Skip to content

UN president denied opportunity to speak to the World Water Forum

AlterNet reports that, “Each (World Water) Forum pretends to be a quasi-United Nations event, to the extent of issuing a Ministerial Statement at the Forum’s close promoting global policy approaches to water and sanitation.”

“This year, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, President of the UN General Assembly, requested to be given an opportunity to publicly address the World Water Forum, but received no response from the Forum’s organizers.”

The article continues, “Concerning d’Escoto’s effective exclusion, Maude Barlow, his Senior Advisor on Water, said, ‘The Forum portrays itself as a UN event. But the President of the UN General Assembly was denied the opportunity to speak. We could hardly have a more clear message about the Forum’s priorities.'”

This morning Maude delivered a speech on behalf of the UN president to the People’s Water Forum, a counter-forum being held by hundreds of civil society members from nearly 70 countries whose voices have not been at the World Water Forum.

In the speech, the UN president says, “We must work quickly to guarantee that access to drinking water constitutes a fundamental right of all peoples…”

He says, “Those who are committed to the privatization of water, making it a commodity like oil, are denying people a human right as basic as the air we breathe.”

The UN president also questions the legitimacy of the World Water Forum itself. His speech states, “The forum’s orientation is profoundly influenced by private water companies. This is evident by the fact that both the president of the World Water Council and the alternate president are deeply involved with provision of private, for-profit, water services.”

His full speech will be posted at www.canadians.org later this morning, and will also be released to the 20,000 delegates from 150 countries attending the World Water Forum.

The full AlterNet article can be read at