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Water activists want UN to host World water forum

Press Release

October 16, 2009

Contact: Anil Naidoo, 613-882-4405,

On October 14, 2009, activists and non-governmental organizations delivered a letter to United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, and United Nations President, Ali Abdussalam Treki, asking the United Nations to convene a global water forum and to refrain from joining the World Water Council’s Board of Governors.

The delivery of the letter coincided with the start of the 5th General Assembly of the World Water Council, the current organizer of the World Water Forum. The meeting is being held from October 14-16, 2009 in Marseille, France where the new Board of Governors will be elected.

As part of Blue October, a global campaign to ensure public water for all, 583 individuals including 241 organizations from dozens of countries signed a letter requesting that the United Nations “formally commit to hosting a forum on water that is linked to state obligations and is accountable to the global community.”

Despite the World Water Council’s claims of being an unbiased multi-stakeholder platform, 41% of their membership works for the water industry. The Council’s President and Alternate President are representatives of Suez and Veolia, the world’s two largest water multinationals.

The letter reiterates the People’s Water Forum view, a network of water justice organizations, that water should be managed as a commons, not for private gain.

The People’s Water Forum criticized the 5th World Water Forum’s exclusiveness, its denial of the right to water and its support for water privatization over improved public services.

Signatories include individuals from the Blue Planet Project, the Coalition of Mexican Organizations for the Right to Water (COMDA), the Council of Canadians, Corporate Europe Observatory, the Federation of Factory Workers in Cochabamba (FTFC), Focus on the Global South, and Our Water Commons.

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