In recent years, various actors, from big foreign and domestic corporate business and finance to governments, have initiated a large-scale worldwide enclosure of agricultural lands, mostly in the Global South but also elsewhere. This is done for large-scale industrial and industrial agriculture ventures and often packaged as large-scale investment for rural development. But rather than being investment to benefit the majority of rural people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, this process constitutes a new wave of land and water ‘grabbing’. It is a global phenomenon whereby the access, use and right to land and other closely associated natural resources is being taken over - on a large-scale and/or by large-scale capital – resulting in a cascade of negative impacts on rural livelihoods and ecologies, human rights, and local food security.
The Alternative World Water Forum - FAMA, held from March 17th to 22nd in Brasilia attracted 7,000 people from almost every state in Brazil. FAMA sent a clear message that it would not engage with the opaque 8th World Water Forum, hosted by the private think-tank World Water Council and its corporate partners. The World Water Council has fostered pro-privatisation policy debates for decades.
On 9 October 2017, the Turin City Council turned back privatisation and took another step towards the remunicipalisation of its metropolitan water system. And so the city entered the next phase of its long march towards water sovereignty, begun in the aftermath of the Second World War on the ruins of a town half-destroyed by allied bombing and by Nazi/Fascist retaliations against the democratic popular resistance.
As land is grabbed and earmarked in Africa for supposed development, there are nearly always implications for the water nearby, for local people's land and water rights and environmental sustainability.
Covid-19 has once again demonstrated the significance of safe, accessible and affordable water for all. It has also highlighted enormous disparities in service provision while at the same time dealing a blow to public water and sanitation operators around the world due to massive drops in revenues, rapidly rising costs and concerns about health and safety in the workplace. This book provides the first global overview of the response of public water operators to this crisis, shining a light on the complex challenges they face and how they have responded in different contexts. It looks specifically at ‘public’ water and asks how public ownership and public management have enabled (or not) equitable and democratic emergency services, and how these Covid-19 experiences could contribute to expanded and sustainable forms of public water services in the future.
Nearly 7,000 people from more than 30 countries, and from almost every Brazilian state, gathered at the Alternative World Water Forum (FAMA) from 17 to 22 March 2018. The purpose of this mobilisation was to challenge the legitimacy of the World Water Forum, which is organised every three years by the private think-tank World Water Council together with its corporate partners.
The central government of Indonesia has repeatedly announced its intention to universalise access to clean water by 2019. To achieve this, an estimated 27 million new connections are needed, with a major investment gap of IDR 274.8 trillion (US$20.8 billion).
The island of Bali is home to a rich and unique system of agriculture, based around traditional water management systems developed over the last 1200 years. However, growing pressure from the expansion of the tourist trade as well as the effects of climate change are putting these systems at risk. Farmers are fighting to preserve their livelihoods and maintain a base for local food sovereignty in Bali, but significant changes to policy and practice are needed to protect their rights to land, water, and seed.
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.
Jennifer Franco, Satoko Kishimoto, Sylvia Kay, Timothé Feodoroff, Gloria Pracucci
20 October 2014
Water grabbing refers to situations where powerful actors take control of valuable water resources for their own benefit, depriving local communities whose livelihoods often depend on these resources and ecosystems.
Discussions of the threat to liberal democracy have neglected perhaps the most surprising source that is one of the major arcs of history of the last three decades: globalization. It promised the promotion of liberal democracy encapsulated in neoliberal economics whose components include free movement of capital and finance, free trade, free movement of people, and the free transfer of ideas through social media. While globalization has achieved many of these four freedoms, it has also fostered its precise opposite: a borderless world that has stripped the principal source of political democracy – the nation state -- of much of its political and economic legitimacy for the liberal democracy that created globalization. Governments became weakened by the very fraying of its borders wrought by a globalization they promoted.
Multistakeholder approaches are becoming ever more dominant, shaping standards for products, setting the rules for global initiatives and increasingly entering every arena of global governance including the UN. What is the driving force behind these initiatives? To whom are they accountable? What are the implications for social movements seeking to challenge unjust power relations within states and globally?
Jun Borras, Jennifer Franco, S. Ryan Isakson, Les Levidow, Pietje Vervest, Gustavo de L. T. Oliveira, Mindi Schneider, Ben McKay, Sérgio Sauer, Ben Richardson, Roman Herre, Alberto Alonso-Fradejas, Juan Liu, Tania Salerno, Yunan Xu, Markus Kröger
14 May 2018
What is a flex crop, and what does this mean for food, land, climate, and people?
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.
The social, political and environmental conflicts regarding the management of water in today’s world are a clear indication of the tensions at this point in history, when capitalist greed for what it sees as ‘energy, water and mineral resources’ knows no bounds. Nevertheless, governments can and are being obliged to open up political space for other ways of approaching and organizing the management of watersheds and water. Here we will look at the case of Agua para Tod@s Agua para la Vida (Water for All, Water for Life), an example of how people are developing a future different to what the hegemonic system tells us is the only one possible.
An outcry from city governments has helped shelve the European Commission’s power grab over services. The Commission has failed to install a Services Notification Procedure, which would have given it advance veto power over new laws by regional and local governments, and could have further limited local democratic initiatives in areas as varied as affordable housing, energy supply and waste management. The Commission should learn its lesson and support municipalities to enact social and environmental measures, respect their democratic right to regulate, and roll back obstacles that prioritise corporate interests over local residents.