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GRASSROOT Trade Gothic LightYOUTH DEMOCRACY

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Human rights, Water and Commons Trade Gothic Bold 2 abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ 123456789

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Grassroot Youth Democracy Human rights, Water and Commons


2016 Servizio Civile Internazionale Front page drawing: L:SA - Lisa Gelli www.lisagelliwordpress.com Layout: Laura Basta Printed by Multiprint This work is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


Index INDEX

05

INTRODUCTION

07

1. WORLDWIDE FIELD RESEARCH ON WATER ISSUES

11

1.1 General overview of the water issues Overview of water management in Greece Overview of water management in Uruguay Overview of water management in Mauritius Overview of water management in in Ecuador Water as common good in Italy

12 13 19 27 37 47

1.2 Privatizations and Remunicipalisation of water Privatisation and Remunicipalisation of water services The Strike Back Against Water Privatization in Greece The case of the CWA’ s privatization in Mauritius

52 53 54 55

1.3 Environmental crisis, local struggles and movements No ACEA-Mekorot campaign in Italy SOSTE TO NEPO in Greece The GuaranĂ­ mobilisation in Uruguay March of indigenous peoples for dignity and life in Ecuador Mauritius, SIDS & Climate change El Dorado Gold, Chalkidiki and the struggle for human rights in Greece Mining and deforestation in the Intag Valley of Ecuador

57 59 61 63 67 69 71 74


1.4 In-depth local experiences Water issues in Aegina Island in Greece Nepal Earthquake affects Indian River Ganges in India Water poverty in Esmeraldas (Ecuador) Life without water in via Giolitti (Italia)

79 80 82 83 87

2. INTERVIEWS

89

2.1 Mario Chatzidamianos

90

2.2 Javier Taks

94

2.3 Prof. Lalljee

96

2.4 Carlos Peréz

98

2.5 Good practices and future prospects by Greek experts

102

3. DEFINING CONCEPTS AND KEY WORDS OF THE FIELD RESEARCH AND CAMPAIGN

105

CONCLUSION

113

BIBLIOGRAPHY / WEBIOGRAPHY

115

Social Economy Knowledge Broker | GREECE Cultural anthropologist at the University of the Republic (Uruguay) - Casa Bertol Brecht - UNESCO Chair on Water and Culture | URUGUAY Head of Department of Agriculture & Food Science at the Mauritius University | MAURITIUS President of ECUARUNARI “Movement of the indigenous people of Ecuador” | ECUADOR


Human rights, Water and Commons

7

Introduction 16 participants from Italy, Greece, Mauritius, India, Uruguay and Ecuador were involved in the project Grassroot Youth Democracy.

Grassroot Youth Democracy is a project promoted by the International Civil Service of Italy (Servizio Civile Internazionale Italia) jointly with several international partners, supported by the European programme Erasmus+, aiming at promoting active citizenship at a global level in terms of human rights and democracy. While designing this project, we moved from some hypotheses, first of all methodological ones. We supposed that the best way to understand and promote human rights could be their direct practice, their discussion, by opening to differences and trying to activate, in the decisional and participative dynamics during the project implementation itself. We

therefore identified human rights as field of application and research, but in the meantime we proposed to the participants to identify the specific issue to focus on, something that could be at the same time interesting, innovative and catch their attention. We tried to pursue a research and its dissemination through a specific approach, but in the meantime capable of activating a global comprehensive reflection. This approach was not limited only to European countries because we were interested to let people from different continents to meet, as we live in a human society where everything is connected and linked by global processes, with interdependent scenarios

and a day-by-day technological development. Therefore 16 participants from Italy, Greece, Mauritius, India, Uruguay and Ecuador and aged 20 to 30 years old were involved in the project. Most of them had no prior experience in journalism or academic activity. The participants have been trained to the use of web tools (website management, social network, etc....) and of different media supports: from writing a text for an article to the preparation of an interview, from a video production to a photo shot. The group risked to become a “Babylon tower� of cultures and languages, but in a short period of time it managed to get on the same wave length, producing


