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UPDATE: Report on private sector influence on UN water policies

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow writes, “For years, many human rights, social justice and environmental groups, as well as grassroots communities around the world fighting for their right to water, have decried the growing influence of big water corporations at the United Nations. For-profit utilities, bottled water companies, water industry associations and companies investing in private water services are all exerting strong influence on the UN agencies and policies that affect billions around the world. Many of us have long expressed concern that this corporate influence has steered the UN to more market-oriented solutions to the global water crisis and have opposed UN agencies being drawn into deeper involvement with the World Water Council, a corporate-serving body that often seems to speak for governments in its policy iterations, but really represents the interests of the private sector.”

Barlow adds, “We invited Julie Larsen, an environmental and international researcher with extensive international experience, to write a detailed report on the influence of the private water sector at the UN. We are very proud to make this report and Julie’s recommendations available to the public so that UN agencies, the General Assembly, member governments, the media and the global water justice movement can assess this influence for themselves and make more informed decisions and strategies when working for change at the UN and elsewhere. …We hope this report and its detailed information about the role of the private water sector at the UN serves to inform the public in the search for a more just and sustainable water future.”

On May 4, this paper was introduced at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development’s 19th session, which is meeting from May 2-13 in New York.

As noted in a UN media release, “Close to 1,000 representatives of Governments, non-governmental organizations and other parts of civil society will attend the Commission’s two-week meeting. They will be joined in the second week by ministers attending the High-Level Segment, which begins on May 11.” That media release also notes, “In its last session before the ‘Rio+20’ Conference (June 4-6, 2012 in Brazil), the UN Commission on Sustainable Development will recommend policy options aimed at promoting more efficient, equitable and safer use of the Earth’s resources.”

To read Julie Larsen’s report, A Review of Private Sector Influence on Water Policies and Programmes at the United Nations, please click here.