Emboldened by the growing global water crisis and determined not to let corporate control dominate the World Water Forum, an international coalition of public interest organizations released a declaration of what they envision to be a new constitution for global water policy.
The vision statement officially has been presented at the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto to oppose the official ministerial declaration. More than 225 groups have signed on in support of the alternate declaration.
Since the first World Water Forum in Morocco in 1996, there has been a growing divide between the private companies and governments who want to treat water as an economic commodity and the people in civil society who see water as a precious resource and a public trust. Despite repeated attempts to engage officials in an equitable exchange of ideas and solutions, non-governmental organizations and the people they represent have been ignored.
A massive network of people now has coalesced to challenge the consensus of a corporate model which relies heavily on private funding, private control of water systems and, according to the coalition, a disregard for the human suffering that quickly follows such an agenda.
The creation of an international conference dedicated to water began under the auspices of the World Bank at the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Subsequently, the World Water Council (WWC), an independent water policy think tank, was born in 1995. Comprised of World Bank representatives, corporate executives and government officials, the WWC lacks the critical perspective offered by the world's poor who are the most likely to suffer from water policies inflicted under privatization.
Chief among the groups' concerns is the need to characterize water as a human right and not a commodity to be profited from on the global market. The two-page document demands a reevaluation of water policies from the perspective of social justice and environmental sustainability.
To read the vision statement, visit www.blueplanetproject.net.