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Sep 30 2006
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6th Asia-Europe People’ Forum 3-6 September 2006, Helsinki, Finland

Workshop on 'Defending Essential Services and Building Alternatives to Privatisation in Asia and Europe' (Tuesday 5 September 2006)

The opening plenary of the workshop was attended by 55 people and input was made by three speakers (Sven Giegold (ATTAC Germany & the Tax Justice Network), Marc Maes (11.11.11, Belgium), Lidy Nacpil (Jubilee South, The Philippines)). In the afternoon, the workshop was divided into two working groups on respectively water and health care issues, both focusing on alternatives and struggles against privatisation, with aim to explore the possible synergies and areas of mutual cooperation, action and solidarity.

The water delivery working group (attended by 33 people) started with short presentations on water privatisation and emerging alternatives in Asia (and to a lesser extent Europe). Au Loong Yu (Globalisation Monitor, Hong Kong) who has just finished the Chinese edition of ‘Reclaiming Public Water’, talked about the wave of water privatisation in China. Nila Ardhianie (Amarta Institute, Indonesia) shared the news from Jakarta: the private water multinationals (Suez and RWE Thames water) are about to leave Jakarta after almost a decade, without meeting their contractual obligations. Civil society groups and unions have to urgently mobilise to regain public control over water provision in Jakarta. Mary-Ann Manahan (Focus on the Global South) presented the complex situation after the failure of the privatisation project in Manila. Olivier Hoedeman and Jorma Peussa (trade union for the public and welfare sectors, JHL, Finland) spoke about the situation in Europe and Finland, respectively.

The second round focused on institutions and governments that are promoting water privatization (mainly focusing on Asia) and how to develop stronger campaigns for a shift towards alternatives like Public-Public Partnerships (PUPs). Vicky Cann (World Development Movement, WDM) introduced WDM’s campaign to challenge the pro-privatisation policies of the UK government’s development agency DFID. Jorgen Maghdal (FIVAS, Norway) introduced the campaign against the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), which funds consultancy work to prepare the ground water privatisation. Ginting Longgena, Friends of the Earth International, presented the campaign against the European Investment Bank.

During the working group sheets of paper were put on the wall to create an overview of existing networks and initiatives, a calendar of events (omitted), agreed group actions as well as the recommendations to ASEM governments.

Solidarity cooperation with campaigns in Indonesia - workshop with public water experts
Share and learn from campaign for remunicipalisation in Europe
Campaign against PPIAF and other donors
Blue October mobilisations
Regional seminars (and mapping) of alternatives to privatisation
Study and exchange tour in China
Campaigning against donors imposing privatisation
Strategy on pro-privatisation consultancy firms
Mapping of progressive public utility reforms and other best-practice in developing countries
Documentation of experiences with re-nationalisation and re-municipalisation
Updating each other to create synergies and avoid overlaps
How to involve communities and grassroots more in international campaigning? An example is the labour and migrant workers gathering in Batam (Indonesia) next week
Promoting Public-Public Partnerships (PUPs)
UN right-to-water initiative, proposed by the governments of Norway and Bolivia

Networks & initiatives
Bantay Tubig, Philippines
‘Reclaiming Public Water’ network: &
Right to Water (convention)
Friends of the Right of the Water
Blue October-Global onal water mobilisations
Red Vida (Americas network for right and defence of water):
Campaign on the European Investment Bank (EIB):
Development roundtable series Philippines
Blue drop campaign, c/o Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
Regional campaign (Asia) on water and power privatisation; Jubilee South/APMDD
Campaign on PPIAF

Demands to ASEM
Governments must stop the privatisation of water, health and other essential services
Instead of funding privatisation and private corporations, ASEM governments should promote improved public service delivery, for instance through public-public partnerships
Democratisation, participation and public consultation are key to improving essential service delivery
Stop using all public funding to push privatisation and private companies
ASEM should promote Public-public-partnerships, starting with organising a seminar on this concept.

Notes of working groups on Health and on Networking and Strategies

1.Public policies need to respect peoples rights and social rights.
2.Reforms need to be debated through true public consultations.
3.Public goods are not for sale! Consumers rights cannot replace citizens rights.
4.Health is a right – to be seen in a larger context – not a commodity.
5.Quality (equality – efficiency) of services need to be safeguarded through institutions of social compacts consisting of various shareholders – making service providers, governments accountable to citizens and to each other.
6.We need social innovations including innovative campaign to address privatization challenges
7.Welfare model have to be safeguarded and energised, not dismantled.
8.There is need to develop new financing and investment sources to finance welfare services for all.
9.Strengthen social ministries in their role to safeguard social welfare and public interest.

The speakers' presentation materials are online on the AEPF website:

The workshop was coordinated by Transnational institute (TNI, the Netherlands), Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN, Malaysia), Friends of the Earth Finland, Attac Finland, 11 11 11 (Belgium), AsiaHouse (Germany), JHL Trade Union for Public and Welfare Sector in Finland, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO, the Netherlands), Stop Bolkenstein Initiative (Germany) and other groups

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