8

Grassroot Youth Democracy

in this way a constructive dynamic of discussion, and developing the ability to structure relationships starting from the project content up to interpersonal relationships, a key factor in a this kind of project. In fact, starting from the first seminar, held in Montevideo, aimed at structuring the overall project programme, the participants have found themselves living under the same roof for almost 2 weeks, facing with an educational process concerning both the tools and the content of the project activities. Human rights have been the backbone of discussion and their practice, but also the method of their application. Participants had to decide together the set up of final products, procedure and channels of their dissemination, instruments and characteristics of the research to be developed. The group decided to focus on environment and on the way different countries deal with it in order to accomplish the connection to human rights. Specifically, participants chose

to work on a key element for human life, the right to water. Why a focus on water? Water has been spotted as a paradigm of a natural common good, often subject to exploitation, but at the same time access to water is a basic human right to be guaranteed to all citizens with no discriminations. Furthermore water represents something shared by any community without discrimination of sex, religion, race or ideology. Another reason is that there are several experiences of management and safeguard of a real tangible and life-enabling element, and at the same time it represents a possible conceptual abstraction of issues getting more and more central in international debates, negotiations and treaties. These are matters and issues needing a deep and important debate, involving representatives of communities where often the limit is that existing tools and institutions are unsatisfactory in order to achieve a complete, wide, participated and democratic process. There is also a need for new

tools that can deal with the endangered concept of democracy, going through a severe trial during these last years of crisis. This happens through a very manifest process where some fundamental guarantees supporting the democratic architecture are questioned: limitation, reduction, or worse, elimination of human rights and related safeguards, reduction of the democratic asset to a fetish deprived of its significance and, above all, of effectiveness and concreteness. We refer not only to acquired rights but also to new ones, in particular those concerning nature and ecosystem health. In this sense many have used the term “Water democracy� due to its universal significance; but in this context our effort was to go beyond. Indeed, the research and some in-depth analyses outlined a series of examples of water safeguard activation at different levels, from civil society to institutions, succeeding in producing new participative institutions, capable of managing a good like water and in addition


Human rights, Water and Commons

Agua Vida, Ecuador

to indicate new possible models of social structures. Its links to organisational capacities and governance structures, where shared responsibilities recalling ancient traditions, public law included, starting from the Ancient Roman one, are possible: “In the Roman world water couldn’t be denied, neither to foreigners, and the law held citizens (co)responsible for the governance.... Reciprocity and shared responsibility, as a guarantee of a kind of “right to water” ahead of its time, appear to be central in the Ancient Roman consciousness and the redefinition of concept of public and common, and of their mutual interaction, can offer to the contemporary society valuable insights in the debate on commons.” (“Publica e communis: acqua, mondo romano e beni comuni” E. Cangelosi). Despite such opportunities, we’ve found on the contrary inverse processes of rights removal and we’ve examined how different territories and communities have faced these situations. We’ve examined also how denial of rights are

9

produced and how they can be faced, in particular the “water poverty”, that is restriction in accessing to drinking water and sanitation. Up to a decade ago, we were dealing with these dynamics in the so-called “south of the world”, but tight now we are experiencing the same in the “north”, starting from Europe itself. Starting from this challenge, the project has dealt directly with work experiences and instances in single countries contributing to building a comprehensive picture on the right to water and its management, at the same time affirming an upto-date debate on commons and their governance in terms of actual experimentation, i.e. water governance in a big metropolis as well as innovative forms, median and alternative to privates and state, like the “self-government by users” (“Governing the Commons” E. Ostrom). In this context of an economic and environmental crisis, it becomes crucial to raise awareness among citizens on the importance of being both


10

Grassroot Youth Democracy Mauritius

conscious in terms of individual responsibilities and of the need of taking actions by innovating the mechanisms of society. These are some of the issues that debating commons put on the table within a wider discussion about decisions on possible implementation of guarantees with respect to our lives. Transforming these contents, the story of a single experience or struggle, into simple messages that could be adapted and communicated by participants in the project activities, turned out to be challenging task. During the investigative work, all the step were shared and public on the web, thanks to the “right4water” information campaign. This is also the name of the website where all the material has been collected or referred to by the social networks linked to the project. We are well aware about the complexity of a model based on rights delineated and stated at a global level in the second half of the 20th century that needs to be compared with new limits and

new interests, with a substantial change of the production system and with an unprecedented environmental crisis. These awareness has been the focal point of our research, developed in different countries by collecting a series of data and information; but also by acquiring tools and knowledge that are useful for a better understanding of what is happening. Our goal was not to set a milestone in the current debate, but we believe that the opportunity given to the participants, networks, organisations and individuals we’ve encountered was significant and that it will have further implementation in the

future. What has been produced can be found in a traditional printed out publication, in the video production and in the online material. A sort of patchwork however with a clear red-thread helping to navigate through the content of the materials. What you have in your hands is a just a little proof of the work done and useful working tool to any reader, but is especially to those people who will use it as an “excuse” to proceed and go deeper into the debate. We were not aiming for the moon: our purpose was to activate critical reasoning, by proposing and supporting new paths towards new guarantees and new balances.


