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March 18, 2009

Notes from the 5th World Water Forum March 16-22, 2009 Istanbul, Turkey

The Ministerial process aimed at producing a declaration on the outcomes of the World Water Forum has just closed. We've just heard that Brazil, Egypt and the US have prevented the right to water from being recognized as a human right. There was a proposal to include an appendix with comments from each country. Shockingly, the chair, a representative of the Turkish government, reported that the Governors of the World Water Council needed to be consulted before an appendix could be added.

We are starting to see more and more cracks in this farce of a process that pretends to be democratic. Governments wanting their comments to be made public are now awaiting the permission of the corporate-run World Water Council. Sources inside the meetings tell us that Switzerland was appalled. Uruguay declared even before the opening of the Forum that they would call for a counter declaration if the right to water was blocked.

March 18, 2009

The Ministerial process aimed at producing a declaration on the outcomes of the World Water Forum has just closed. We've just heard that Brazil, Egypt and the US have prevented the right to water from being recognized as a human right. There was a proposal to include an appendix with comments from each country. Shockingly, the chair, a representative of the Turkish government, reported that the Governors of the World Water Council needed to be consulted before an appendix could be added.

We are starting to see more and more cracks in this farce of a process that pretends to be democratic. Governments wanting their comments to be made public are now awaiting the permission of the corporate-run World Water Council. Sources inside the meetings tell us that Switzerland was appalled. Uruguay declared even before the opening of the Forum that they would call for a counter declaration if the right to water was blocked.

March 18, 2009

Al Jazeera reports from the World Water Forum in Istanbul that, "UN water elder-stateswoman, Maude Barlow, offered her views on the corporate world's relationship with the dwindling water supply. 'Water must be a public trust and belong to everyone. No one should be allowed to appropriate it for private profit while others are dying for the lack of it.' The issues, she said, were conservation and water justice. 'If you are in the 'water business', you cannot move towards those two goals,' she said. (Greg Coch, managing director of Coca-Cola's Global Water Stewardship and Environmental Water Resource Programme) observed afterwards 'It's good to look the enemy in the eye.' It is only day one and already the battle lines are being drawn."

As of 2009, Al Jazeera's English-language service is available to 130 million homes in over 100 countries via cable and satellite.

You can read this article at
http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2009/03/20093176251178283.html

March 17, 2009

Notes from the 5th World Water Forum March 16-22, 2009 Istanbul, Turkey

Maude spoke this morning at a press conference to denounce the silencing of water justice activists.

Yesterday, at an anti-dam protest organized by Turkish groups, many Turkish activists were injured and arrested. A German and an American representative of International Rivers were detained for unfurling a banner that read "no risky dams."

They were protesting the construction of the Ilisu dam project on the Tigris River which would destroy the 10,000 year-old city of Hasankeyf. So far 350,000 people have been displaced by dam projects in Turkey.

This morning the foreign activists were deported to their respective countries.

At the press conference, the room was packed with journalists from around the world.

March 17, 2009

It is with great pleasure that I share the news with you that Stuart Trew has accepted the position of trade campaigner.

Stuart did exceptionally well as our researcher/ writer in the national office focusing on the defeat of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, and he has done equally well as our Ontario-Quebec regional organizer based in Toronto.

As we face the challenges of NAFTA renegotiation, the expansion of TILMA, the strengthening of the Agreement on Internal Trade, and the start of the Canada-EU talks, I can think of no one better to handle the analytical and campaign demands of these critical fights.

Stuart will continue to work out of the Toronto office, but we'll be seeing more of him in Ottawa given his new role.

Stuart will officially start as the trade campaigner on April 1, but will take on some of his new campaigner responsibilities immediately.

Carleen will be working as quickly as she can to hire a new Ontario-Quebec organizer (and we continue our work to hire another campaigner, this one to work in defence of public health care).

Please join me in welcoming Stuart to his new position.

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