Towns and cities stand at the heart of the new public future. Between 2000 and 2019, there were over 1400 new cases of “municipalisation” or “remunicipalisation”, the creation of new public enterprises run by local governments or the return of privatised enterprises to municipal hands. This trend occurred across 2400 locales in 58 countries.
From Austria to Chile, Lagos to London, people are demanding policies that democratize economies and keep public resources in public hands. In just the last decade, more than 2,400 cities in 58 countries have brought privatized resources back under public control. Laura Flanders reports from Amsterdam at The Future is Public, a conference co-hosted by TNI that brings together hundreds of organizers, scholars, and government officials who are working to democratize their municipal and national economies.
Resistance to privatisation has turned into a powerful force for change. (Re)municipalisation refers to the reclaiming of public ownership of services as well as the creation of new public services. In recent years, our research has identified more than 1,400 successful (re)municipalisation cases involving more than 2,400 cities in 58 countries around the world.
Support for public services and limits on private profit is at an all-time high in the wake of the pandemic. How do we ensure this prioritisation of public needs and goods becomes permanent? What are the best models of democratic and participatory public services? Join a webinar with trade unionists and activists in Italy, Nigeria and India advancing bold new visions for a public future.
More than 180 cities and communities in 35 countries have taken back control of their water services in the last 15 years, a new report released today by the Transnational Institute (TNI), Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) and the Multinational Observatory reveals.
International Water Justice community sent the petition to the Supreme Court of Indonesia. Residents of Jakarta filed a citizen lawsuit against water privatisation in Jakarta at Central Jakarta District Court in November 2012. They argued in the lawsuit that water privatisation failed to fulfil the residents’ access to safe water, caused a series of corruptions and financial harm to the public budgets. In March 2015, the court ruled in favour of the residents, annulling the contract agreement with two private water operators. It was a significant victory of people. The decision, however, was challenged by these private companies and other defendants. Unfortunately the residents lost in the High Court in February 2016. Jakarta people decided to challenge the High Court ruling at the Supreme Court.
The largest Public-Private Partnership in water sector in Germany ended in 2013 after the longstanding social mobilisation. Remunicipalisation cost a high price for the city of Berlin though. Berliners have striven for new challenges.
After 18 years of underperforming private management, water services in Jakarta could be returning to public management to guarantee the human right to water in accordance with the Central Jakarta District Court ruling of 24 March 2015, which annulled the current contract agreements.
In the last 15 years there have been at least 180 cases of water remunicipalisation in 35 countries, both in the global North and South, including high profile cases in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa.
Over the past decades, private corporations have increased their control over prison services in the United States and around the world. Despite enormous lobbying efforts by the private players, citizens have started to reject this agenda of profiting from the criminal justice system, and instead demand to return prison management to public authorities. Biden has announced an end to renewing federal private prison contracts, which should be the starting point for wider changes.
Reclaiming Public Water has been one of TNI's most successful publications, obviously meeting a need in many countries and many languages. The latest in the series, which includes Spanish, Bahasa Indonesian, Italian with more to come, is Chinese, in a translation undertaken by our friend in Hong Kong, Au Ly. This is my preface, which he has now also translated. The book will be mostly distributed in Hong Kong [where people are fighting against privatisation of the public water system] and Taiwan, but Au has hopes that through the internet, people in mainland China will also be able to access it.
Public water operators and social movements from 90 countries gathered in Barcelona in mid-September to reflect on how to consolidate a public model of water provision and how to address critical issues of financing clean water for all.
The question of how to finance water and sanitation is crucial. Leading international institutions emphasise the role of private finance despite major concerns. The idea that private finance can bring the needed investment is remarkably persistent in global policy circles and leads to a dangerous lack of attention to the far more realistic option of mobilising public finance for infrastructure to provide essential services for all.
Barcelona, March 22, World Water Day – Confronted with the failings of water privatisation, cities and citizens of Terrassa and Barcelona, in Catalonia, have moved to return water services to public and democratic control, improving their quality and accessibility.