DEBATE ON PRIVATIZATION BECOMES CENTRAL ISSUE AT WORLD WATER FORUM AND ALTERNATIVE GATHERINGS IN MEXICO CITY.The Fourth World Water Forum (WWF See Windows Workflow Foundation. ) in Mexico City Mexico City
Spanish Ciudad de México
City (pop., 2000: city, 8,605,239; 2003 metro. area est., 18,660,000), capital of Mexico. Located at an elevation of 7,350 ft (2,240 m), it is officially coterminous with the Federal District, which occupies 571 sq mi on March 16-22 considered a number of solutions to a pending global water crisis, but the most controversial issues were discussed outside the Centro Banamex convention center at an alternative forum and other events. Thousands of delegates from 121 countries attended the WWF, including government officials, hydrologists, engineers, and business representatives.
The Mexico City event followed three similar gatherings organized by the World Water Council (WWC WWC Worldwide Classroom
WWC Walla Walla College (Walla Walla, WA USA)
WWC World Water Council
WWC Women's World Cup (soccer)
WWC Workshop on Workload Characterization
WWC Washington Wheat Commission ) during the past 12 years. The first was in Marrakech, Morocco, in 1997, followed by The Hague, Netherlands, in 2000, and Kyoto, Japan, in 2003.
The WWC was created in 1996 to respond to increasing concerns about global water issues. "By providing a platform to encourage debates and exchanges of experience, the Council aims to reach a common strategic vision on water resources and water services management amongst all stakeholders in the water community," the WWC said on its Web site. "In the process, the Council also catalyses initiatives and activities, whose results converge toward its flagship product A primary product of a company, which is typically why the company was founded and/or what made it well known. For example, MS-DOS, Windows and the Microsoft Office suite have been flagship products of Microsoft. CorelDRAW is a flagship product of Corel Corporation. , the World Water Forum."
Critics say the forums have done little to improve the global water situation and have tended to promote a capitalist, infrastructure-oriented model rather than taking a grassroots approach to the problem.
"The WWC is dominated by the World Bank, the large corporations, and the water ministries from the First World," said water-rights advocate Maude Barlow Maude Victoria Barlow (born May 24, 1947) is a Canadian author and activist. She is the national chairperson of The Council of Canadians, a progressive citizens’ advocacy organization with members and chapters across Canada. , honorary president of the nongovernmental organization nongovernmental organization (NGO)
Organization that is not part of any government. A key distinction is between not-for-profit groups and for-profit corporations; the vast majority of NGOs are not-for-profit. (NGO NGO
Noun 1. NGO - an organization that is not part of the local or state or federal government
nongovernmental organization ) Council of Canadians.
As an alternative to the WWF, a coalition of NGOs organized the International Forum for the Defense of Water, held in part at the Centro Medico in Mexico City. Organizers conceived of the alternative conference after the last forum in Kyoto failed to address concerns surrounding water delivery to the public. "There was hardly any attention paid to public water experiences, public delivery, or even reforms to make [public control] operate more effectively," said event organizer Olivier Hoedeman of the Amsterdam-based Corporate European Observatory. "[Instead], the focus was...on how to expand the role of the private sector."
But even the WWF adopted a different approach in Mexico City from its approach in Kyoto, taking a step back from privatization privatization: see nationalization.
Transfer of government services or assets to the private sector. State-owned assets may be sold to private owners, or statutory restrictions on competition between privately and publicly owned and instead endorsing local solutions. "Let's finance infrastructure for the 50 countries most in need and the 20 poorest megacities through a more intense donation policy," said Loic Fauchon, president of the council, in his opening speech last week.
Bottled water in heavy demand
The WWF's decision to veer in a different direction is a stark contrast to its recent policy of endorsing private management of municipal water systems. The trend during the 1990s was for local governments to cede control of local water systems and other government programs to foreign private companies, which promised to make significant investments to upgrade infrastructure. The private entities then sought to recover their investments by raising rates, which angered residents and caused widespread protests in countries like Bolivia (see NotiSur, 2000-10-20).
In some instances, national and local governments have moved to resume control of water systems. In other cases, companies have abandoned the water projects willingly. "The companies have lost tons of dough and tons of respect," said David Boys David Boys is a top Canadian Scrabble expert. He won the World Scrabble Championship in London, UK, in 1995, and the Canadian Scrabble Championship in 2003. He also finished third in the W.S.C. in both 1991 and 1999. , a water-policy expert with the Public Services International Public Services International (PSI) is a global union federation of public sector trade unions. It has 620 affiliated unions, in 160 countries, representing 20 million workers. (PSI) labor federation. "They are pulling out."
The move by various governments to retake re·take
tr.v. re·took , re·tak·en , re·tak·ing, re·takes
1. To take back or again.
2. To recapture.
3. To photograph, film, or record again.
1. control of water-distribution systems has focused attention on another aspect of privatization: the explosion in the use of bottled water around the globe. Municipal water systems in many cities remain inadequately funded, resulting in the distribution of poor-quality and contaminated contaminated,
v 1. made radioactive by the addition of small quantities of radioactive material.
2. made contaminated by adding infective or radiographic materials.
3. an infective surface or object. water. This has forced more and more people in poor countries to spend a large share of their limited income on bottled water.
A recent study by US-based Earth Policy Institute (EPI EPI
exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. ) indicates that sales of bottled water tripled in India between 1999 and 2004 and doubled in Indonesia during the same period. A similar pattern is found in China, which saw an increase of 250% in that five-year span.
