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13 March 2006 @ 06:24 pm
to the last drop...  

The Fourth World Water Forum will occur March 16-21 in Mexico City. Under the auspices of dialogue for better water stewardship amongst government agencies, government friendly NGOs, private companies and other institutions, forum participants will be discussing the increasingly scarce future of potable water and who has access to it. Essentially, 320 corporations, government agencies and international financial institutions like the World Bank will be negotiating the liberalization of public water markets to open them up for lucrative business ventures. The World Bank estimates the potential global water market at 10 billon 400 mil de millon pesos. ($140 billion?)

Currently, one billion people don’t have access to potable water and estimates suggest that by 2025, two thirds of the world’s population will be gravely impacted by water scarcity. In response to the forum, Mexican civil society is organizing a boycott against the forum and instead engaging in a week of resistance and education. The Coalition of Mexican Organizations for Water Rights formed in 2005 to demand the access of water as a guaranteed human right and its management in a democratic, sustainable, just and equal manner. This coalition is organizing the Latin American Water Tribunal and the International Forum in Defense of Water to be held in congruence to the world water forum. Various other events wil occur, including a people’s encampment in defense of water at Mexico City’s Monument of the Revolution, the public outreach center, el Espejo del Agua, in the city’s largest park, Bosque Chapultepec and a large mobilization against the forum on March 16.

Pointing to devastating experiences in Bolivia, England, Ghana and South Africa, anti-forum boycotters are saying that water privatization has endless negative affects. They say that it leads to a decrease in water quality, a loss of state jobs, indifference to community health and economic impacts with focus on pure profit, unsustainable management and drastic increases in water taxes.