Alternative World Water Forum opposes trade of water resources

When water is treated like a commodity, fundamental rights are left

Published in 25/09/2017 - 16:25 By Fernanda Cruz reports from Agência Brasil - São Paulo

Brasília - Barragem de Santa Maria apresenta nível baixo de água (Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil)

The Alternative World Water Forum opposes the privatization and trade of water -Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil

The Alternative World Water Forum (FAMA, in its original French acronym), announced today in São Paulo, is to present as its main theme the fight against the privatization and trade of water.

The forum will take place from March 17 to 19, 2018, in Brasília, as a counterpoint to the official gathering: the 8th World Water Forum, to be held from March 18 to 23 next year, also in Brasília.

Leo Heller, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation, agrees with the topic chosen. “Water is no commodity. I understand that, when water is treated like this, those who can't afford it are left out. When water is treated like a commodity, we leave fundamental rights aside. The message is that management models, designed to maximize profit, are models that may violate human rights,” he said.

In Heller's view, the corporations managing water have minimizing investment and maximizing revenues as their priorities. “In both cases, inequalities may be expanded, like rural areas that remain unassisted for lack of economic resources, or the outskirts of major cities under the pretext that water would be taken to illegally occupied territories,” he said. “Water is a right. It is unacceptable that an official forum of this caliber overlooks this principle,” he argued.

Rodrigo de Freitas Espinoza, who wrote a PhD theses on the topic at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), concludes in his study that the forum should be administered by the UN, and not by the World Water Council.

“The World Council's ostensibly neutral discourse attempts to imply that [the forum] is a neutral space, open to debate. Over the course of the research, I came to discover that this position is directed at the idea that the private sector is a sort of lifebuoy for major water-related problems,” Espinoza argues.

He further notes that FAMA, in turn, provides a space actually open for different sectors. “The official forum must take a stand. Water is a political currency of interest to all. That's why the construction of such a space is key, as it brings the several sectors together for the debate,” he said.

Translated by Fabrício Ferreira

Fonte: Alternative World Water Forum opposes trade of water resources

Edition: Fernanda Fraga / Nira Foster

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