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TO THE PARTICIPANTS TO THE SEMINAR: PEOPLE’S WATER FORUM DEBATE
Mumbai, January 17
4th World Social Forum, Mumbai, India
A note by the International Committee for the Global Water Contract
(Founding member of the People’s World Water Movement)
CAMPAIGN “WATER: PUBLIC GOOD, PUBLIC FINANCE”
1. On 12-14 January 2004 a People’s World Water Forum was organized in Delhi on the initiative of several water movements and organizations from various regions of the world. Participants approved the proposal for an information and mobilisation joint campaign on WATER: PUBLIC GOOD, PUBLIC FINANCE.
2. The International Committee for the Global Water Contract has actively promoted and supported the proposal which is one of the six priority actions mentioned in the Rome Declaration of 10 December 2003 on Water is a human right. We are happy to try to make our contribution to the campaign and its success by means of the following action.
3. End December 2003 we set up a small working group with the mandate to explore the problem and deliver an issue paper to serve as a basis for a strategic seminar to be held next May at Créteil (Parisian Region) within the framework of the Water University (“L’Université de l’Eau”) promoted in the last three years by the Conseil Gènèral du Val de Marne. The aim of the seminar will be to define in detailed terms the rationale, the inspiring principles and the key objectives of the campaign.
In line with the Créteil Paper a few action tests will be organized, wherever possible. Taking stock from the results of these action tests we intend to prepare a 50-60 pages report on
Water: Public Good, Public Finance
Proposals for action at local and global levels
The report will be submitted for discussion, changes and approval at the 2nd WORLD WATER ALTERNATIVE FORUM (WWAF) scheduled on 18-19 March
2005 . Democracy will also be a key topics of the 2nd WWAF (preliminary thoughts). It goes without saying that all water activists are cordially
invited to the 2nd Water Alternative Forum and to contribute to the debates and results.
4. Following the discussion we had in Delhi on this item, we suggest that the campaign:
a) Should emphasize as for as the campaign rationale is concerned
The structural inability of present international financial system to provide the appropriate funding for the public goods (and services) that are essential for life
Because of exchange rates instability, interest rate volatility, the huge importance of speculative financial transactions, the great number of fiscal heavens,
corporate accounting mismanagement and illicit practices, today International financial system is crises prone; it creates perverse effects for public
goods financing, provision and management
The rejection of the report on “Financing Water for All” presented at the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto by an expert panel set up by the World Bank and
chaired by Michail Camdessus, former IMF director general.
In line with UN Conference on “Financing and Development” (Monterrey, March 2002), the Camdessus Report postulates once again that private
capital investment is the principal source for financing the development of the world.. This explains why the “new” proposals made in the Report – considered by its authors as an example of innovative thinking in water financing – are geared at guaranteeing adequate levels of returns to private investments and a strengthened protection of private property rights. These measures are seen by the Report as necessary and urgent with the view to the attract private investment in the “ water business” “ The scientific quality and social pertinence of the Report are entirely discredited by these proposals..
The rejection of the theory on the scarcity and the inadequacy of public financial resources.
Public financial resources are not scarce in the North. They are often mismanaged, wasted, diverted. Thus, public finance in many countries is symbol of inefficiency, bureaucracy, corruption. In these cases what is needed is not privatization but the promotion in these countries of democratic, transparent and efficient public systems. Nor can the financial poverty in the Southern countries justify water services privatization. Water privatization implies that water costs met by private multinational corporations are financed by local consumers This means that financial resources are locally available. Furthermore, private “investment” by foreign multinationals is very often financed by local public institutions via loans given by the multilateral international financial institutions.
b) And, as far as solutions are concerned, the campaign should give priority to:
- Measures that modify the macro-economic framework. One may mention
Ø supporting the ongoing campaigns for
- A special tax on speculative financial transactions
- The abolition of all fiscal heavens
- The cancellation of Third World Debt
- Against the World Bank new Poverty Reduction Strategy
Ø the re- establishment of effective controls on capital movements at national and international levels
- Measure that are water specific. Possible measures to be promoted are
Ø to safeguard, enhance or restore a redistribution based taxation system
Ø to reduce and reallocate 1% of the military budget to water services
Ø to reduce and reallocate the 347 billions US $ subsidies given by the rich countries to their agriculture to the benefit of water investments and Third World Countries.
Ø introducing new financial tools for better water resource management (example: the levy of one cent of euro for bottle of mineral water), inter-regional inter-national solidarity (example: the allocation of one cent euro per m3 of water public revenue to promote cooperative projects to the benefit of populations from less developed countries).
Ø to design and promote new financial instruments and institutions such as
- inter-communal and inter-regional cooperative saving banks
- continental and international public mutual funds to support “public – public partnership”
- replacement of World Bank by a World Cooperative Bank.
5. We are convinced that the Campaign”Water: Public Good, Public Finance” will prove to be a constructive example of strong cooperation between water activists from all regions of the world. United we will “win”. We have to show that competition for leadership amongst our movements will not pay.
We are eager to know your wishes and intentions at one of the following addresses, at your best convenience:
- French Association for the Global Water Contract (ACME_F) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Italian Committee for the Global Water Contract (ACMA-I) email@example.com
- Association Québécoise pour le Contrat Mondial de l’Eau (AQCME) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Belgian Association for Global Contract Water (ABCME) email@example.com
- Groupe Suisse pour le Contrat Mondial de l’Eau: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Groupe Marocain pour le Contrat Mondial de l’Eau : email@example.com
- General Secretariat, International Committee for the Global Water Contract firstname.lastname@example.org
THE RIGHT TO WATER FOR ALL
Warmest Militant Greetings
The International Committee for the Global Water Contract
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