Large multinational food and beverage F&B is a common abbreviation in the United States and Commonwealth countries, including Hong Kong. F&B is typically the widely accepted abbreviation for "Food and Beverage," which is the sector/industry that specializes in the conceptualization, the making of, and delivery of foods. companies, including Coca Cola Noun 1. Coca Cola - Coca Cola is a trademarked cola
cola, dope - carbonated drink flavored with extract from kola nuts (`dope' is a southernism in the United States) , Danone, Nestle, PepsiCo, and Cadbury, supply much of the bottled water consumed around the globe.
"It's in some way sort of a stealth privatization," said EPI research director Janet Larsen.
The trend is most evident in Mexico, which has become the second-largest consumer of bottled water both in volume and per-capita consumption. Only the US consumes a greater volume of bottled water than Mexico, while Italy ranks first in per-capita consumption.
"The bottled water sold in our country has become a business for just a few companies," said Homero Aridjis Homero Aridjis (b. April 6, 1940) is a Mexican writer and diplomat.
Aridjis was born in Contepec, Michoacán, Mexico, on April 6, 1940, to a Greek father and Mexican mother; he was the youngest of five brothers. , founder of the Mexican environmental advocacy organization Grupo de los Cien. "This includes Coca-Cola FEMSA Coca-Cola FEMSA is the anchor bottler of Coca-Cola and its related soft drink products in much of Latin America. The company is an important part of the Coca-Cola System. Specifically, Coca-Cola FEMSA distributes about 10% of the worldwide production of Coca-Cola products. , the company where President Vicente Fox was employed for 30 years."
Aridjis also noted that Fourth WWF co-organizer Cristobal Jacquez previously served as president of Coca-Cola FEMSA. Jacquez is currently director general of the Comision Nacional de Agua (CNA (Certified NetWare Administrator) See Novell certification. ).
Some critics say governments bear much responsibility for the trend. "The problem isn't that these [bottling] companies are supplying people" with water, said Javier Bogantes, director of the Latin American Tribunal, which also organized events parallel to the WWF conference. "The question is, given that governments have invested millions of dollars in water-treatment and distribution systems, why aren't they supplying the population?"
Water tribunal defends rights of local communities
The events organized by the tribunal, which is based in Costa Rica Costa Rica (kŏs`tə rē`kə), officially Republic of Costa Rica, republic (2005 est. pop. 4,016,000), 19,575 sq mi (50,700 sq km), Central America. , sought to show the failure of governments to enact responsible water policies, including cases where water projects have caused damage to the environment or infringed on the rights of indigenous or local communities. To publicize these cases, the tribunal conducted "mock trials" at the former Convento de Corpus Cristi. The tribunal was forced to move its gathering to the former Convento after its permit was revoked by the Museo Nacional de Antropologia e Historia.
In particular, the tribunal sought to bring attention to the proposed construction of the controversial La Parota hydroelectric dam in Guerrero state, which intends to bring electricity to a wide area in western Mexico, including Acapulco (see SourceMex, 2005-09-15). The project also involves flooding 17,000 hectares, which will directly affect many communities in the state.
The mock trial illustrated a fundamental difference between those attending the Banamex Center and those outside. "Africa must invest in water and hydroelectric infrastructure in the long term to eradicate poverty," Haoua Outman Djame, the water minister of Chad, told participants at the WWF forum.
"Take away your big dams, these are the wrong futures," said Canadian activist Barlow. "[Big dams] are very much about displacement of people, displacement of indigenous people, displacement of farmers."
Another source of tension between the WWF and participants in the alternative forum was the failure of delegates inside the Banamex Center to include a declaration in their final conference resolution that would specify access to water as a basic human right.
In contrast, the International Forum in Defense of Water issued a declaration that, among other things, demanded universal access to a daily minimum quantity of clean, free water. (Sources: World Water Forum, www.worldwaterforum.org; World Water Council, www.worldwatercouncil.org; Tribunal Latinoamericano del Agua, www.tragua.com; El Diario de Mexico, 03/01/06; Milenio Diario, 03/06/06; The Chicago Tribune, 03/16/06; Notimex, 03/01/06, 03/19/06; Spanish news service EFE EfE Environment for Europe (EU)
EFE Einstein Field Equations (general relativity)
EFE Early Fuel Evaporation (Automotive Emission Control)
EFE Endocardial Fibroelastosis , 03/05/06, 03/11/06, 03/18/06, 03/19/06; La Crisis, 03/10/06, 03/14/06, 03/16/06, 03/20/06; The New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Times, 03/16/06, 03/20/06; Associated Press, 03/16/06, 03/18/06, 03/20/06; Reforma, 03/01/06, 03/03-06/06, 03/08/06, 03/09/06, 03/12-21/06; Reuters, 03/15/06, 03/21/06; El Universal, 03/01-03/06, 03/07/06, 03/09/06, 03/10/06, 03/13-17, 03/20-22/06; La Jornada, 03/02/06, 03/04/06, 03/06/06, 03/15-17/06, 03/20-22/06; The Herald-Mexico City, 03/03/06, 03/12/06, 03/16/06, 03/17/06, 03/20-22/06; La Cronica de Hoy, 03/10/06, 03/16/06, 03/20-22/06; El Financiero, 03/10/06, 03/16/06, 03/17/06, 03/20-22/06; El Economista, 03/10/06, 03/13-15, 03/17/06, 03/20-22/06; Agencia de noticias Proceso, 03/15-17/06, 03/20/06, 03/21/06)