Democratic forum demands public water for all
International water justice activists converged at the People?s Water
Forum today to affirm the human right to water and present diverse
visions of existing public and community-led water management
practices that protect water for people and nature, and can ensure
water access for all regardless of their ability to pay.
Maude Barlow, Senior Advisor on Water to UN General Assembly President
Miguel D?Escoto, delivered a statement from him. D?Escoto was clear:
?Water is a public trust, a common heritage of people and nature, and
a fundamental human right?We must challenge the notion that water is a
commodity to be bought and sold on the open market. Those who are
committed to the privatization of water?are denying people a human
right as basic as the air we breathe.?
A diverse group of water justice activists also presented their
forward-looking visions. Mary Ann Manahan, of Focus on the Global
South in the Philippines said ?Access to water and sanitation is not
only about efficiency and effective delivery but about justice, gender
equity, human dignity and ultimately, democracy.?
Sebahat Tuncet, a member of Turkey?s Parliament, issued a strong
statement against the construction of large dams, condemning
especially the Ilisu and Munzur dams and others under consideration
for construction throughout the region.
Adriana Marquisio, a member of Public Services International and
President of Uruguay?s Public Water Union, urged that water be managed
publicly and not for profit. ?But let us be clear,? she added, ?that
the meaning of ?public? extends beyond state control. Public
management must recognize alternative, community-led structures of
Philipp Terhorst of Transnational Institute, speaking for the European
Water Network, criticized the recent EU Parliament?s resolution that
fails to recognize the human right to water.
Also speaking at the conference was Al-hassan Adam, Coordinator of the
Africa Water Network, who condemned the repression of activists,
which, he said, reflects the larger exclusion of the majority of
people from basic human rights.
These speakers represent a wide spectrum of visionary leaders offering
practical, equitable, and just solutions to the world?s current water
crisis, said organizers of the Peoples Water Forum.