Sun, April 10 2011 14:29
Bolivia's Evo Morales calls for UN declaration against water privatisation

Bolivian President Evo Morales call on African leaders to back a proposed United Nations declaration that would block the sale of public water services to private companies. Speaking at the 2011 World Social Forum in Dakar on February 6th, he said:

We are going to go the UN to declare that water is a basic public need that must not be managed by private interests, but should be for all people, including people of rural areas.

Commenting on Morales’ statement, IATP Senior Policy Analyst Shiney Varghese wrote:

Coming from the president of a nation, this is a very important statement in the international campaign towards the right to water. [...] Given that nearly three-quarters of the “water poor” belong to rural communities, it is high time that international deliberations around the right to water focus on rural communities access to safe water.

At the World Social Forum, water justice activists drafted a “Water Justice Movement Media Statement” in support for Morales’ proposal to “lock the sale of public water service to private companies”:

We oppose the dominant economic model that prescribes privatization, commercialization and corporatization of public water and sanitation services. We will counter this type of destructive and non-participatory public sector reform, having seen the outcomes for poor people as a result of rigid cost-recovery practices and the use of pre-paid meters.

The water activists are “looking forward to the next World Water Forum in 2012″ in Marseilles to voice their demands. The media statement was signed by 25 organisations ranging from Food & Water Watch, USA to People’s Coalition for the Right to Water (KRUHA), Indonesia and Zanzibar Water Authority, Tanzania. So far nearly 6,500 people have signed an online petition “Speak Out Against Privatization of Water” petition in support of the Water Justice Movement statement.

Source: Drew Hinshaw, Bloomberg / Business Week, 07 Feb 2011 ; Emily L.,, 16 Feb 2011 ; Shiney Varghese, Twin Cities Daily Planet, 26 Feb 2011

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