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Big business water group dead in the water?

Looks like there is some good news this year for World Water Day. Pro-public water campaigners at the Council of Canadians are reporting that the corporate front group, World Water Forum, is pretty much dead in the water.

The World Water Forum, which met last week in Marseille, France, is a travelling trade show for big corporations looking to profit off the privatization of public water services. It exists to legitimize ways to export and sell what the United Nations has declared is a human right. 

In fact, the Ministerial Declaration of this World Water Forum purposely failed to affirm the United Nations-recognized right to water and sanitation. But attendance at this year’s Forum dropped massively from the year before, from 34,000 participants to just 9,000.  The corporate Forum seems to be losing steam. 

CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn, long campaigning for keeping water services in public hands, welcomed the news.

“CUPE Ontario welcomes this news from the front lines of the global struggle to keep water in public hands,” Hahn said. “Water is the source of life, for all of us, not a source of profit for a few.”

Hahn congratulated the participants of the Alternative World Water Forum that also met last week in Marseille to challenge the private, corporate take-over of water.  The alternative forum hosted thousands of delegates from community groups, unions and social movements from around the world all fighting for a public water future. 

CUPE delegates to the Alternative Forum included National Executive Board member Mike Davidson and CUPE BC executive board member Cindy McQueen.

“We recognize water as a source of life on our planet and a fundamental and inalienable right,” said Davidson. “We must fight privatization in Canada and around the world, because water is a public good, and it should never be a source of profit for multinational corporations or others who want to treat it as a merchandise or market commodity.”

Cindy McQueen said: “We met activists from unions around the world, from our sister unions in PSI and other groups, from civil society organizations, and water justice activists – all of us share a common goal: water should be a source of life, not profit!”

See more from CUPE National’s water campaign

Also read the op-ed from Paul Moist in the Toronto Sun