Friday 31 October 2008

Video of the launch of the European Public Water Network

Watch the video of the launch of the European Public Water Network on the 21st of September 2008 at the European Social Forum in Sweden.

Manifesto - Towards a European Public Water Network

We recognize the Charters of Mexico City (Joint Declaration of the Movements in Defense of Water) and Nairobi and the method of working inclusively and in unity that has characterized the social forums since their birth. In particular we want:

1. Recognition and implementation of the human right to potable water as food necessary for life. Access to water as a universal human right should be included in all constitutions of member countries, and in the basic principles and acts of the European Union. Pre-paid water meters must be forbidden.

2. That water is excluded from all international trade agreements, including the treaties of the World Trade Organization.

3. That the European Commission, European Council and individual European governments withdraw their support from the World Water Forum, which is a flawed framework for decision-making on water. As adopted in March 2006 in a European Parliament resolution, it is inappropriate for the World Water Council, a private body without any democratic legitimacy, to be allowed such influence over global water policies.

4. That the European Union and member countries affirm that water is a common good essential to life and as such cannot be categorized as a ‘commodity’ to trade like any other. Ownership, management and control of the integrated water cycle should be public and participative at a social and community level. The principles of public participation, full transparency and democratic accountability must be respected.

5. Guarantee the right to water assuring good water quality, well knowing that this can only be sure under public control.

6. Political and financial support for diverse forms of public-public partnerships, through international development cooperation and financial cooperation to ensure access to water, exchange of best practices among public enterprises, local authorities, modalities of participation and solidarity between citizens and communities from different countries and regions. We want to promote solidarity among people in the situation of droughts.

7. That the investment needed to secure safe and sustainable water supply for all in Europe and across the world is a collective responsibility, which should be paid for through general taxation.

8. The exclusion of the industrial contracts for the exploitation of mineral bottled water in order to protect and conserve this resource for future generations.

9. A sustainable management that protects the natural water cycles and maintains the ecological functionality and the quality of water in our rivers and aquifers. This management model should also avoid the construction of big infrastructure projects (dams, fluvial interconnection, etc.) financed by public investments that directly promote the commercialization of water by big corporations.

10. Good working conditions for the employees in public water companies. Workers must also be fully integrated into democratic decision processes on the development of water services.
The European Public Water Network of Movements, though working on the issue of water, is open to dialogue and collaboration with all the Movements and Networks who struggle against privatization of the public services and common goods.

We will participate in and support, together with other continental networks and progressive forces in Turkey, the counterproposals to the World Water Council’s World Water Forum (Istanbul March 2009) that will be presented within and outside the Forum. At the upcoming World Social Forum in Belem (January 2009) we will present proposals and actions to ensure that water will become one of the points of worldwide mobilization of all the social forums.