1. A worldwide field research on water issues


1.1.

General overview of the water issues


Overview of Water Management in Greece Written by Renaud Fort Laura & Raphel Rajkumar Mary Dayana & Lopez Torres Andres Rodrigo & Runglall Omkreshsingh

“In the last years we’ve had a movement from the government to try to privatize the two main water companies of Greece, EYDAP and EYATH. In all Greece the water utilities belong to local authorities, only in Athens and Thessaloniki the water companies belong to the state; so in the political level the problem is the privatization of this two companies, but in general in Greece the problems are the water scarcity and the water supply infrastructure”.

Sokratis Famellos - Chemical Engineer - Member of the Parliament SYRIZA Party


INDICATOR

DATA

SOURCES

YEAR

Country area (KM2)

131.960

FAOSTAT

2013

Population (est.,000)

11.128

Undata

Urban population

77,70%

Undata

2014

GDP (US $ milions)

249.099

WORLD BANK

2012

GDP per capita (US $)

26.600

WORLD BANK

2010

Human development index

0,86

UNDP -HDR

2012

Global hunger index

IFPRI

Life expectancy at birth (famales and males, years) 83,0 // 78,3 Undata

2010-2015

Percent of population with acess to improved water sources (%)

100,00%

Joint monitoring Program

2010

Percent of population with acess to improved sanitation (%)

98,00%

Joint monitoring Program

2010

Percent of freshwater resources withdrawn (%)

12,70%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007

Municipal water withdrawal as a percent of total withdrawal

8,93%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007

Industrial water withdrawal as a percent of total withdrawal

1,76%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007

Agricultural water withdrawal as a percent of total withdrawal

89,3%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007


16

Grassroot Youth Democracy

Volos, Greece

Greek Water Law 3199/2003 divided Greece into 14 Water Districts. The main idea behind the decision was to manage water resources easier and faster than to control them from one major center.

Greece is a member state of EU and one of the members that transposed the EU Water Framework Directive 2000/60/ EU which sets standards for both quantity and quality of water resources, into the legislation as Greek Water Law 3199/2003. Greek Water Law 3199/2003 divided Greece into 14 Water Districts. The main idea behind the decision was to manage water resources easier and faster than to control them from one major center. As a result, each water district has its own distinctive unit to deal with the water resources management and problems such as water shortages. After the creation of 14 Water

Districts, the Greek government analyzed the characteristics of river basin pressures, impacts and economic factors in 2004 as it was stated in the implementation timetable. Until 2004, the government took all the necessary steps to implement the timetable requirements. Nevertheless, due to economic challenges which began in 2006, the implementation process started to delay, the establishment of water monitoring network and consultation of public

became challenging tasks for the government. As a result, the requirement of having a sophisticated network of monitoring to track the changes in both quantity and quality of the water resources could not be totally fulfilled in 2006. This water monitoring network had significant importance for Greece since many water districts do not equally share water resources as a result of their geographical features. Today, there are round 600 sampling locations in Greece and from each location


Human rights, Water and Commons

samples are taken to track the changes. In 2013 the River Basin Management Plans were approved for the 14 RBDs of Greece. The Special Secretariat for Water, in collaboration with the Regional Water Authorities, formulates and, upon approval by the National Council for Water, implements the River Basin Management Plans and the national monitoring program. The Secretariat is composed of four Directorates and is headed by a Special Secretary, appointed by the Ministry of Environment and Energy and the Government. The National Water Committee is responsible for drafting the National Greek Water Strategy and its members are 8 Ministers. In the National Water Commission that is responsible for consulting the National Water Committee are represented: parliamentary political parties, municipalities’ secondary bodies, water utilities, Technical Chamber, NGOs and other social partners. In Athens and Thessaloniki, two

public utilities – EYDAP and EYATH – are in charge of water supply and sanitation. Outside the two largest cities, 230 different municipal utilities are in charge of water supply and sanitation. Because local water sources are insufficient and to hedge against the risk of drought, the metropolitan area of the capital Athens, where more than a third of the population of Greece lives, is supplied by five different water sources, the most distant one located almost 200 km away. The five sources are: Lake Marathon close to the city with an operational capacity of 34 million cubic meters and tapped since 1931 through the Boyati tunnel. Lake Yliki, 90 km northeast of the capital with an operational capacity of 590 million cubic meters and tapped since 1959. Lake Mornos, created by a dam that was initially built for local water supply, is now partially diverted to supply Athens with drinking water The Mornos reservoir 192 km to the west of Athens with an operational capacity of 670 million cubic meters, tapped

