Skip to content

G7 undermines the human right to water and sanitation

To sign our petition to make this the last G7 summit, click here.

The upcoming G7 summit is likely to discuss the role of transnational capital under the theme of “investing in growth that works for everyone”.

The Canadian Press has reported, “Canada hopes the [G7] meetings will generate fresh ideas on how aid money can be leveraged to entice the private sector to boost investments in poorer parts of the world. …Earlier this year, [Canada] became the last G7 country to create a development finance institution [to lure more private capital into developing nations as a way to help make up for inadequate levels of foreign aid].”

Canada’s official development assistance is now about 0.26 per cent of its gross national income, which is well below the 0.7 per cent target established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1970.

In November 2017, The Globe and Mail reported, “Canada is working [to unlock] more private-sector financing to help fill an annual $7-trillion development-funding gap between now and 2030. …Canadian ambassador to the United Nations Marc-André Blanchard [is co-leading] a group of 60 countries focused on obtaining more private-sector capital, through channels such as pension, private equity and insurance funds, to help meet the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.”

Significantly, the Sustainable Development Goals agenda includes the universal access to water and sanitation. The United Nations member states pledged in paragraph 7 of the adopted text, “A world where we reaffirm our commitments regarding the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation.” Goal 6 of the SDGs states, “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”

The Blue Planet Project’s Meera Karunananthan has cautioned, “We know from past experience that ‘innovative financing’ is code private financing, which according to the World Bank’s own research has had dismal results in the water and sanitation sector. There is overwhelming evidence that privatization has resulted in the inability of governments to ensure the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation for all. Privatization and market-based solutions serve to enable the accumulation of private wealth within the context of the global water crisis. Public financing is the appropriate way forward for the realization of the human right to water and sanitation.”

And yet, this is the course Canada and the G7 appear to be on.

Instead of the exclusive and expensive G7 summits, we are calling for key global issues to be discussed by the G195, the United Nations General Assembly. The next G7 summits are scheduled for France in 2019 and the United States in 2020.

To sign our petition Make this the last G7 summit, please click here.