Mexico: Water activists challenge World Water Forum
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO, March 16, 2006 — Voices excluded from the 4th World Water Forum held in Mexico City March 16-22 will be heard at an alternative forum attended among many others by Friends of the Earth International campaigners.
Friends of the Earth International
16 March 2006
The official Water Forum is a business-dominated talk-shop attended by influential organizations such as the World Bank, the UN and the IMF, as well as some of the world’s largest water and energy corporations.
The alternative “International Forum in the Defense of Water” gathers instead activists meeting to defend the fundamental human right to clean, affordable water and calling for water to be recognized as part of the global commons.
“We were shocked by the apathy shown by Forum organizers and Mexican officials asked to include alternative viewpoints in the official Forum program. Forum organizers also refused to assist many community activists from around the world obtain Mexican visas,” said Longgena Ginting of Friends of the Earth International.
“The official Water Forum is dominated by corporate interests, North American and European governments, agencies and international financial institutions. It claims it is founded on collaboration and partnership but in reality it keeps out too many voices. The registration fee of 480-600 USD made real public participation impossible,” he added.
The World Water Forum seeks to influence water policy making at a global level. But pie-in-the-sky solutions like water privatization advocated by Forum host ‘the World Water Council, are failing in many places, from Bolivia to the Philippines.
According to Carlos Santos of REDES / Friends of the Earth Uruguay: “Water privatization guidelines that came out of the 3rd Water Forum failed spectacularly in Uruguay. Privatization of water services in the Maldonado area caused grave social, economical and environmental consequences. It also brought about a popular uproar and a constitutional reform – backed by 64,7% of Uruguayan citizens – which prohibited water privatization and laid the ground for participatory and sustainable water management.”
The alternative forum in Mexico city includes ‘Community Days in Defense of Water’ organized by and for indigenous and farmer organizations, community groups, academics, trade unions, students, grassroots organizations, women’s groups, public health advocates, and social movements from within Mexico.
Friends of the Earth groups from Paraguay, Uruguay, El Salvador, Colombia, France and more are among these groups.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT IN MEXICO CITY:
Tel: +52 (044) 5529951533
Longgena Ginting, Friends of the Earth International (English/Bahasa)
Tel: +52 (044) 5529951533
Carlos Santos, Friends of the Earth Uruguay (Spanish)
Elías Díaz Peña, Friends of the Earth Paraguay (Spanish)