Water Financialization Exposed in New Report on Eve of WTO Meeting

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Niccolo Sarno, FoEI media coordinator
Email: media [at] foei.org
Phone: +31-20-6221369 (Amsterdam)

Water Financialization Exposed in New Report on Eve of WTO Meeting

BALI - On the eve of a key World Trade Organization meeting in Bali [1], Friends of the Earth International launched a new report exposing how trade and investment strategies, including WTO negotiations, act as economic drivers of water financialization. [2]

The report, “Economic Drivers of Water Financialization” [3] includes 12 cases, from the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Colombia, El Salvador, England, Mexico, Mozambique, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, United States, and Uruguay.

The cases show how many corporations, financial institutions, trade agreements and cooperation strategies are paving the way for water privatization and financialization.

The report also exposes that these factors often cause territorial conflicts while providing greater impunity and profits for the corporations concerned.

William Waren, from Friends of the Earth US, one of the authors of the publication, said:

“International trade and investment agreements threaten people’s right to water. It is essential that nations that are members of the WTO and other trade and investment agreements listen to their people and stop any attempt by corporate and financial interests to turn water into a mere commodity traded on international markets. The traditional view under international law is that water is a natural resource and part of the public commons, not a good or product."

The report includes proposals from communities around the world to secure community water management and to keep water as a common good and a human right.

A key case study of this report exposes the major injustice of the water situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (West Bank and Gaza Strip), where locals suffer from structural water scarcity due to inequitable distribution.

“The Palestinian population endures significant water deficits, and most water resources are concentrated in the hands of Israel. In some places, Palestinian farmers have been forced to purchase water at high prices from water sources controlled by the Israeli Water Company. This leads to many problems, including increased production costs for agricultural crops,” said Jagoda Munic, chairperson of Friends of the Earth International, who led a solidarity visit to Palestine in October 2013.

The report includes a case study from Colombia. Danilo Urrea, from Friends of the Earth Colombia, said:

“In Colombia, international cooperation supposedly focused on the development of a national policy framework for water and water management has been turned into an investment protection system. This is a huge problem which also prevents us from delivering more successful public, community-based water management solutions such as our 'aqueductos communitarios'.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT

In Bali, Indonesia (from Dec 2 to 7): Lucia Ortiz, Friends of the Earth International Program Coordinator – Economic Justice, resisting Neoliberalism: lucia@natbrasil.org.br or skype: lucia_natbrasil

In the US: William Waren, Friends of the Earth US: +1 202 22 20 746 or email wwaren@foe.org

In Colombia: Danilo Urrea, Friends of the Earth Colombia: + 57 30 030 47 322 or agua@censat.org

In Croatia: Jagoda Munic, chairperson of Friends of the Earth International: +385 98 17 95 690 (Croatian mobile) or email jagoda@zelena-akcija.hr

NOTES

[1] For more information about the 3-6 Dec. WTO meeting visit https://mc9.wto.org/

[2] “Financialization is a term that describes an economic system or process that attempts to reduce all value that is exchanged […] either into a financial instrument or a derivative of a financial instrument,” according to Wikipedia. For more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financialization

[3] The report is online at http://www.foei.org/water-financialization and UNDER EMBARGO until December 2, 2013 at 00:00 am CET (07:00 am Central Indonesian Time)

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Friends of the Earth International is the world's largest grassroots environmental network, uniting 74 national member groups and some 5,000 local activist groups on every continent. With over 2 million members and supporters around the world, FOEI campaigns on today's most urgent environmental and social issues.

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