The Alternative Water Forum #FAME2022 starts today

Every 3 years the World Water Council organises the World Water Forum. The name of the forum is not fair, as it is a forum for private water companies. The World Water Council is a private lobby formed by the main water multinational companies, such as Agbar, Suez and Veolia, which promote the privatisation and deregulation of public water and sanitation services in the world.

This is the reason why the organisations and people who fight to make access to water a human right and a common good, organise a counter-summit called the Alternative World Water Forum (AWWF) for each World Water Forum. We work within a common framework that understands water as a human right and a non-marketable public good. And we understand that a World Forum to discuss the main issues and problems of water cannot be co-opted by private interests or ignore the participation of citizens and, above all, the communities most affected by the lack of access to the right to water.

After the first Water Forum in 1997 in Morocco, the World Forum returns to the African continent, this time in the capital of Senegal, Dakar. When the official forum was announced, local and regional organisations quickly mobilised to organise the alternative forum (FAME). The aim of this #FAME2022 is to unite efforts from around the world to guarantee the right to water and protect water resources, especially for those populations suffering from poverty and social exclusion. The #FAME2022 will address the challenges of secure and affordable access to water, as well as climate change and democratic water governance.

The #FAME2022 programme

FAME 2022 will be held from March 21st to 25th. It will start with a big popular demonstration to show our rejection of the policies of privatisation and spolio of water that the city and the Senegalese country are suffering. On March 22nd, #WorldWaterDay, there will be a grand opening and international press conference, with the support of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation and the Mayor of Dakar. From March 22nd to 25th, there will be several plenary sessions, workshops and cultural and artistic events. Of particular note are the strategic meetings for the creation of an African water justice network. The full programme of the forum can be found here.

Given the circumstances of the pandemic, FAME 2022 in Dakar will have a hybrid format to allow virtual participation. Do not miss the opportunity to follow the forum virtually. Register at this link.

The path to #FAME2022

Engineering Without Borders (ESF) and the European Water Movement (EWM) have a long tradition of international links, which is why we participate in the organisation of the alternative forums since 2006.

Our involvement in the FAME International Steering Committee started in 2020, when, despite the pandemic that was soon going to lock down, we travelled to Dakar and met several organisations to start the path towards the Alternative Forum. It was a meeting with many stories from different parts of Africa, and with the voices of powerful women eager to be heard.

The choice of Dakar by the World Water Council is not by chance. It is only two years since the Senegalese government granted the management of drinking water in the main Senegalese cities to the multinational Suez. And the African continent, with a great lack of access to water and sanitation, is seen by international corporations as an important market to exploit.

Since 2019 ESF has participated in all the meetings of the international steering committee. In October 2021 we hosted an EWM meeting in Barcelona, where we discussed the european participation in FAME and hosted an event to raise awareness of the African water reality here in Catalonia. Today the Forum starts, we are very satisfied with the work carried out and the solidarity links created with the African continent.