Thursday, March 12, 2009

Latin American governments call for water policy shift ahead of Istanbul water forum

A bloc of Latin American governments led by Uruguay is insisting that the World Water Forum's Ministerial Declaration must recognise the right to water, that water should be excluded from trade negotiations and that the World Water Forum should become part of a democratically accountable UN process. These and other progressive water policy demands - supported by a global coalition of civil society groups - were rejected by the US and European governments at negotiations ahead of the Forum held in Paris last week. Uruguay and other Latin American governments are now likely to seek support for a Complementary Declaration in opposition to the Forum's official Ministerial Declaration.


We, the Ministers or our representatives herein signing, declare the following before the participants of this Forum, the international community and the peoples of the world:

- Access to water with quality, quantity and equity and access to sanitation services, constitute fundamental human rights. The States, with the participation of the communities, must carry out efforts at every level to guarantee this right for their peoples. Therefore, we agree to continue to make every effort within the framework of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and other international forums to recognize and ensure this right is made effective.

- We manifest our profound concern about the possible negative impact that any international instrument, such as the Free Trade and Investment Treaties, could have on water resources. We reaffirm the sovereign right of the peoples to exclude water, in all its uses and services, from trade agreements.

- We reiterate the call on all governments and peoples to convene the upcoming VI World Water Forum in the framework of the international multilateral system, based on the principles of full participation and inclusion.

- States will place priority on the use of water and water supply for their populations.

- We exhort the international community to meet the commitments, repeatedly made, to support efforts made by countries to ensure access to water and sanitation services, promoting agreements and public-public cooperation.

- We will promote the declaration of the public dominion of water in every arena.

- We ratify what is expressed in 'Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States', approved by the United Nations General Assembly December 12, 1974, which establishes: "Every State has and shall exercise full permanent sovereignty, including possession, use and disposal, over all its wealth, natural resources and economic activities," adding that "In the exploitation of natural resources shared by two or more countries, each State must co-operate on the basis of a system of information and prior consultation in order to achieve optimum use of the resources without causing damage to the legitimate interest of others."

- Those using the service and civil society will participate in all water planning, management and control bodies.

- The states and communities will promote public-public cooperation processes to make possible participation and exchange, excluding any profit.

No comments: