Water for life, not for profit !

On 22 March 2021, the United Nations celebrates World Water Day. The official theme of this day is “Valuing Water”, a title that should ring alarm bells: there is only a short step between the idea of value and the idea of price! Yet, ascribing nature a financial value is a growing phenomenon, which has just culminated in the listing on the derivates exchange of the most essential element for humanity and life: water.

Listing water on the commodity market : a crime against life!

On 7 December 2020, the world’s largest financial derivatives exchange, CME Group, launched the first water futures market. Investors and speculators can now gamble on the price of water in California.

In theory, futures contracts should make it possible to combat price volatility and provide security for farmers. But reality clearly shown the opposite.

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We say NO to the trading of Water Futures on the Stock Market

Brussels, 22 Mach 2021

The European Water Movement joins the UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Water, Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, in condemning the trading of water on the stock market. Last December Mr Pedro Arrojo-Agudo expressed grave concern at the news that water would be treated as a commodity and is to be traded in the “futures market” on Wall Street.

Water is indispensable to life on Earth and the flotation of water on the stock market marks the beginning of the commodification of human life.

Water availability is already under threat from a growing population, climate change, pollution, large scale agriculture and industry.

According to the UN, a billion people have no access to drinking water and three to four billion have an insufficient quantity of drinking water at their disposal. Globally, 8 million people die annually because of insufficient access to water and sanitation.

It is an epochal transition that constitutes a major threat to fundamental human rights and opens water to financial speculation. This will lead to the further marginalization of millions of people, the marginalization of territories and small-scale businesses and farms. If water is put on the open market, it will inevitably lead to rising water prices. Trading ‘water futures’ is shocking news for us and criminal because it will certainly lead to the deaths of hundreds of millions of human beings, mainly the most impoverished on the planet

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing that clean water and sanitation are basic human rights. The move to commodify water on Wall Street directly threatens these human rights and puts billions in jeopardy. Furthermore, in Europe, this will represent a further slap in the face for almost 2 million EU citizens that, in 2013, signed the first European Citizens Initiative, Right2Water. The ECI calls for the exclusion of Water from the stock market and the exclusion of the profit motive from this common good.

Water is too precious to be open to speculation from financiers and investors seeking to profit from the planet’s water crisis. We must change course from the commodification of water and ensure, once and forever, that water resources are recognized as a human right and a common good. 

We ASK the EU institutions:

  • To reject officially the floatation of water in the Stock Market and declare water an inalienable common good, not subject to commodification and financial speculation.
  • To prevent the ‘grabbing’ of the water resources by requiring that approval of licenses for extractions guarantee the principle of solidarity, protect the quality and quantity of water intended for human consumption and act to protect and preserve water ecosystems.
  • To adopt the above requirements in the EU water legislation, in particular in the Water Framework Directive. With particular regard to the inclusion of the reference to the UN General Assembly Resolution of 2010 and to the EU Parliament Resolution of 2015.
  • To ask for investments to reduce leaks from water networks.
  • To ask for the preservation of Community ecosystems through investments against hydrogeological instability

We ask the Member States and the European institutions to include the principle of the Human Right to water in the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan. We need concrete proposal to this end.

Millions of people are deprived of rights to access essential services. It is appalling that the Commission only proposes a First EU Report on Access to Essential Services in 2023. This is too late to make concrete legislative proposals in this legislature and we demand it is moved forward to 2022.  

Manifesto for the protection of European deltas


TOWARDS A GREEN EUROPE TO PROTECT EUROPEAN DELTAS

Dear Vice-président of the European Commission Timmermans,
Dear European commissioner for the environment Sinkevičius,

February 2nd, 2021

There are around 10,000 deltas in the world, and some 339 million people live in them. Many of these deltas are extremely vulnerable to flooding, especially due to the effects of climate change and poor river basin management. Deltas are coastal systems formed by the contribution of water and sediments from rivers, which makes them vulnerable in double measure to climate change and other factors of global change in the territory. Its physical, ecological and socioeconomic integrity is threatened both by changes in the marine system (rise in sea level, increase in the frequency and intensity of sea storms, etc.) and by land uses and the management of their hydrographic basins (such as decrease in the river flows, reservoir sediments trapping, etc.).

