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?
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.
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.
In most countries, the expansion of modern water and sanitation systems happened as a result of public ownership and investment in response to increasing demand and public health concerns in urban areas. In the 1990s, however, many countries privatised their water and sanitation services, particularly in the South, as a result of strong pressure from neoliberal mindset governments and international financial institutions, to ‘open’ up national services to international corporations. Many cities, regions and even countries have since, due to the failures of water privatisation, embarked on remunicipalisation or renationalisation of water delivery, in which the aim is not to return to the pre-privatisation realities but to develop public-water systems that satisfy citizens’ needs. CSOs and communities which are fighting against privatisation can put forward these experiences from elsewhere to policy makers and public authorities as alternative policy option. TNI has created a space for learning and exchange through case studies and in-depth information sharing on remunicipalisation. Moreover, TNI directly supports advocacy campaigns for remunicipalisation.