March 20, 2009

Our media officer Dylan Penner has let us know that the Pulitzer Centre has uploaded a video clip of Maude Barlow speaking at the World Water Forum in Istanbul on water as a human right vs. water as a commodity.


You can watch the video at


The Christian Science Monitor reports that, "'If we can determine that water is a right, it gives citizens a tool they can use against their governments,' says Maude Barlow, a senior adviser on water issues to the president of the UN General Assembly. 'If you believe it is a human right, then you believe that you can't refuse to give it to someone because they can't afford it,' she says."

March 20, 2009

Please see below the full text of the 'People's Water Forum Declaration 2009' adopted on March 19.

The People's Water Forum was a counter-forum held by hundreds of civil society members (including the Council of Canadians) from nearly 70 countries.

People's Water Forum Declaration 2009

After Mexico City 2006, which was any important milestone of the continuous work of the global movement for water justice, we have now gathered in Istanbul to mobilize against the 5th World Water Forum.

We are here to delegitimize this false, corporate driven World Water Forum and to give voice to the positive agenda of the global water justice movements!

Given that we are in Turkey, we cannot ignore that this country provides a powerful example of the devastating impacts of destructive water management policies. The Turkish government has pushed for the privatization of both water services, watersheds and has plans to dam every river in the country.

March 20, 2009

Please see below a letter to the editor from Maude Barlow that was published by the Globe and Mail this morning. Also, be sure to tune in to The Current on CBC Radio this morning to hear her talk about the World Water Forum.

March 20, 2009

So the Harper government's effort to win a seat on the UN Security Council could be hampered by its decision to transfer aid from Africa to Latin America (CIDA Cuts To Africa Could Hamper UN Ambitions - March 16). There is an additional concern: I believe the Harper government should be denied a seat on the UN Security Council until it formally recognizes water as an international human right, a right it has rejected at the UN Human Rights Council.

Unsafe water and sanitation are the source of 85 per cent of all disease, and one in every six people on Earth has no access to clean drinking water. A UN covenant would clarify that it is a state's responsibility to provide sufficient, safe, accessible and affordable water to all of its citizens.

March 19, 2009

Please see below the media release issued by the Council of Canadians this morning.


Istanbul / March 19, 2009 - The President of the United Nations General Assembly has told delegates at the World Water Forum in Istanbul that, "We must work quickly to guarantee that access to drinking water constitutes a fundamental right of all peoples..."

In a speech delivered by his senior advisor on water Maude Barlow, UN president Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann said, "Those who are committed to the privatization of water, making it a commodity like oil, are denying people a human right as basic as the air we breathe."

Ms. Barlow, who is also the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, delivered the president's message 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 WWF. The speech was later released to the World Water Forum, which is being attended by 20,000 delegates from 150 countries.

March 19, 2009

Council of Canadians national chairperson Maude Barlow will be interviewed live from the World Water Forum in Istanbul tomorrow, Friday March 20, by CBC Radio.

The Current is broadcast weekdays at 8:30 a.m. (9:00 NT) on CBC Radio One and on Sirus Satellite 137.

It will also be available later as a podcast at (We will also send around that audio link.)

The Council of Canadians team of Maude, Blue Planet Project organizer Anil Naidoo, and water campaigner Meera Karunananthan have been doing an extraordinary job on our behalf in Istanbul.

Be sure to read Meera's blog from the World Water Forum at