The Alternative World Water Forum (AWWF) took place in Marseille from 14 to 17 March. The official Forum on Water took place at the same time. The latter was a strikingly bitter failure, with only 3,000 participants of the 20,000 expected.
The AWWF, on the other hand, with far less resources, brought together about 5,000 participants, covering local associations working on water-related issues, trade unionists, NGOs, delegations from Africa, Asia and both North and South America. transform! europe was involved with these meeting and had a stall with its review.
Disappointed by the official forum, some of those taking part in it “sought asylum” at the AWWF, considering that the official forum did not offer any answers to the real problems raised by water supply. After all, the official forum essentially met the commercial and speculative preoccupations of multinationals like Veolia, Coca-Cola etc.
There was a very diverse attendance at the AWWF, with convergent gatherings of many movements. The subject of one of these gatherings covered the AWWF and Rio+20. Those taking part in this gathering all affirmed that the question of water crystallises all the problems of the commercialisation of nature, such as the privatisation of access to water as well as the monopolisation of land, and makes them issues of popular concern. The multinationals buy up land, build dams so as to be able to better control supplies and market them in financially profitable ways.
Many raised the issue of “private-public” partnerships, whose sole purpose is to make public bodies pay for the investments so as to make profits for the private partners.
Only a “public-public” partnership was considered likely to fulfil the requirements of public service that the people need. A special emphasis was laid on the necessity of a democratic management, at a level close to the population concerned – this would create the other side of public management.
A Peoples’ Summit for social and environmental justice and against the commercialisation of nature and of living organisms: