Monday, March 12, 2012

World Water Forum will pander to corporate self-interest, say critics

Claire Provost in globaldevelopment blog, at the Guardian (UK): Diplomats, business leaders, and scientific experts are gathering in southern France this week for an international conference billed as a "platform for solutions" to the global water crisis, but denounced by critics for lacking legitimacy and promoting the interests of large transnational corporations.

Organisers say more than 20,000 delegates from 180 countries will attend the six-day World Water Forum (WWF) in Marseille. French president Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to attend, along with European Commission president José Manuel Barroso, King Mohammed VI of Morocco, and the CEOs of Nestlé and Coca-Cola.

The meeting comes amid growing global concern about resource scarcity and future water shortages. The UN's world water development report, published on Monday, warned that unprecedented growth in the demand for water is threatening global development goals and will exacerbate inequalities between and within countries.

"Because allocation will inevitably go to the highest paying sector or region, this may result in an increasingly significant portion of people not being able to satisfy their basic needs for food, energy, water and sanitation. This would not be mere stagnation, but would likely take the form of a distinctly regressive trend compared to current conditions," said the report.

It added that it is no longer sufficient for water experts to draft technical proposals behind closed doors. Instead, it is necessary to open up water management to society as a whole, and recognise that "efficiency and productivity gains alone cannot alter global patterns of unequal supply of resources and consumption or access to benefits"....

Photo of a well by Bluemangoa2z, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license

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