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NEWS: US to sign water agreement with the World Bank on World Water Day

A US State Department media release states, “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the World Bank on World Water Day at World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, March 22 at 2 p.m. The MOU will strengthen support to developing countries seeking a water secure future. Secretary Clinton and World Bank President Robert Zoellick will deliver brief remarks.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow writes extensively in her book Blue Covenant on the harmful role played by the World Bank with respect to water. She highlights, “By the early 1990s, the World Bank (was) encouraging poor countries to let the big European water corporations run their water systems for profit. A country’s ability to choose between public or private water systems was steadily eroded, and by 2006, the vast majority of loans for water were conditional on privatization. …Between 1990 and 2006, the World Bank funded more than 300 private water projects in the developing world.”

She also writes, “Water privatization has become a key component of the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP), the primary strategic and implementation vehicle used to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals and the framework agreements through which developing countries receive international aid. The World Development Movement studied the fifty PRSPs signed off by the World Bank in the first half of 2005 and found that 90 percent of the countries promised more privatization in general and 62 percent promised water privatization specifically.”

And Barlow notes, “Many poor countries are also exporting huge amounts of water through the virtual water trade because of a desperate need for income and because they have been strongly pushed by the World Bank to pay off their debts through monoculture crop exports, even it means using their best, most arable land and their remaining water supplies to do so.”

To find out more about what Barlow has to say about the destructive role of the World Bank, you can read her book Blue Covenant on-line at http://books.google.ca/books?id=6it6jUsVHIcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=blue+covenant&hl=en&ei=sI6ETaPDF9KGtwejz8W9BA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false and use the search function to find “World Bank” references.

The US State Department release is at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/03/158604.htm.