17

since 1980 through a system of tunnels and canals. The Evinos reservoir with an operational capacity of 113 million cubic meters, completed in 2001, and linked via a tunnel with the Mornos Reservoir. 105 boreholes in three wellfields that are used only in emergency situations. Due to the need to pump large quantities of water over long distances and mountains, the water company of Athens is the second-largest electricity customer in Greece. In Greece access to improved water source and improved sanitation is 100%. Average water and sanitation tariff (US$/ m3) is 1.34 (in Athens and Thessaloniki, 2007). Main issues are the character of the water utilities and distribution services, i.e. whether they will remain public or are privatized, the sustainable management of the quantity and quality of water resources especially of water used in agriculture and the price of non-urban water that is to be determined in accordance with Greek Water Law 3199/2003.


18

Grassroot Youth Democracy

Legal framework The right to water is not recognized explicitly in the Constitution. However a right to the environment does exist (article 24 of the Constitution) following the 2008 amendment of the Constitution. It should be interpreted as including a right to water, i.e. a right to clean, adequate in quantities, ecologically balanced and of good quality water. The principal laws regulating water and sanitation services are: • Greek Water Law 3199/2003 (HOG* A 280) •

PD* 51/2007 (HOG A 54)

Law 1068/1980 (HOG A 190)

Law 1069/1980 (HOG A 191)

Water is not granted for free in cases of poverty, however the water tariff is quite low (in Athens: 0,35€/cubic metre) and disconnection of water supply connection in case of no payment of a bill is very rare.


Overview of Water Management in Uruguay Written by Hall Dimitrios & Eleonora Vincenzetti

“El plebiscito del agua fue una victoria contra el miedo. La opinión pública uruguaya sufrió un bombardeo de extorsiones, amenazas y mentiras. Votando contra la privatización del agua, íbamos a sufrir la soledad y el castigo y nos íbamos a condenar a un porvenir de pozos negros y charcos malolientes. Ha vencido el sentido común. La gente ha votado confirmando que el agua, recurso natural escaso y perecedero debe ser un derecho de todos y no un privilegio de quienes pueden pagarlo.”

Eduardo Galeano


INDICATOR

DATA

SOURCES

YEAR

Country area (KM2)

176.220

FAOSTAT

2013

Population (est.,000)

3.419

Undata

Urban population

95,20%

Undata

2014

GDP (US $ milions)

49.060

WORLD BANK

2012

GDP per capita (US $)

11.996

WORLD BANK

2010

Human development index

0,79

UNDP -HDR

2012

Global hunger index

4

IFPRI

Life expectancy at birth (famales and males, years) 80,5 / 73,6

Undata

2010-2015

Percent of population with acess to improved water sources (%)

100,00%

Joint monitoring Program

2010

Percent of population with acess to improved sanitation (%)

100,00%

Joint monitoring Program

2010

Percent of freshwater resources withdrawn (%)

2,13%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007

Municipal water withdrawal as a percent of total withdrawal

11,20%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007

Industrial water withdrawal as a percent of total withdrawal

2,19%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007

Agricultural water withdrawal as a percent of total withdrawal

86,61%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007


22

Grassroot Youth Democracy Major basins of Uruguay

The Uruguayan constitution was the first in the world to give the state sole authority over water management, making privatisation unconstitutional, explicitly stating that “users and civil society are to participate in all planning, management and control of water resources”.

Uruguay is the second smallest country in South America (after Suriname), with an area of 176,215km2, making it about 15% smaller than Belarus and 35% larger than Greece. A total of 3,324,460 people call it home and about 1,947,604 (or roughly 57% of the population) reside in the Montevideo metro area on the Río de la Plata. In fact, its urbanization rate is over 95%, one of the highest in the world. Meanwhile (and perhaps contradictory to the previous statistic), close to 93% of its territory is apt for agriculture or pasture, and with existing cattle numbers surpassing 12.000.000 in 2014, Uruguay is world champion of cattle per capita.

