Kumar, Karunananthan, Campero and Galvin at a Blue Planet Project planning meeting in Marseille.
After an early-morning planning meeting over breakfast, Ottawa-based Council of Canadians/ Blue Planet Project campaigner Meera Karunananthan, Mexico City-based Blue Planet Project organizer Claudia Campero Arena, New Delhi-based Blue Planet Project organizer Madhuresh Kumar, and Durban-based Blue Planet Project organizer Mary Galvin fanned out across Marseille for various water justice actions:
Forum Alternatif Mondial de l’Eau Workshop
Dock des Sud
“I just moderated a panel with David Boys from PSI, Sylvie Paquerot from the University of Ottawa and Bernard Mounier one of the Marseille-based organizers of FAME. There were several hundred people in a large auditorium for this pre-opening session aimed at introducing primarily the Marseille community to our movement and our issues. The panellists were all fantastic, but we decided to use a popular format for most of the session and managed to open up the discussion to participants from the floor who came up and shared the most profound and beautiful experiences as water activists. We had German farmers talking about protecting their land against mega green energy projects, a Senegalese activist talking about water scarcity, a person from Grenoble who talked about remunicipalization and so many other amazing stories. I was truly floored. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed myself more as a moderator. And of course, because I couldn’t help myself, the stories were peppered with lots of chanting! L’eau pour tous, tous pour l’eau!!”
Claudia Campero Arena
Front Steps of the Gare Saint Charles train station, central Marseille
“The action of creating a living river in Central Marseille was great! Around 200 people from around the world met in Gare Saint Charles today to celebrate the International Day of Action for Rivers and Against Dams.
A great performance went on with drums: a lively river that animals and people enjoyed was formed, but downstream a dam stopped it from running and killed the ecosystem. People from struggles against dams were present from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Turkey, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, Italy, Spain, US and France. To finalize the act, animals and people ran down the river and took down the dam! There are so many dams in the works that it is frightening. As our statement to governments expresses dams ‘have displaced an estimated 40-80 million people, impoverished millions more, and turned fresh water into the ecosystem most affected by biodiversity loss. Big, centralized hydropower projects have typically favoured the demands of extractive industries and urban centres over the basic needs of the poor.’ We need to stop this agenda, protect communities and ecosystems.”
Asia water strategy meeting
“We had a small group exchange where we had people from Philippines, Japan, Tanzania, Indonesia, India, Canada, Greece and US. It was a first meeting of just getting to know each other and share our work. We shared our perspectives on the right to water struggles with Filipinos fighting their privatise water and Thessaloniki residents forming cooperatives to buy the divested shares of the state run services to stop the increase of Suez’s share and control – called Project 136. Indonesians are translating the project in their language for wider dissemination. Greeks also said that the struggle for right to water is now enshrined like the Indian struggles in the wider struggle for right to life and livelihood. Tanzania, Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, story was of a transition of free water supply in Zanzibar to the one where those who can afford to contribute to keep the water supply and quality running and poor people getting it for free. Public Water Supplier, who was at the meeting he shared his experience on this issue. The meeting was coordinated by Satoko.”
World Water Forum
Parc Chanot – Palais des Congrès et des Expositions de Marseille
“The ‘Blue Group’ has commented on the Ministerial Declaration of the World Water Forum released yesterday. Bangladesh, Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, France, Germany, Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, and Uruguay have sent a communiqué to all World Water Forum stakeholders that says, ‘The recognition of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 64/292 and Human Rights Council resolution 15/9 is a momentous step forward.’ The Ministerial Declaration does not affirm this ‘momentous step forward’. The global water justice movement has condemned the Ministerial Declaration for failing to explicitly recognize the human right to water and sanitation and to commit to the full implementation of these rights.”