Who owns the water?
There are now almost twenty blue communities in Switzerland.
The first blue communities in Switzerland were recognized on September 18, 2015. On that day, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow presented a blue community certificate to the City of Bern and the University of Bern.
Barlow noted, “In becoming Blue Communities, the City and University of Bern are showing leadership in Europe in asserting that water is a common heritage of humanity and of future generations as well as our own. You are committing to protect the waters of Switzerland as a human right, a public trust and a not-for-profit public service. It is my fervent hope that your undertaking today will be the beginning of a European-wide movement that will one day reach across the whole world.”
A blue community certificate was also presented at that time to the Evangelisch-reformierte Kirchgemeinde Bern-Johannes Church.
The World Council of Churches (based in Geneva) became a blue community on October 25, 2016, as did the City of St. Gallen and the University of St. Gallen on September 26, 2016, and the Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirchgemeinde Spiez, on September 1, 2016.
Now Swiss-based activist Lisa Krebs tells us, “We have almost 20 blue communities in Switzerland.”
Those blue communities include HEKS – Swiss Church Aid (an aid organization of the Swiss Protestant Churches based in Geneva that became a blue community on March 20) and Haus der Kirche (‘The House of the Church’, a meeting place/ conference centre located in the northern Black Forest that was founded by Cistercian monks in 1149).
Other communities in Switzerland that could become blue communities in the near future include Brot für alle (a Swiss non-governmental organization that is the Development Service of the Protestant Churches of Switzerland), the University of Fribourg (which has about 10,000 students), the City Church of Biel (a Swiss Reformed church in Biel/Bienne that was constructed in 1470), and the University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur (which has 1,600 students).
It is notable that the bottled water giant Nestlé is a transnational corporation based in Vevey, Switzerland.
The blue communities project was founded by The Council of Canadians and the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
To learn more about the blue communities initiative in Switzerland (in German and French), please click here.
You can also find out more about the blue communities project on The Council of Canadians website by clicking here.