To reiterate: for each Uruguayan that lives in an urban centre, there are 3.6 bovines living in its vast fields. The fertility of Uruguayan soils would likely not be possible without its vast river network, which is mainly defined by Río Uruguay and important tributaries in its basin, such as Río Cuareim and Río Negro; Río de la Plata and its tributaries (including Río Santa Lucía, which provides water for Montevideo) and others. According to OSE (Obras Sanitarias del Estado) in Uruguay, 98% of the population nucleated supplies of drinking water, with an average

consumption of 130 litters / person / day. Historically speaking, the cities formed mostly around rivers concentrating the services, equipment and shaft population in the main streets and central squares and symbolic places. Potable water is organized in a system of reservoirs and the evacuation was done in surface or through individual well systems ending pouring into water courses coming. The process of industrialization, expansion and densification accelerated the cities from the eighteenth century without health


Human rights, Water and Commons

considerations, transformed into the waters polluted source of disease transmission, affecting the quality of life of the population, both of the new wage-earning classes as of the new bourgeoisie. In response, a current associated health and urban development, called “hygienist model”, which raises the vision of a healthy city, associated with the implementation of major works appeared in Europe. Montevideo in particular was no stranger to this problem by incorporating the “solutions” developed in Europe, both in infrastructure and design of parks and gardens. In this context, in the second half of the nineteenth century, a process of modernization of urban services is generated. The cities were provided with sanitation, potable water, electricity, railways and trams. Montevideo was the first city in South America to have a network of sanitation. Between 1854 and 1916 they were built 211 km of collectors (Arteaga network), although individual connections were not mandatory until 1913. The

country’s interior subsequently began this development. As for drinking water, the drought of 1867 triggered the decision to permanent water service to Montevideo, choosing the Santa Lucia River as a source of supply. The service was in the hands of dealers from 1871 to 1950, when the State takes charge. In 1952 the Administration of Sanitary Works of the State is created (OSE), which since then is responsible for the provision of potable water, sewage and waste water treatment in the Interior, leaving Montevideo in the orbit of the Municipal Administration. The hygienist model led to the appreciation of urban parks, with water as a structuring element. Paradigm is the development of Parque del Prado in Montevideo, integrating the Arroyo Miguelete their design and construction of Section Beautification of Towns and Cities of the Ministry of Transport and Public Works. Progressively it was materializing city of modernity, where all urban waters, small natural resources, sanitation networks and rainwater collection should move hidden underground.

23

During the twentieth century the urban expansion process is accentuated by formal and informal developments who ignored under water courses. Between 1992 and 2004, the liberalization of water public services in Uruguay had a historical test in the eastern province of Maldonado, highly important in terms of municipal GDP. A national- based private company, Aguas de la Costa, became the first since 1952 to receive a private concession of water and sanitation services for the next 25 years, to serve approximately 3,000 users in a small tourist area. Four years later, 60 percent of the company’s actions were sold to Aguas de Barcelona, a Spanish branch of the global player Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux. In the year 2000, another Spanish transnational corporation, Aguas de Bilbao, created a company called URAGUA and received a concession until 2030 covering the rest of the province, including the most wealthy resorts. In any case, the main argument to promote private concessions was that neither OSE nor the state could


24

Grassroot Youth Democracy

afford the cost of providing efficient and modern services as well as satisfy the increasing demand. Furthermore, the World Bank gave a loan in 1999 to OSE to create the conditions to more private concessions out of Maldonado. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), on its part, in the midst of a traumatic financial crisis in the year 2002, signed with the national government a new letter of intent that included a strict chronogram for introducing a regulatory frame to facilitate private sector participation both in water supply and in sewerage services. The negative economic, social and environmental effects of private concessions in the province of Maldonado increased gradually, along with public awareness, activism and legal actions against the companies and the state. The most apparent failures of the privatization experiment in the eyes of users and antiprivatization agents were higher rates for water and sanitation services; exclusion of the poorest families from access to free public taps; drying of water reservoirs; decreasing quality of

