Focus at the Alternative World Water Forum 2012

Video interview of our very own Mary Ann Manahan

Mary Ann Manahan, Focus on the Global South

March 20, 2012

 “Privatization is collapsing. We have to be ready with what we will replace it with.”—

 David MacDonald, Municipal Services Project co-director 

Marseille, March 2012

As members of the water justice movement gathered in Marseille, France to mobilize against the 6th World Water Forum, we issue this statement which also carries the voices of many from around the world who have not come to Marseille. We are in Marseille to give voice to the positive agenda of global water justice movements. We are here to oppose the corporate driven World Water Forum, which poses as a multi-stakeholder platform on water policy.

The context of Marseille

By Brent Patterson

On Monday March 12, the water justice movement met with United Nations special rapporteur Catarina de Alburquerque, as well as eight national governments and the deputy mayor of Paris, outside the corporate World Water Forum in Marseille, France to highlight the need to implement the right to water and sanitation worldwide. Blue Planet Project staff present for today’s interventions in Marseille included water campaigner Meera Karunananthan, Mexico City-based organizer Claudia Campero Arena, New Delhi-based organizer Madhuresh Kumar, Durban-based Mary Galvin, and political director Brent Patterson.

Governments invited to step outside of the World Water Forum
In the morning, Karunanthan and Patterson made our way into the World Water Forum using Canadian Perspectives media credentials. We used our time there to identify those with ‘country delegate’ passes and to invite them to our civil society-government meeting down the street from the conference area. We were able to approach representatives of Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Togo, Palestine and Angola to tell them about this meeting and to talk with them about our issues of concern. We are asking governments to reject the World Water Forum, commit to the implementation of the right to water and sanitation, and to support our call for a UN conference focused on the implementation of these rights.

Mary Ann Manahan
15 March 2012 

Speech delivered during the implementation of the right to water and sanitation transversal session of the Alternative World Water Forum/Forum Alternatif Mondial d’Eau. The session was moderated by Sylvie
Paquerot, University of Ottawa and the panelists include Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians; Arthur Manuel, Defenders of the Land; Pedro Arrojo, Water for New Culture/University of Zaragosa; and Alexandros Kastrinakis, Initiative 136 in Greece. 

It is an honor to be among comrades and kindred spirits from around the world, not only sharing the same cause of challenging the corporate World Water Forum, but also presenting a new vision, a new culture of water as part of our collective aspiration, to build the future that we want. I would also like to give a big hand to all the young people like me who are participating in this politically strategic gathering.

Many of you know Asia as an “economic miracle”— a region which managed to evade the financial crises in Europe and the US. Led by China and India, Asia is being touted as the new engine of the global economic system, fulfilling the dual roles of producer and consumer. Little is understood about how these developments are seen and experienced “from below” or what it means for the environment, in China, India, and across the region. In reality, this economic growth does not necessarily translate to better jobs, or even poverty reduction. In fact, the number of Asians living in extreme poverty has not changed in three decades – they number 1.1 billion in 2008 as they did in 1981!


Subscribe to Focus at the Alternative World Water Forum 2012