World Bank must stop promoting “dangerous” public-private partnerships

Brussels/Washington DC, October 11 2017

A new campaign aimed at reversing the dangerous rush to promote expensive and high-risk public-private partnerships (PPPs) was launched today by civil society organisations from all over the globe.

The campaign’s manifesto - launched during the World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meetings in Washington DC - demands that western governments, the World Bank and other development banks stop prioritising PPPs over traditional public borrowing to finance social and economic infrastructure and services.

The manifesto point out that experience of PPPs has been overwhelmingly negative and very few PPPs have delivered results in the public interest. PPPs often cost more in the long run than conventional public funding, expose governments to financial risk, and can have a disproportionally negative impact on women and children, and undermine democracy, human and environmental rights.

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Press release of the German network of solidarity with Greece

Handing over more than 170.000 signatures against water privatization in Greece on the 19th of June in Brussels to the President of the Eurogroup Working Group Thomas Wieser

Greece is being forced to privatize its two largest water companies in Thessaloniki and in Athens. This arouses big outrage and resistance is growing.

“The access to water is a human right. Water is a public property and not an object of trading.” This appeal signed by almost 2 million people induced the EU to give up the plan of water privatization - except for its southern countries, where the policy of the Troika puts pressure on politics to privatize water supply. So the Greek Parliament had to agree in transfering the large water companies EYDAP and EYATH to the newly founded superfund, controlled by the creditors, for privatization. Otherwise they would not be given the next credits.

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Concerning: Public consultation on Recommended PPP Contractual Provisions

27 February 2017

The European Water Movement with the European Network on Debt and Development, and more than 75 NGOs and trade unions from all over the world, signed the following letter.

To: World Bank Group PPP team
CC: World Bank Executive Directors

Dear World Bank Group (WBG) PPP team,

We are writing to explain why we will not participate in this public consultation and why we are encouraging other stakeholders to adopt the same approach. We strongly believe that the WBG should not address contractual provisions without first and foremost fixing the perverse accounting incentives which make PPPs a dangerous tool.

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Trade Unions and Civil Society Welcome the Introduction of the Human Right to Water into the Constitution of Slovenia

Brussels, November, 18th 2016

Last night the National Assembly of Slovenia passed an amendment to its Constitution to include a new article that recognizes the Human Right to Water. The amendment affirms water should be treated as a public good managed by the state, not as a commodity, and that drinking water must be supplied by the public sector in a non-for-profit basis. It is a great success for Slovenian activists and people.

“Citizens from across the EU and Europe have successfully mobilized to have the right to water and sanitation recognized as a human right – as decided by the United Nations – and have this put into EU law. The European Commission continues to ignore nearly two million voices of the first ever successful European Citizens Initiative. Commissioner Vella should listen to citizens and follow the Slovenian example as soon as possible,” said Jan Willem Goudriaan, EPSU General Secretary.

Water is a controversial topic in Slovenia, as foreign companies from the food and beverage industry are buying rights to a large amount of local water resources. The Slovenian government has raised concerns about the impacts of free trade agreements like CETA in its capacity to control and regulate these resources [1].

“Trade agreements and investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms can limit the ability of states to take back public control over water resources when foreign investors are involved, as it is the case in Slovenia. To guarantee the right to water and the control over this key resource, the European and the Slovenian Parliaments should reject CETA when it comes to a vote in the coming months,” said David Sánchez, Director of Food & Water Europe.

The amendment is the result of a citizens’ initiative that collected 51.000 signatures to propose a constitutional amendment [2].

“We welcome the introduction of the human right to water in the Slovenian constitution, as the great result of a citizens’ initiative. Now civil society should be vigilant to guarantee a democratic and transparent management of the integrated water cycle founded in the participation of citizens and workers,” said Jutta Schütz, speakperson at the European Water Movement.

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Notes

[1] The Slovenian government raised concerns about the ambiguity of terms like “commercial use of a water source” in CETA, how the agreement applies to existing water rights and the future ability of national governments to put limits on concessions already granted without being subject to claim under ICS, among others. The document can be found here
http://europeanwater.org/images/pdf/Slovenia-questions-on-Water_14-9-2016.pdf

[2] More information about this citizen’s initiative can be found at their website
http://voda.svoboda.si/

Contact:

Jutta Schütz, Speakperson, European Water Movement, +49 (0) 157 390 808 39 (mobile), juttaschuetz(at)gmx.de

David Sánchez, Director, Food & Water Europe, +32 (0) 2893 1045 (land), +32 (0) 485 842 604 (mobile), dsanchez(at)fweurope.org

Guillaume Durivaux, Policy officer, EPSU, +32 (0) 22501041, gdurivaux(at)epsu.org

PDF file of this press release

Solidarity letter with the Sioux community of Standing Rock

Mr. Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

CC Mr Anthony Luzzatto Gardner
US Ambassador to the European Union
United States Mission to the European Union
Zinnerstraat - 13 - Rue Zinner
B-1000 Brussels, Belgium

Brussels, December 1st 2016

Dear Mr President,

The European Water Movement is a pluralistic network of social and environmental organizations, committees, and unions whose goals are water protection, application of the human right to water and recognition of water as a commons in Europe. Members of the European Water Movement were on the people’s side struggling all over Europe against the extraction of shale gas by fracking, in order to preserve the water resources of their territories and their living environment. These struggles have been partially successful as fracking is now banned in several European countries.

Consequently, the European Water Movement can only be in solidarity with the Sioux community of Standing Rock, which is fighting against the crossing of its territory by the Dakota Access Pipeline. This pipeline is a direct threat to the water resources and livelihood of the Sioux. The Sioux, who call themselves “protectors of water”, demand nothing but respect for the treaty, attributing to them the territory that would be crossed by the pipeline. The only answers they have received so far are violent attacks of their camps by the Dakota police and the security services of Energy Transfer Partners, recalling the darkest hours in the history of the Great Sioux Nation.

Mr. President, before the end of your term, listen to the Sioux community of Standing Rock and cancel the building permit of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It is still time.

Kind regards,

Contact : hello @ europeanwater.org
Rue d´Edimbourg, 26. B-1050 Brussels, Belgium

pdf file of the solidarity letter

Governments and civil society concerned about the impact of CETA on water

Brussels - October, 17th 2016

As the EU Council and the European Parliament are about to vote the free trade agreement between the EU and Canada (CETA), more questions are raised about its impact on water as a resource and on water services. European and Canadian organizations had access to a list of questions raised by the Slovenian Government to the European Commission [1]. The organizations on its side sent a letter to EU governments raising their concerns [2].

David Sánchez, from Food & Water Europe said: “CETA will open the door to corporate grabbing of water, and push further commodification of water resources. Also it creates new legal uncertainty for public authorities delivering water services”.

A draft joint interpretative declaration has been circulated and there possible impacts on water are denied.

Jutta Schuetz, from the European Water Movement added: “The European Commission and Canada had time enough to take water out of the treaty. Instead, they introduced dangerous provisions written in fuzzy legal terms that will only be clarified when decisions from public authorities are challenged in court. The draft joint declaration is legally uncertain and just a bad joke. If we want to consider water as a commons, and access to water as a Human Right, we need to reject CETA.”

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