supplied water; and the weak arguments raised, in the case of URUGUA, for not honouring the compromises assumed in the signed contract (e.g. regular payment to the state; extension of sewerage networks). Definitely, the publication in the press of the secret IMF letter of intention encouraged the formation of the CNDAV in 2002, who was able to collect in the following year 300,000 signatures (more than 10 percent of the registered voters) and call for a referendum, together with the year 2004 national election. OSE is the country’s main public water company, while DINAGUA (the National Water Directorate), along with MVOTMA (the Ministry of Housing, Land Management and the Environment) and a number of other government directorates are responsible for managing Uruguayan water resources. Privatization of management, with some exceptions, has been largely avoided due to the 2004 plebiscite promoted by the National Commission in Defence of Water and Life. On October 31, 2004, the Uruguayan population

expressed at the ballot box and constitutional reform was supported by 64,58% of citizens. The plebiscite, ratified by 64,58% of voters, resulted in a constitutional reform and the inclusion therein of the now famous Article 47. With it, the Uruguayan constitution was the first in the world to give the state sole authority over water management, making privatisation unconstitutional, explicitly stating that “users and civil society are to participate in all planning, management and control of water resources”. In addition, it declared water “a natural resource essential for life” and made access to water and sanitation “a fundamental human right”. In recognition of the results by Uruguayan society, social movements worldwide celebrate Blue October, with multiple activities to spread the need to defend water as a human right and its management by the state and communities. The approved constitutional text is considered that the National Water Policy and Sanitation will be based on: the environmental planning,


Human rights, Water and Commons

ARTICLE

47

Declared water “a natural resource essential for life” and made access to water and sanitation “a fundamental human right”.

conservation and environmental protection, restoration of nature and sustainable, solidarity with future generations of water resources and management the preservation of the hydrological cycle, which constitute matters of general interest. And with regard to participation and territory, it was established that users and civil society will participate in all instances planning, management and control of water resources, settling basins basins as basic units. After the constitutional reform approved by Law 20052010 budget the Advisory Commission on Water and Sanitation (COASAS) and the Directorate is created National Water and Sanitation (DINASA) of the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (MVOTMA) in compliance with that greater

coordination in the executive and ensure participation citizen. The participation of social organizations was institutionalized in the COASAS, and its advisory role was the area where the project is developed Regulatory Law Art. 47 of the Constitution, which after analysed by the national government was finally approved by parliament on September 15, 2009. Management of water in Uruguay is now organised by river basins and hydrographic regions: they are the basis for the regional and basin councils regularly called by DINAGUA. These councils, which are meant to be tripartite, allow the participation of delegates from the government, the users (agriculture, pastures etc.) and civil society, and are convened

25

Approved by parliament on SEPTEMBER 15, 2009

to discuss matters of water quality, regional development plans, emergency situations such as droughts, good practices etc. The inclusion of the citizenry in the management of water resources, as mentioned above, became a constitutional right as a direct result of the referendum. However, until now, these councils have been the only formal way of allowing the citizens to have any say in water management and control. There have been more problems with the actual implementation of Article 47. Apparently, compartmentalisation of power over water resources has become a problem of management: “The water law (predicated by the constitutional reform) is based on management by basin;


26

Grassroot Youth Democracy

the territorial legislation law is based on management by political boundaries, by regional department”, says Carmen Sosa, current member of CNDAV (La Comisión Nacional del Agua y la Vida) and representative of the worker union of OSE in her interview to Rights4Water. “Since authorities for each river basin are so compartmentalized, we need to examine the difficulty of managing water in such a way. It was our inspiration to have a single organisation, a ministry of water, a ministry of the environment, which would bring all the powers together in a single place. For when authorities are so dispersed, when the responsibilities are so dispersed, in the end nobody’s responsible. Management is very complicated when there are ten different organisations in charge and all with the same level of responsibility.” According to Mrs. Sosa, the state could make popular participation more viable by making the regional councils and the information discussed therein more accessible to the citizens. “Often times the only

Carmen Sosa

{

}

It was our inspiration to have a single organisation, a ministry of water, a ministry of the environment, which would bring all the powers together in a single place.

thing people know about is the problems that they have: how their neighbour’s well dried up, or how their own water is polluted. But they do not have any information on the context and on what state the country is in for such things to happen.” Most of the councils are presently working on the most serious water-related problem the country’s facing right now: the contamination of the basins by run-off from its soy plantations and its pastures. Other main threats on water issues also regards the high extraction and non-suitability for certain uses (anthropogenic

pollution or natural features), highlighting: • Great lowering water tables in an area of high extraction for fruit and vegetable crops • Pollution anthropic lack of sanitation in cities where the subsoil is source of water for public supply • High natural content of iron and manganese, or fluorine, exceeding potability standards • High thermal water extraction purposes in a small area, where water levels drops already indicated, without a management plan to ensure sustainability • Impact of afforestation on aquifers


