, hell bent on pushing forward with this dangerous trade deal.
We don’t know much about the deal -- it’s literally being kept under lock and key. But from the small details that have been leaked, it’s looking like the biggest corporate power grab of our generation.
But citizens are joining together in Berlin for a massive protest -- and we want to make it so big that negotiators can’t ignore us.
Can you chip in €1 to stop TTIP?  https://action.sumofus.org/a/ttip-berlin-donate/2/2/?akid=13331.4819652.b-Me9D&amp=&ask=1&rd=1&sub=fwd&t=2
TTIP was meant to be a shoe-in. But a growing movement, of which SumOfUs is a big part, has thrown the negotiations way off track.
We’ve teamed up with partner organisations to form a EU-wide self-organised Citizens’ Initiative against TTIP, and a whopping 2.6 million of us have signed on. We’ve placed ads in Brussels newspapers to make sure that EU politicians and negotiators hear our message. And everywhere the negotiations go, we follow.
But in just a few months, there’s a huge chance TTIP negotiators could sign away our rights to protect the environment, receive affordable medication, and defend ourselves from exploitation.
If enough of us chip in, we’ll able to help the organisers of the protest by:
•   Paying for ads to spread the word widely about the protest
•   Help pay for buses to bring in some of our most vulnerable to Berlin to make sure their voices are heard
•   Make banners that will look incredible in photos and video of the event in the media
•   Set up the stage and other key logistics to make sure the protest is safe but effective
It’s a powerful reminder to negotiators that we don’t want this dangerous trade deal -- and if they support it, it’ll be the last time they’ll see our votes.
Up against hundreds of corporate lobbyists, this people-powered movement against TTIP would never have come this far if it regular people didn’t stand together.
We know that mass opposition works. SumOfUs members funded massive protests in July in Hawaii against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), in what were supposed to be the final talks before a deal was signed. Negotiators walked away from those TPP talks without a deal.
We need to make sure we don’t miss this opportunity to build momentum against TTIP in the lead up to the October talks.
Can you chip in €1 to stop TTIP?  https://action.sumofus.org/a/ttip-berlin-donate/2/2/?akid=13331.4819652.b-Me9D&amp=&ask=1&rd=1&sub=fwd&t=2
Thanks for all that you do,
Wiebke, Jon, Kat and the team at SumOfUs
 
________________________________________
More information:
Mass protest against TTIP and CETA to take place in Berlin.
http://www.euractiv.com/sections/trade-society/mass-protest-against-ttip-and-ceta-take-place-berlin-317066   Euractiv. August 26, 2015.

25
Nyheter om den internasjonale vannsaken / El Salvador’s Mining Ban
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Mandag 7. September 2015, kl. 13:38 »
For the Love of Water: El Salvador’s Mining Ban
by Lynn Holland
For some time now, U.S. and Canadian mining companies have been seeking out new mining sites in Latin America and elsewhere in the developing world. This is partly because high-grade ores that are easily accessible in the U.S. and Canada are in the process of being used up. It is also due to expensive litigation and mitigation costs that mining companies must undertake in developed countries. Not long ago, Salvadorans welcomed foreign owned mining companies into their country. Yet for the last several years, metal mining has been banned in El Salvador by presidential decree and citizen groups are now working to enact a permanent nationwide ban on such undertaking.
With six million people, El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America, as well as the most water-scarce. It also is one of the most environmentally degraded countries in Latin America. A period of rapid urbanization and industrialization in the 1990s deprived the country of about 20 percent of its subsurface water. Today, over 90 percent of its surface water is contaminated with industrial chemicals, making it unsuitable to drink even if the water is boiled, chlorinated or filtered beforehand.
In order to extract tiny particles of gold, mining companies have to apply a leaching process that involves the use of cyanide and enormous amounts of water. As NACLA reported in 2011, “the average metallic mine uses 24,000 gallons of water per hour, or about what a typical Salvadoran family consumes in 20 years.” In less developed countries where regulatory agencies are weak and water scarce, then metal mining can have serious public health and environmental consequences.
Back in 1992, after a lengthy and devastating civil war, reformed-minded Salvadorans were eager to rebuild their conflicted ravaged country. In the years that followed, the rate of economic growth was well above the average for Latin American countries. Investment levels rose from $30 million USD in 1992 to $5.9 billion USD in 2008, much of it in mining. The expectation was that the sector would create jobs, stimulate growth, promote development and increase government revenue. In fact, these goals were specified in the preamble of the Mining Law of 1996.
The preamble also expressed the intention that the mining process be “convenient for investors in the mining sector.” Consistent with this, a 2001 amendment to the Mining Law increased the amount of territory that could be granted to mining companies while decreasing government royalty from 3 percent to 1 percent. In addition, the Investment Law of 1999 allowed foreign companies to sue the Salvadoran government through, the International Centre of Settlement Investment Disputes (ICSID), and tribunal housed by the World Bank. Clearly, the government was competing hard to attract mining investments.
Seduced and abandoned
According to Canadian-owned Pacific Rim Corporation, the government threw out the welcome mat when it showed up in hopes of exploring for gold. Long engaging conversations between the government and company officials took place and there was careful adaptation of the country’s laws to accommodate the company. In fact, as a member of Pacific Rim’s Board of Directors later explained, El Salvador had “very friendly mining laws… which we, as a matter of fact, had a hand in helping the government draft so that El Salvador would be open and receptive to mining investment and allow deposits to be developed in a timely way.”
At the same time, the Mining Law required extractive companies to submit an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the proposed project and to shoulder enormous costs not only in constructing the mine, but also “to prevent, control, minimize and compensate the negative effects that might be caused to local residents or the environment….” This meant assuring that all waters returned to the waterways were “free of contamination, so that they do not affect human health or the development of animal or plant life.”
In 2002, while relations were still cordial, the Salvadoran government encouraged Pacific Rim to apply for a permit for exploration, as a preliminary step to receiving permission for extraction. Once the permit was in hand, the company invested tens of millions of dollars in exploration and soon was able to discover a rich deposit of gold along the headwaters of the Lempa River in the department of Cabañas. The Lempa, El Salvador’s longest and only navigable river, supplies over half the country with water and allows many to make a basic living through agriculture and fishing.
Soon after, however, the romance between Pacific Rim Corporation and the Salvadoran government began to grow cold. In late 2004, the Pacific Rim Corporation applied for the extraction permit, but the permit was denied “presumptively.” Government officials say that the company had not fulfilled three requirements: government approval of its environmental impact study, a feasibility study and development plan, and possession of the necessary titles to the land at the proposed mining site. At the time, Pacific Rim held less than 13 percent of the area designated for the mine.
According to Robin Broad of American University, company officials were confident that they could work around this last requirement. As she puts it, “Pac Rim was working with President (Antonio) Saca’s vice-president and others to eliminate the requirement that it hold all relevant land titles,” by amending or replacing the applicable mining law in the legislature. That the company intended to participate in making the needed amendments should be no surprise given that it had worked closely with officials in writing the original Mining Law in the first place.
Salvadoran politics were entering a new phase, however. By 2007, the government had revoked an exploratory permit held by the Commerce Group after a study showed high levels of cyanide and sulfur leaching into the San Sebastian River from one of its mines. The mine site had been closed ten years before. The following year, President Saca, member of the right-wing ARENA party and one-time supporter of mining interests, announced a moratorium on new mining permits. The two subsequent presidents, both members of the left-wing FMLN party, have since continued the ban by means of a presidential decree.
Outraged by Saca’s rebuff, Pacific Rim proceeded to sue the Salvadoran government in the ICSID, citing the rules of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Because Pacific Rim was a Canadian company at the time, it was not covered by CAFTA and so it proceeded to reincorporate its Cayman Islands subsidiary (which owned the Salvadoran operations) in Nevada. With a subsidiary then relocated in the U.S., Pacific Rim was able to claim that the government’s failure to grant the extraction permit was a CAFTA violation and thereby lodge a demand for $77 million USD in compensation. This amount was later increased to $301 million USD. In 2012, ICSID dismissed the claims related to CAFTA, but accepted jurisdiction over claims based on investment law applicable in El Salvador. The following year the financially struggling company was taken over by Australian-owned OceanaGold.
In filing the case, Pacific Rim argued that the company had been led on. It was, after all, “precisely the kind of investor El Salvador was looking for: a foreign investor with the funding, mining industry know-how, and mineral exploration expertise necessary” to bring the Cabañas mine into production. Furthermore, the company had worked hard to “integrate itself into the communities” near the project, hosting many informational gatherings and tours of the facilities, building roads, drilling for water, sponsoring educational programs, health clinics and sporting events, and planting over 40,000 trees. So after years of close relations during which Pacific Rim “understood that it was dealing with a ‘top down’ political structure,” the presidential rebuff came as unforeseen and disruptive blow.
