Agence France Presse reports, “A report prepared for non-government organizations said Wednesday that corporate interests have gained too much influence over UN water policies, creating potential conflicts of interest in addressing the global water crisis. The report prepared for the Council of Canadians, the largest NGO in Canada, and endorsed by 139 organizations was sent to the UN and opposed ‘the increasingly widespread lobbying of the United Nations by transnational water corporations.'”
“The organizations said the UN should reject an application for official consultative status from the main corporate water lobby association, known as Aquafed. So-called consultative status ‘is a way to hear the voices of social movements and civil society around the world. It should not be allowed to become a way for corporations to try and influence global water policy,’ said Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow. ‘It is important that we let the UN know this is unacceptable.'”
“Julie Larsen, author of the report, said that ‘based on my review of water governance at the UN, I feel that the imbalance in power, influence, and money that come with engaging the private sector must be addressed head-on to prevent serious conflicts of interest.'”
“The report said the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) should be a forum ‘that is free from corporate conflicts of interest. To surmount the global water crisis, the UN must assure a formal, transparent and democratic space in which governments can advance the best possible sustainable strategies to protect water as a public good,’ it said.”
“Those endorsing the report included US-based Food and Water Watch, France’s Libertes Foundation, Canada’s Polaris Institute and Italy’s Mani Tese.”
Julie Larsen’s report A Review of Private Sector Influence on Water Policies and Programmes at the United Nations can be read at http://blueplanetproject.net/resources/reports/UN-LarsenReport-Building-0511.pdf.
The open letter to UN Missions can be read at http://blueplanetproject.net/resources/open-letter-Aquafed-18-05-11.pdf.
Our media release on the report and open letter is at http://canadians.org/media/water/2011/18-May-11.html.
The AFP news report can be read at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gVzfHqMF19qeKgQOuNGj9BJgHdig?docId=CNG.d6a323d7a3c697aacbec98c665f80b15.241.