PORTO ALEGRE BRAZIL -- January 28 -- A new report released today at the World Social Forum documents the negative social and environmental impact of water and biodiversity privatization through thirty-four stories from across the globe.|
The case against water privitization is growing, according to the report published by Friends of the Earth International.
"More and more people find themselves priced out of privatized water markets, water delivery and quality have hardly improved, and water sources are being depleted rapidly," said Tatiana Roa of Censat Agua Viva / Friends of the Earth Colombia speaking in Porto Alegre.
The report also points out that in poor countries Indigenous Peoples and local communities are losing their forests, fish and biodiversity at a rapid rate as their lands are progressively handed over to logging, tourism and private park management companies.
This trend is stimulated by the growing market of so-called carbon parks that are developed to offset the carbon emissions caused by fossil fuel-addicted Northern consumers. It is especially Financial Institutions like the World Bank that are promoting these market-based approaches to biodiversity conservation.
The report also focuses on "biopiracy", the privatization of biodiversity through rapidly growing amounts of patents on life forms and related traditional knowledge. While most biodiversity and traditional knowledge is found in developing countries, the overwhelming majority of these patents are in the hands of western transnational corporations. A group of so-called mega-diverse countries with exceptionally high levels of biodiversity, like Brazil and India, recently announced their intention to establish an international agreement to address biopiracy.
However, as long as the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights forces governments to permit the establishment of patents and other intellectual property rights on life, Friends of the Earth International fears that such an agreement will only legitimize and promote biopiracy.
"Large corporations are pushing governments within the WTO and regional trade negotiations to establish even stronger trade agreements that will make it impossible for governments to protect their Indigenous Peoples and local communities against this corporate take-over of water and biodiversity" added Simone Lovera of Friends of the Earth International.
The full report is online:
In English at http://www.foei.org/publications/link/privatization/index.html
In French at http://www.foei.org/fr/publications/link/privatization/index.html
In Spanish at http://www.foei.org/esp/publications/link/privatization/index.html