The environmental movement
From its grassroots beginnings, the environmental movement in El Salvador has gained considerable influence over the years. In Cabañas, Antonio Pacheco, director of the Association for Economic and Social Development (ADES), a local civic organization, initially thought that a mine would bring new jobs and thereby reduce poverty. Soon, however, ADES was addressing complaints about water quality and diseased livestock that were being ignored by government agencies. He and his organization began to work with other environmental groups and in 2004 organized a mining forum to discuss the long-term impacts of mining in El Salvador.
In 2005, ADES invited U.S. hydro geologist Robert Moran to conduct an independent review of Pacific Rim’s explorations. In his review, Moran found that the official company study had failed to include baseline information regarding water quality and quantity. “The cost for water was zero,” he said in a recent interview. As such, the company had failed to assess the costs to the community in utilizing large quantities of the local water supply. Moran also concluded that the Pacific Rim EIA had ignored many environmental impacts evident at existing gold mines and would be unacceptable to regulatory agencies in most developed countries. Moran made note that the EIA review process lacked openness and transparency, that only one printed copy of the 1400 page document had been made available to the public (much of it only in English), and that a period of only ten working days had been set aside for public review.
Over the next two years, environmental activists from Cabañas and other areas traveled to Honduras and Guatemala to visit mining sites in those countries. These included an abandoned gold mine in Valle de Siria in Honduras, which revealed “widespread deforestation, catastrophic loss of surface water resources, polluted waters, and respiratory and skin ailments of people living nearby.” My own tour of Valle de Siria in 2013 confirmed these findings and included the shocking sight of herds of emaciated cattle struggling to survive in parched fields.
Around the same time, ADES, with the help of Oxfam International and other NGOs, founded the National Roundtable Against Metal Mining (also called The “Roundtable”). The first major coalition of its kind in El Salvador, The Roundtable vigorously publicized the conditions at Valle de Siria and elsewhere through public education, speaking events and marches. In time, the organization opted to make the passage of a national ban on metal mining its chief goal.
By 2006, the tide was beginning to turn against the mining interests. A group of researchers from the University of El Salvador conducted a study of waterways in and around the abandoned mine owned by the Commerce Group. They reported cadmium levels that were 72 times those recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and mercury that was 36 times the EPA recommended level. The Roundtable subsequently led the way in filing a lawsuit against the company.
Around the same time, an “unusual and farsighted alliance grew” between the Ministries of Economy and Environment around the need to do a strategic environmental review of metal mining. As the environmental minister told the legislature, “We will only permit mining exploitation if the companies mitigate 100 percent of the harm, which would be impossible, since that would require greater investment than the total gold and silver reserves.” With this, an informal ban on metal mining was underway.
The Catholic Church in El Salvador followed suit in 2007 when seven bishops and an archbishop came out with a formal proclamation in favor of a national ban. Later that year, university polls showed that 62.4 percent of Salvadorans were opposed to mining in El Salvador.
Environmental activists paid a price for these advances, however. Richard Steiner, a conservationist at the University of Alaska, documented increasing violence directed at local environmental activists from 2004 when “community opposition to the mine commenced in Cabañas.” This included threats, assault, kidnapping, and the murder of three activists in 2009. A pro-mining businessman was also murdered at that time under complicated circumstances. The staff of a community-run radio station opposed to gold mining told how they had been harassed and threatened. Steiner also described, “serious shortcomings with judicial follow-through with regard to crimes committed against mine opponents.”
At the same time, Roundtable activists’ tactics have also been criticized. The words “Death to Canadian Miners” have appeared on circulated fliers and there have been reports of harassment of Pacific Rim employees. For their part, Roundtable leaders have denounced any use of violence as part of their campaign.
The case against ICSID
To date, each side has spent millions of dollars presenting its case before the ICSID court. If the Salvadoran government loses, it could be required either to allow the Cabañas mining project to proceed or to pay $301 million USD to Pacific Rim. This might amount to about 5 percent of the GDP in El Salvador, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Government leaders have said that they will pay up if necessary just to keep the mining industry out of their country. But they fear that a loss in ICSID could result in a rash of new lawsuits and loss of control over the development process.
In my interview with him, Bob Moran criticized the remote and legalistic nature of ICSID. “We’ve allowed a system to evolve where all the assessments are done within
forums that international business interests have produced,” he said. “They’ve also had a lot of influence in the wording of the international trade agreements” that the court relies on. “Forget the legal stuff,” he continued. “The EIA is technically unacceptable – it is a corrupt document that would have been unacceptable anywhere.” And while business is making profits, he went on, we’re socializing the costs. “The average life of a gold mine is less than fifteen years.” After that, “you’re left with fixing whatever happened” whether it’s poisoned streams, deforested hillsides, or a sickened population.
While Salvadorans await the outcome of the case, a new action plan for passing a nationwide ban has begun to unfold. In just the last year, several rural communities have passed their own prohibitions against metal mining. San Jose Las Flores, San Isidro Labrador and Nueva Trinidad, have all held popular consultations, which resulted in overwhelming approval for a ban in each case. As San Jose Las Flores mayor Felipe Tobar explained, “I want to encourage other municipal governments to ban mining in their territories and also encourage members of the legislative assembly to approve legislation to ban mining to ensure the long term sustainability of our environment.” Ten other municipalities have been targeted for future consultations.
* * *
In neighboring Honduras, the growth of the environmental movement has paralleled that of El Salvador’s in many ways. Community level concerns have come together with those of domestic and international NGOs. New restrictions were proposed and plans to establish a country-wide ban drew the support of the president just as it has been the case in El Salvador. Unfortunately, these plans already have come to abrupt halt when that president was unceremoniously ousted from office in 2009.
Lynn Holland is a Senior Research Fellow at the Council On Hemispheric
26
Vannposten / Vannposten nr. 158 KS og Euro-KS sier nei
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Onsdag 2. September 2015, kl. 14:09 »
Det er lokale og regionale myndigheter som tar opp kampen mot TTIP og TISA

