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March 19, 2009

A new report from Corporate Europe Observatory notes that, "Judging from all available sources, the European Union appears in fact to be pushing for including water in trade agreements whenever possible."

Their report notes various bilateral trade talks the EU have been pursuing with developing countries and states, "Even the simple question of whether the EU is pushing for including water and sanitation services in these FTAs is kept from public scrutiny."

Their report also notes, "In February 2003...the EU’s requests to third countries were leaked and (it) became public that the EU was asking 72 countries to ‘liberalise’ their water services, providing unlimited market access and ‘national treatment’ for foreign firms. Many of the countries targeted had public-managed water sectors. The EU’s demands were clearly aimed at advancing privatisation to benefit the EU corporations that dominate the world’s private water markets."

March 19, 2009

AlterNet reports that, "Each (World Water) Forum pretends to be a quasi-United Nations event, to the extent of issuing a Ministerial Statement at the Forum's close promoting global policy approaches to water and sanitation."

"This year, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, President of the UN General Assembly, requested to be given an opportunity to publicly address the World Water Forum, but received no response from the Forum's organizers."

The article continues, "Concerning d'Escoto's effective exclusion, Maude Barlow, his Senior Advisor on Water, said, 'The Forum portrays itself as a UN event. But the President of the UN General Assembly was denied the opportunity to speak. We could hardly have a more clear message about the Forum's priorities.'"

This morning Maude delivered a speech on behalf of the UN president to the People's Water Forum, a counter-forum being held by hundreds of civil society members from nearly 70 countries whose voices have not been at the World Water Forum.

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

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