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
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 by the World Development Movement
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