Overview of Water Issues in Mauritius Written by Hall Dimitrios & Eleonora Vincenzetti


INDICATOR

DATA

SOURCES

YEAR

Country area (KM2)

2.040

FAOSTAT

2013

Population (est.,000)

1.249

Undata

Urban population

39,80%

Undata

2014

GDP (US $ milions)

10.492

WORLD BANK

2012

GDP per capita (US $)

7.593

WORLD BANK

2010

Human development index

0,74

UNDP -HDR

2012

Global hunger index

5,4

IFPRI

Life expectancy at birth (famales and males, years) 77,0 / 70,2

Undata

2010-2015

Percent of population with acess to improved water sources (%)

99,00%

Joint monitoring Program

2010

Percent of population with acess to improved sanitation (%)

89,00%

Joint monitoring Program

2010

Percent of freshwater resources withdrawn (%)

26,35%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007

Municipal water withdrawal as a percent of total withdrawal

29,52%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007

Industrial water withdrawal as a percent of total withdrawal

2,76%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007

Agricultural water withdrawal as a percent of total withdrawal

67,72%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007


30

Grassroot Youth Democracy

According to Reaz Nundoosing, who works at CWA (Central Water Authorities), the basic problem is the availability of resources.

Ayle Duvas, Water activists

Actors of Water Management in Mauritius The Water Resources Unit, established in May 1993, is responsible for the assessment, development, management and conservation of water resources in the Republic of Mauritius. Then, the Central Water Authority (CWA), which is under the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities, is the exclusive provider of treated potable water via a distribution network. The CWA (Central Water Authority) is a parastatal body established in 1973 pursuant to the Central Water Authority Act No. 20 of 1971 and subsequently amended, the latest of which is Act No.27 of 2000. It operates

under the aegis of the Ministry of Renewable Energy and Public Utilities. The CWA, according to the CWA Act, is to be the sole undertaker for the treatment and distribution of potable water for domestic, commercial and industrial use throughout Mauritius.It is responsible for the control, treatment and distribution of water for the whole island for domestic, industrial and commercial purposes. It also has the responsibility to safeguard the quality of the

water provided to its customers. Its distribution network covers approximately 3800 km of Trunk mains and Service mains. The mission statement of the CWA is “To secure and provide an excellent sustainable water supply service of appropriate quality, at an affordable price, which meets the growing needs of the people and to support the economic development of the country.� The water supply system is composed of the following


Human rights, Water and Commons processes: 1. Raw water abstraction; 2. Water treatment and storage; 3. Potable water distribution to the end users. Water production takes place at water treatment plants. Raw water is abstracted from rivers or impounding reservoirs and transported to treatment plants via pipes and canals. The water is then filtered and chlorinated. The treated potable water is either distributed directly to the network or pumped to service reservoirs of higher altitudes where subsequent distribution is done by gravity. There are 3 main systems of treatment of surface water for potable use that is being used in Mauritius. These are: 1. Slow Sand Filters 2. Rapid Gravity Filters, which involves a lot of mechanised/ motorised equipment but which has a much faster rate of filtration. 3. Containerized Rapid Pressure Filters. These filters are mobile, are automated and can be transported on lorries in case of emergencies. They have a limited treatment

capacity and are dependent on electricity as they use pumps for the treatment process. The Wastewater Management Authority (WMA) has been established as a body corporate under the Wastewater Management Authority Act to be responsible for all matters relating to the collection, treatment and disposal of waste water. Thus, WMA is responsible for the sanitation system of Mauritius. In addition, it operates as an autonomous organization under the aegis of the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities. The WMA thus plays a vital role in the protection of the environment and in ensuring the country’s sustainable development by the provision of appropriate water pollution standards, wastewater control systems and management services to the entire population of Mauritius. The WMA manages the public sewerage system consisting of about 750 km of sewer network over 200 mm diameter; 10 treatment plants, the main treatment plants being at StMartin, Grand-Baie, Baiedu-Tombeau, and Montagne

