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Mar 14 2007
Supplied or written by World Development Movement

See also http://www.worldwat
News from the World Development Movement

14 March 2007

EU water policy deluged with critics

Critics of the European Commission’s promotion of water privatisation have joined together in a worldwide call to take urgent action to tackle the global water crisis.

Today’s advert in the /European Voice/, placed in the run up to World Water Day, has been endorsed by over 45 civil society and labour organisations from around the globe.

The coalition is calling for an end to the use of aid money to facilitate private sector involvement in water and sanitation services in poor countries and for the European Commission to drop requests for market access in the area of water services within international trade talks.

Instead, the coalition would like to see greatly increased aid and public investment in the water and sanitation sector, backed up by support for the development of strong public utilities in the global South through ‘public-public partnerships’ which would enable the exchange of expertise between public providers, working hand-in-hand with local communities.

“The clock is ticking for donors like the European Commission to take action on the humanitarian and ecological water crisis that leaves one billion people without access to clean water. The failed privatisation projects in many places from Bolivia to the Philippines show that private is not necessarily better than public. Donors like the European Commission should recognise that 90% of the water supply worldwide is still operated and managed by public water utilities. In the global South, there is much evidence that it is possible to improve public water delivery, and that their weaknesses and deficiencies are not terminal”, said Mary Ann Manahan, a researcher with Focus on the Global South, who is based in the Philippines.

“Just in the last few weeks we have learnt that one of the EU Development Commissioner’s special advisers is also a director of water multinational Suez. It is clearly time for a change of approach, one that recognises access to water as a human right and which gives poor countries the support needed to make this right a reality on the ground”, says Vicky Cann, Policy Officer, World Development Movement.

Issued from Britain by the World Development Movement

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nformation for editors

[1] World Water Day is 22 March 2007. On 19 March there will be a demonstration in front of the European Commission's Trade department –Water out of free trade negotiations! Water is a human right! From 18-20 March, the World Water Assembly for Elected Representatives and Citizens
(AMECE), will be held between at the European Parliament in Brussels. http://www.amce. be/

[2] For background information to the issues raised in the advert,
visit: http://www.worldwat

[3] Etienne Davignon is one of four special advisers to the EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel. Mr Davignon is a member of the board of directors of water and electricity giant Suez. According to the Suez website, he holds 11,111 Suez shares, which are currently worth more than 350,000 euro. For more information
see: http://www.corporat specialadvisers. html

[4] Endorsing organisations for the advert include: 11.11.11; ABVAKABO FNV; ActionAid International; Africa-Europe Faith and Justice Network; Afrika-Europa Netwerk Netherlands; Les Amis de la Terre; Association of African Engineers and Scientists International; Attac Flanders; Blue Planet Project; BothEnds; Bread for the World; Campagna per la riforma della Banca Mondiale; Centre national de Coopation au Deloppement; Comisi Nacional en Defensa del Agua y la Vida/ Red VIDA (Uruguay); Corporate Acountability International; Corporate Europe Observatory; Ecologistas en Acci; Ecumenical Water Network; Engineering Without Borders (Catalunya); Environmental Rights Action- Friends of the Earth (Nigeria); European Federation of Public Service Unions; FIVAS Association for International Water Studies (Norway); Focus on the Global South; Food and Water Watch; France Libert Fondation Danielle Mitterrand; Friends of the Earth Europe; Friends of the Earth (Finland); Friends of the Earth International; GATS Platform (Netherlands) ; Italian Water World Contract Committee; Latin America Solidarity Centre (Ireland); PROTOS; Public Services International; The Springs Foundation; Transnational Institute; UNISON; UNISON Scotland; Unser Wasser Hamburg; Verdegaia; War on Want; Wasser in Bgerhand; WaterAid; Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (UK); World Development Movement.

The full list of supporting organisations can be found at:

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