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Water justice groups denounce World Water Forum’s “Citizen’s Process”

A letter I sent to the organizers of the Citizens’ Process at the World Water Forum, April 25, 2017.

A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to participate in the preparatory meeting for the World Water Forum’s “Citizens’ Process” that is taking place today, April 25 in Brazilia. I understand that this meeting is part of the World Water Council’s effort to coordinate global civil society organizations in advance of the World Water Forum taking place in 2018 in Brazil.

I am writing to explain why I and the undersigned organizations will not be accepting the invitation to participate at this meeting or in any future process associated with the World Water Forum.

As global water justice organizations, we have long opposed the role of the World Water Forum in promoting the privatization and commodification of water. The World Water Forum is not a legitimate policymaking space. It is a corporate trade show organized by the World Water Council – a multi-stakeholder consortium promoting solutions to the water crisis that serve the interests of multinational corporations.

We are appalled that United Nations agencies and governments from around the world would lend any credibility to the World Water Forum as a decision-making platform by participating in it. Public funds should not be spent on mega private sector conventions.

We call instead for a genuinely democratic global forum that will address the global water crisis by promoting policies aimed at implementing the human rights to water and sanitation and protecting freshwater as part of the global commons.

Water policies should not be discussed or drafted behind closed doors at expensive corporate trade shows. Multinational corporations whose actions are responsible for the destruction of watersheds or for the denial of access to the most vulnerable populations must not be rewarded with a seat at the decision-making table.

As water justice advocates we will not lend our voices to the corporate policy forum by participating in the event or in any of the preparatory processes. Instead, we will support activities organized by local Brazilian groups in solidarity with campaigns challenging the Temer government’s agenda to sell off public water and sanitation utilities and freshwater supplies in Brazil.


Maude Barlow

Chair of the Council of Canadians and Founder of the Blue Planet Project

Co-signed by:

Food and Water Watch (USA)

Food and Water Europe

Red Vigilancia interamericana para la Defensa y Derecho al Agua (Américas)

Plataforma de Acuerdos Público Comunitarios de Las Américas (Américas)

Public Services International

The Transnational Institute

Focus on the Global South (Asia)

Fundación Abril (Bolivia)

Chile Sustentable (Chile)

Censat Agua Viva (Colombia)

Corporación Ecológica y Cultural Penca de Sábila (Colombia)

Corporación ECOFONDO (Colombia)

Red Nacional de Acueductos Comunitarios de Colombia (Colombia)

Red de Mujeres Ambientalistas del Departamento del Meta (Colombia)

Red de Acueductos Comunitarios de la Región Caribe (Colombia)

Red Territorial de Acueductos Comunitarios de Bogotá y Cundinamarca (Colombia)

Asociación Departamental de Acueductos Comunitarios de Antioquia (Colombia)

Federación de Acueductos Comunitarios del Valle del Cauca (Colombia)

Asociación de Acueductos Comunitarios de Boyacá (Colombia)

Instituto Mayor Campesino (Colombia)

Proceso Articulado de Acueductos Articulados de los Departamentos de Meta, Guaviare y Casanare (Colombia)

Bloque Popular (Honduras)

Coalición de Organizaciones Mexicanas por el Derecho al Agua, COMDA (México)

Asociación de Usuarios del Agua de Saltillo AUAS, AC. (México)

Mujer y Medio Ambiente (México)

Colectivo Educación para la Paz y los Derechos Humanos A.C. (CEPAZDH) México

Federación de Trabajadores del Agua Potable del Perú (Perú)

EYATH Trade Union (Greece)

SOSte to Nero (Greece)