KS og Euro-KS sier nei

Av Dag Seierstad

Bak strengt lukkede dører forhandles det for tida om to internasjonale avtaler som kan endre grunnleggende maktforhold både mellom stater og innen stater.  

EU og USA forhandler om en mest mulig altomfattende handels- og investeringsavtale, den såkalte TTIP-avtalen (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). I de forhandlingene er ingen andre land med.

Derimot forhandler noe over 50 land om en avtale som skal sette fart på handelen med tjenester, den såkalte TISA-avtalen (Trade in Services Agreement.)  I disse forhandlingene deltar Norge sammen med EU og 23 andre land fra OECD-området.

De utålmodige pådriverne både for TTIP og TISA er konsern som vil ha vekk det som stenger dem ute fra markedene i andre land.  
USA har på mange områder et svakere regelverk enn EU.  Det gjelder blant annet miljø, helse, arbeidsliv og mattrygghet. Matkonsern i USA presser på for friere salg av GMO-mat og mer bruk av antibiotika og hormoner. Derimot synes EU at USA de siste åra har innført for strenge regler mot finansspekulasjon.

Resultatet kan bli at EU må svekke sine regler for trygg mat, og USA sitt regelverk mot framtidige finanskriser. De reglene som EU svekker, blir automatisk regler også for EØS-landet Norge.

Det mest dramatiske ved TTIP-forhandlingene er likevel hvorvidt de tvinger fram den tvisteløsningsordningen som er den vanlige ved slike investeringsavtaler.  Det er regler som gir selskap adgang til å kreve erstatning fra regjeringer som vedtar lover eller fatter beslutninger som påfører selskapet «tap av framtidig fortjeneste». Hvert år er det stadig flere eksempler på at selskap reiser erstatningskrav når vern om folkehelse, miljø og sosiale rettigheter forbedres.

Slike tvistesaker avgjøres ikke av vanlige domstoler, men bak lukkede dører av tre godt betalte handelsjurister som ofte ville vært vurdert som inhabile ved vanlige domstoler. Avgjørelsene kan ikke ankes.

TTIP kan derfor bli en avtale som åpner døra på vidt gap for å påtvinge alle EU-land genmodifisering og skifergass, som truer rettighetene til arbeidstakere og gir konsern rett – og makt – til å utfordre lovregler som de ikke liker.

