Water is under assault in Mesopotamia

 

 

Declaration of the First Mesopotamian Water Forum
University of Sulaimani,
Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, 6-8 April 2019

Over-extraction; the draining of marshes and wetlands; deforestation; too many irrigation projects, poorly-drained land; pesticides and fertiliser run-off; contamination by poorly or often un-treated discharges from industry as well as households; the widespread building of large and cascade small dams; the increasing exploitation of groundwater aquifers; stream channelization; inter catchment water transfer schemes; and the ravages of fossil-fuel-induced climatic change have variously disrupted hydrological cycles and created conditions of severe local and regional scarcity. For human and non-human beings, such physical scarcities have been exacerbated by policies aimed at commodifying and/or politicising water, denying access to the common good of water.

Taken separately, each of those assaults would be cause for grave concern. Taken together, they pose a threat to the collective survival of humans and non-humans alike. Defending water and the right of all forms of life to access to water, in Mesopotamia, is now a critical civic duty: without water, there can be no life.

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Call of the European Water Movement for European elections

The European Water Movement is an open, participatory and pluralist network of social movements, organizations and committees, and trade unions whose aim is to strengthen the recognition of water as a commons and water and sanitation access as universal fundamental right. We are united in the fight against the privatization and the commodification of this vital resource, as well as in the promotion and the implementation of a public and collective management of the water and sanitation services, based on democratic participation of citizens and workers.

Since its foundation in 2012 the members of the European Water Movement have played a significant role and have engaged in advocating for water justice and the recognition and implementation of the human right to water and sanitation at EU, national and local level.

Our members are based in: Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Greece, and Serbian and Bosnian organizations recently joint us.

The European elections in May 2019 are a crucial moment for the European Water Movement to get in touch with candidates: we call you to take a position in support of the human right to water and sanitation, commit to our values and promote policies that recognise water as a commons.

HUMAN RIGHT TO WATER

Seven years since the achievement of the first ever European Citizens Initiative, in which the European Water Movement played a key role, but we are still waiting for a real implementation of the human right to water and sanitation in the EU and the member states. It is a fundamental issue for the European Water Movement and its members, we ask you to commit to support it.

We also demand that all European water laws explicitly mention the recognition of the human right to water and sanitation, and water as a commons.

The lack of recognition of the human right to water and sanitation is reflected in a diverse range of policies at EU level where MEPs support is crucial.

-- DRINKING WATER DIRECTIVE

The recast of the Drinking Water Directive voted by the European Parliament does not include or recognise the human right to water, while the European Commission pretended that this was one of the aim of the recast. We call on MEPs to scrap the current text and reformulate a more ambitious proposal reinforcing art 13 European Commission's draft. We also call for a more effective approach to chemical substances like PfAs or PfOs and microplastics. 

-- WATER FRAMEWORK DIRECTIVE

Clean water is essential to life, and this requires protecting water bodies. The Water Framework Directive, key legislative instrument for water protection, has to be continued after 2027. The upcoming fitness check must include a concretisation of the prohibition of water deterioration and strengthen effective enforcement mechanisms. Also, recital 1 needs to be strengthened according to the demands of the millions of citizens expressed by the Citizens' Initiative Right2Water: water supply and management of water bodies not be subject to ‘internal market rules’

-- WATER AND TRADE/INVESTMENT AGREEMENTS

Water and sanitation services are defined as essential services for everyone by principle 20 of the European Pillar of Social Rights; therefore they must be explicitly excluded from trade and investment rules and agreements (such as CETA or JEFTA). Such exclusion is missing so far, despite European Parliament demands, including via the call for a “golden standard” clause for public services. Parliamentary control is crucial during the negotiation and implementation of these trade agreements. The precautionary principle is also of essential importance in the context of trade agreement. We call you to ensure democracy is protected and essential services such as water and sanitation are excluded from any trade agreement!

COMMONS IN EUROPE

The debate about the commons is increasingly important in Europe; this includes cultural and digital commons, social commons, urban commons and natural commons (such as communal land and, of course, water). The eighth European Parliament has seen the creation of an intergroup focusing on commons in Europe. The commons are strongly connected with human rights and they offer a relevant and effective way out of the economic and social crisis, restructuring our economies and societies. We urge the European Parliament to continue working on the commons.

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP

Remunicipalisation and public-public partnerships with a decisive role of citizens proved their effectiveness. They represent the best option for European water policy and real and effective democracy and transparency. Remunicipalisation took place in major cities such as Paris, Berlin, Budapest, Turin and Naples, in medium size cities like Terrassa, Valladolid, Montpellier and Rostok, and in small cities such as Medina Sidona and Arenys de Munt. Remunicipalisation is inseparable from fights against privatisation in Portugal and Greece, among others. We ask you to support legislative proposals for the development of public-public partnerships and encourage remunicipalisation of water and sanitation services in Europe! 

A private equity fund buys Indáqua

Translation in English of a STAL (Sindicato Nacional dos Trabalhadores da Administração Local e Regional, Empresas Públicas, Concessionárias e Afins) press release.

Lisbon, 1 February 2019

STAL denounces the public water trade

In 2016, the portuguese construction group Mota-Engil, majority shareholder of Indáqua, the other shareholder being the German insurance group Talanx, sold its stake to the Israeli group Miya for € 60 million.

After three years, Indáqua, one of the largest private water service concessionaires in our country, is the target of a new transaction, bought this time by the International Private Equity Fund, Bridgepoint, ignoring the amounts involved in this business.

A business which, as STAL has always denounced, confirms that the financialization and growing dominance of foreign capital in the water sector, an inseparable consequence of privatization, would be a matter of time, as in all sectors open to privatization.

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Letter of support from the European Water Movement to the Mesopotamian Water Forum

With this letter, the members and allies of the European Water Movement express their support and solidarity to the people organizing the Mesopotamian Water Forum, a civil society forum on the alternative management of Euphrates and Tigris rivers and their tributaries in Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran that will take place between 6 and 8 April 2019 in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan region of Iraq.

All over the world there are examples of damages caused by dams and hydropower plants. Evidence is well documented and international network of people fighting against these damages are ever growing. Therefore, the fight against dams might be considered as a global fight.

The European Water Movement is part of this international network defending the rivers, the territories and the communities linked to them.

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Solidarity letter to the Save the rivers demonstration in Belgrade

Dear friends from the Balkans,

We see the demonstration today 27 january 2019 in Belgrade as a great step forward for the construction of a continental social movement for water as a common, for the promotion of the human right to water and for the protection of the environment against the selfish interests of some that want to destroy it only for their benefit.

The movement to defend rivers of Stara planina (Odbranimo reke Stare Planine) is for us the same struggle that our members do in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Germany, Ireland… We encourage you to continue and we support the efforts to create a wider organization for the promotion of water as a common, for a more democratic water management and for the human right to water. In that sense the creation of the group Pravo na vodu (Right to Water) makes us full of joy!

Forward in the struggle and all our support!