The Water Justice project, run jointly by TNI and Corporate European Observatory, is engaged in the work of building viable alternatives to water privatisation, focusing on how to reform public water systems in order to make the human right to water a reality for everyone.
Increasing renewable energy is critical to ending fossil-fuel dependency and providing energy for all, but it is critical it is not done in a way that dispossesses communities, benefits only corporations and a rich elite, and causes further environmental damage.
Why are people around the world reclaiming essential services from private operators and bringing their delivery back into the public sphere? There are many motivations behind (re)municipalisation initiatives: a goal to end private sector abuse or labour violations; a desire to regain control over the local economy and resources; a wish to provide people with affordable services; or an intention to implement ambitious climate strategies.
People across the world are taking back power over the energy sector, kicking-back against the rule of the market and re-imagining how energy might be produced, distributed and used. How can the concept of energy democracy be deployed to demand a socially just energy system, with universal access, fair prices and secure, unionised and well-paid jobs?
Transformative Cities is an opportunity for progressive local governments, municipalist coalitions, social movements and civil society organizations to popularize and share their experiences of tackling and finding solutions to our planet’s systemic economic, social, political and ecological crisis.
The initiative draws on the emerging wave of transformative political practices taking place at municipal level worldwide, by launching a unique award process that will ensure that the lessons and inspiration of these cities becomes viral.
TNI is advocating Public Public Partnerships (PUP) as an alternative policy to privatisation or to Public-Private Partnerships in water services as well as a concrete tool to work with partners to reform public water companies/utilities, improve services and realise the right to water on the ground. A public-public partnership (PUP) is simply collaboration between two or more public authorities or organizations, based on solidarity, to improve the capacity and effectiveness of one partner in providing public water or sanitation services. They have been described as a “peer relationship forged around common values and objectives, which exclude profit-seeking”. PUPs avoid the risks which are typically encountered in public-private partnerships: transaction costs, contract failure, renegotiation, the complexities of regulation, commercial opportunism, monopoly pricing, commercial secrecy, currency risk, and lack of public legitimacy. In general the objectives of PUPs are to improve the capacity of the assisted partner. In practice, PUPs' work can be divided into five broad categories: training and developing human resources, technical support on a wide range of issues, improving efficiency and building institutional capacity, financing water services, improving participation. Public Community Partnerships Public-communitarian partnerships (PCPs) are internationally referred to as public-public partnerships but PCPs has a stronger connotation of community. While government and public water authorities should adopt and implement a water delivery policy that prioritises serving the needs of rural communities, many state-owned utilities fail to serve hard-to-reach areas. Community-based water systems are bridging the gap in water service delivery in many parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. TNI has observed new forms of partnerships between public authorities and rural communities, in which the communities are engaged in the decision-making about water solutions, supported with public funding and expertise and are empowered to take responsibility for running water systems. Such partnerships can bring rapid and lasting improvements.
When it comes to managing the energy transition the need for municipal level innovation has never been clearer. In recent years, we have seen some successes, where innovative ideas have led to more equitable, just and democratic energy policies. However, the sharing of these ideas has been limited, and they have tended to remain local and specific. To achieve large scale, replicable success we need a coordinated and integrated approach for collaboration and knowledge-sharing. Enter: mPOWER
mPOWER is a 4-year programme that will enable in-depth, wide-scale and systematic city to city learning among at least 100 local public authorities, in order to replicate innovative best practices in municipal energy, and developing ambitious energy transition plans.
mPOWER is run by a consortium composed of the University of Glasgow (UK), Platform (UK), Transnational Institute (Netherlands), Energy Cities (EU-wide), IPE (Croatia), University of the Basque Country (ES), and Carbon Co-op (UK).
The mPOWER project and consortium are funded by the Horizon 2020 EU Research and Innovation programme. The project started in May 2018 and will last four years.