TISA-avtalen forutsetter at hvert land setter opp ei liste av tjenester der full konkurranse ikke skal gjelde. Men når avtalen er inngått, kan ikke den lista utvides. Ingen regjering kan etterpå «komme på» at det var et par tjenester som burde ha vært med på denne lista – og velgerne kan ikke få flere tjenester unntatt konkurranse uansett hvordan de stemmer ved neste valg.
To særlige klausuler gjør TISA-avtalen til et varig overgrep mot det politiske demokratiet vårt, en «frys»-klausul og en såkalt «skralle»-klausul (rachet) skal sikre at vi aldri kan gjøre om vedtak om å konkurranseutsette eller privatisere bestemte offentlige tjenester.

Slik skal enhver liberalisering gjøres uopprettelig. En høyre-regjering som åpner et tjenesteområde for internasjonal konkurranse, skal føle seg trygg på at en venstre-regjering

Dagens norske regjering har klokkertro både på konkurranseutsetting og privatisering og vil mer enn gjerne sette varige spor etter seg. Da kan TISA bli til god hjelp.

Forhandlingene om TISA og TTIP føres i total hemmelighet. Det vi får vite skyldes lekkasjer som de aktuelle regjeringene skynder seg å dementere.

Her i Norge forsikrer regjeringen at vi skal ta både TTIP og TISA med stor ro. Derfor er det både oppsiktsvekkende og oppmuntrende at KS, organisasjonen for kommunene og fylkeskommunene våre, har sendt ut et klart varsko.
Hovedstyret i KS vedtok 22. juni å be regjeringen om å gå inn for å «sikre den lokale og regionale handlefriheten i forhandlingene om TTIP og TISA».
Et enstemmig hovedstyre la særlig vekt på at lokale folkevalgte organer har rett til å avgjøre hvordan tjenester som vann- og energiforsyning, renovasjon og avløp, redningstjeneste, de offentlige helse- og sosialtjenester, offentlig transport, boligbygging og tiltak innen byplanlegging, byutvikling og utdanning skulle organiseres.

Dette er uvanlig klar tale fra KS. Det er særlig grunn til å sette kryss i taket for at styremedlemmene fra Høyre, Fremskrittspartiet og Venstre var med på slike enstemmige krav.
Hva har skjedd i KS?
Svaret er enkelt. Det som har skjedd i KS, har skjedd over hele Europa. Det er på lokalt og regionalt nivå at folkevalgte har gått til kamp mot å bli skjøvet til side av internasjonale avtaler som lar markedskonkurranse feie til side vedtak i demokratisk valgte organ.

Denne kampen er reist på brei skala av CEMR som er organisasjonen for 150 000 europeiske kommuner og regioner, altså det vi kunne kalle et Euro-KS der vårt eget KS også er med.

I mai gikk CEMR ut med et «posisjonsdokument» i forbindelse med TTIP-forhandlingene.  Der er hovedkravet at den lokale og regionale autonomien ikke må svekkes som følge av en framtidig TTIP-avtale.

CEMR krever at TTIP-avtalen må gi et generelt unntak for alle offentlige tjenester. Avtalen må respektere rettighetene og interessene til offentlige myndigheter, «og særlig prinsippet om lokalt sjølstyre og friheten til å regjere, regulere og oppfylle sine offentlige tjenesteoppgaver slik de er fastlagt i EU-traktaten».

I tillegg må EU sine standarder for helse, sikkerhet og miljø ligge fast - og lokale og regionale myndigheter må fortsatt ha fullt herredømme over alt som hører inn under deres myndighetsområde. CEMR avviser derfor investor-stat-tvisteløsningene.

CEMR retter også skarp kritikk mot opplegget av forhandlingene. Fra EUs side er det EU-kommisjonen som forhandler. Posisjonsnotatet kritiserer at verken EU-parlamentet, EUs 28 nasjonale parlamenter eller lokale og regionale myndigheter er involvert i forhandlingene. Parlamentene kan bare si ja eller nei til det endelige forhandlingsresultatet og har ingen mulighet til å endre det.
 
Artikkelen sto på trykk i Klassekampen 29. august
27
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
28
Drikkevann i Norge / Norsk Casino Blog
« Nyeste innlegg av Weberjohn Onsdag 26. August 2015, kl. 12:31 »
Med sterk konkurranse blant de forskjellige casino på nett er utmerket kundeservice helt nødvendig.  En viktig del av kundeservice er å kunne tilby forståelig og innbydende nettsider, på spillerens eget språk.
29
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
30
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.”
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