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UPDATE: Council to attend FAME planning meeting in Brussels, April 16-17

Barlow and Claude Genereux call for water to be recognized as a human right at the World Water Forum in 2000.

The Council of Canadians will be co-hosting a planning meeting on April 16-17 in Brussels, Belgium to organize an Alternative World Water Forum (in French, Forum Alternative Mondial de l’Eau, or FAME) to challenge the upcoming World Water Forum in Marseilles, France on March 12-17, 2012. Other organizations hosting this meeting include Food & Water Watch/ Europe, Corporate Europe Observatory, the Transnational Institute, Public Services International and the European Public Services Union.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has written that, “The World Water Forum is convened by big business lobby organizations like the Global Water Partnership, the World Bank, and the leading for-profit water corporations on the planet. The discussions focus on how companies can benefit from selling water to markets around the world. While governments are present, they are not in charge.”


Our intervention at the World Water Forum in 2000 in The Hague can be read on pages 8-9 at http://canadians.org/publications/CP/2000/CP_Summer_00.pdf. Maude Barlow has written that, “5,700 people were at this conference. Had it not been for the initiative of the Blue Planet Project, launched by the Council of Canadians in the year 2000, and allied groups like Public Services International, the vast majority of the delegates from countries around the world would have been exposed only to the dominant message – and sadly incomplete picture – provided by the global water corporations.”

Our presence at the World Water Forum in 2003 in Kyoto is noted in this Canadian Perspectives article, http://canadians.org/publications/CP/2003/spring/water_forum.html. Maude Barlow has noted, “Our strategy, planned with civil society groups in Japan, was to accept all formal venues to present our alternative vision, to bring our colleagues from the global South to tell their stories to the participants and the media and to work with Japanese civil society to build a strong support for public water systems, of which Japan has one of the best in the world.”

A Canadian Perspectives article on our actions at the World Water Forum in Mexico City in 2006 (which was originally scheduled to take place in Montreal) can be read at http://canadians.org/publications/CP/2006/summer/WWF.html. Maude Barlow has written, “Rather than try to influence the official forum, the water justice movement decided to stage its own events, beginning with a 35,000-strong march held the first day of the World Water Forum. One thousand activists and academics also attended an alternative peoples’ forum, the International Forum on the Defense of Water, organized  by the Mexican human rights coalition COMDA.”

And for Meera Karunananthan’s blogs on the World Water Forum in 2009 in Istanbul, go to http://canadians.org/water/issues/World_Water_Day/WWF_blog.html. A speech by United Nations General Assembly president Miguel d’Escoto delivered by Maude Barlow at this forum, now attended by 20,000 people, said, “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. (Future forums should) conduct their deliberations under the auspices of the United Nations.”

The website for the 2012 alternative forum is www.fame2012.org.