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Letter to the investors of Tunsgtène du Narbonnais Company

The European Water Movement co-signed the following letter.

Stop Mines 81
La Métairie Haute
81260 Fontrieu - France
stopmines81 (at) laposte.net

Fontrieu, 8 June 2020

To the investors of Tunsgtène du Narbonnais Company

Copy to President, Prime Minister, Minister of economy and finance, Minister for ecological and solidarity transition, of the French Republic; Tungstène de Narbonnais Company

Dear Sirs,

You have expressed a wish to invest in the Tungstène du Narbonnais Company by applying to the French government for a prospective licence (« la Fabrié ») in august 2018, aiming to exploit local tunsgten ore.

The mining industry and its repercussions are well-known here. The mines that have been operating here in the past have led to a series of scandals due to their effects on the environment and on the health of the local residents : Saint-Salvy (zinc), Montroc (fluorine), Salsigne (gold).

Thus a wide array of local and national groups have ranked up as soon as the project was made public.

Mining operations are first and foremost detrimental to one vital resource : water.

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Inclusion of EYDAP and EYATH in the Superfund is unconstitutional according to the 4th Departement of the Council of State

16 June 2020

With two historic, major legal and political decisions (1223/2020 and 1224/2020), the 4th Department of the Council of State ruled unconstitutional the provisions of Law 4389/2016, which transferred the majority (50,003%) of shares of EYDAP and EYATH in the "Hellenic Holdings and Property Company SA" (Superfund).

The State Counselors of the 4th Department of the Council of State unanimously ruled that the allegations of the applicants (EYATH Workers' Union and EYDAP Workers' Federation) on the provisions of Article 191 of Law 4389/2016 are valid. The Supervisory Board of EESYP (Superfund) violates article 28 par. 2 of the Constitution and it is pointed out that according to law 4389/2016 after the transfer of shares in EESYP, the control of EYDAP and EYATH left the Greek State and fell into the hands of the European Commission and the European Stability Mechanism, through their members in the Board of Directors of EESYP.

This decision of the 4th Department of the Council of State (which due to their importance were referred to the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court of Cassation for final judgment) is a huge victory for the workers of EYDAP and EYATH, the citizens and the movements for Public Water. A second victory after the decision 1906/2014 of the Plenary Session of the Council of State that had deemed unconstitutional the transformation of EYDAP into a private company, and forced the transfer of the majority of shares from the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund back to the State.

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Open Letter on the Drinking Water Directive and the Right to Water

Brussels, 28 May 2020

To : the MEPs of the EU Parliament
For information to : the Commission of the EU and Council of the EU

As already highlighted in our previous statements,Coronavirus pandemic emergency has revealed the urgency of a deep improvement of the European water normative, firstly of the Drinking Water Directive (DWD) and the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

Unfortunately EU institutions seem to continue to legislate in the water field without taking into account what we learn from pandemic, social emergency and climate change. This negative impression is confirmed by the last revision of the DWD that will be submitted to the final vote of the EU Parliament.

In particular the text under scrutiny is very unsatisfactory for what concerns the real implementation of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation (HRWS) adopted by the UN General Assembly Resolution 64/292 (July 28th, 2010).

This revision has no reference to the UN HRWS. The request “to ensure universal and affordable access” as a right is no longer declared and it is reduced to a generic scope “to improve access to water”. This vague concept is in practice clearly of no effect. Even the positive introduction of provisions regarding definition and inclusion of vulnerable and marginalized groups without or with limited water access is completely delegated to the Member States in the absence of minimum clear fixed requirements to all, so this make uncertain the implementation of this disposition and fails to implement common standards to guarantee a Human Right throughout the Union.

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