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Jacquot; and 72 pumping stations. The WMA (Wastewater Management Authority) is established as a corporate body under the Wastewater Management Authority Act 2000 to be responsible for all matters relating to the collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater throughout Mauritius. It operates under the aegis of the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities. Protection of the sea “Various ministries and national organizations such as the Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Housing and Lands, Ministry of Local Government and Rodrigues, Meteorological Services, Mauritius Ports Authority, University of Mauritius and Mauritius Oceanography Institute are involved, albeit to a varying degree, on ocean and coastal related issues. Legislations and regulations on the marine environment are dispersed across several acts and laws such as the Environmental Protection Act (1991), the Fisheries Act, the


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Continental Shelf Act and the Sand Extraction Act (2001). Mauritius is also party to several conventions such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea(UNCLOS) 1982, the Convention on the Continental Shelf, the Convention on Fishing and Conservation of Living resources of the High Seas 1958, Convention for the Regulation of Whaling 1996,the Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from ships as 1973(MARPOL), Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC) 1969, Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (FUND)1971 and Convention on the High Seas.” (Johannesburg Summit 2002, Mauritius Country Profile). The following legislations regulate the water sector: • Rivers and Canal Act (1863) provides for management of rivers and canal as well as for protection of river water against pollution. • CWA Act (1971) provides for the creation of the authority and its duties and

powers regarding supply of potable water for different purposes and water resources development, management and conservation. • Groundwater Act (1970) provides for management of the aquifers. • Environment Protection Act (1991) provides for protection of water resources (standards for water). Water sources The fresh water supply of Mauritius consists of 92 rivers, 10 man-made lakes, 2 natural lakes, and ground water distributed into seven ground water basins. The mean annual rainfall varies from 750 millimeters on the coast to 4200 millimeters on the Central Plateau. Surface water is diverted into 25 major basins and 22 minor ones and is utilized for domestic and industrial purposes and to service the heavy irrigation needs of the sugar cane CP2002 –plantations. A number of wells, from 5 main aquifers, have been drilled, mostly for irrigation and domestic use. In order to increase the water availability, research has been

conducted and deeper than usual boreholes have been drilled. Sanitation According to law it is not allowed to build a house without septic tanks, thus a proper sanitation infrastructure. In addition, the majority of houses have septic tanks. However, there is a big number of houses that are made of fragile materials, because either their inhabitants don’t acquire the contract of the ownership either they rent their land from the government, or they squat at this land. So they can’t build proper houses with septic systems as it’s not allowed to build or transform the houses there. Unfortunately, there is not measured how many people don’t have access in sanitation services. In addition, there is a part of the population that can’t afford the cost for sanitation and general water, so they don’t have access to it (e.g. “Terre Rouge” village). According to rough calculations, these people might be about or more than 2.000 when the total population is 1.240.000 (2012).


Human rights, Water and Commons Terre Rouge Village, Mauritius

{

}

There is a part of the population that can’t afford the cost for sanitation and general water, so they don’t have access to it.

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Drinkable water According to Reaz Nundoosing, who works at CWA (Central Water Authorities), the basic problem is the availability of resources. As he says: “We depend a lot on the rainfall. If we don’t have rain, there is caused drought, which leads to water cuts. Water cuts mean that in periods of droughts, the timetable when allowed to flow water in pipes is usually from 4:30 am until 10 pm, so these are the hours you can have access to it. We get a lot of water from the rainfalls, but the problem is where to keep that water. We don’t have enough reserves. Now we try to fix that problem with big projects, like damns. I think this could be possible by 2020. We also could take an amount of water from rivers, of course not a lot to avoid the imbalance of the ecosystems. Also a big amount of ground water, around 60%, after it gets treated is distributed to people.” Thus, one problem can be considered as the water conservation. The solution for this is very important to be fixed in time as there will


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be an annual decrease of the rainfall the next years as a result of climate change. In addition, urbanization causes the increase of climate change effects. A lot of buildings, air condition, new practices of our modernized society lead to the reduce of the rainfall and all the impacts of climate change. Furthermore, “population growth coupled with a booming tourism industry, irrigation requirements as well as industrial and commercial growth will put additional pressure on existing water supply network and hence.” One the other hand, another problem is the old pipes for water supply and distribution. According to ex manager of CWA, Mr. Jawaheer, water pipes cause the loss or the unaccounted water around 50% of the total consumption. However, in his opinion, this problem could be fixed by a better control system of CWA. In contrast, Reaz says: “50% is doubtable. It is not measured as a loss but as unaccounted water. Unaccounted water is the water that you don’t know where it has gone. Each house has a meter, which shows how much water is used. Furthermore, from

the big meter that is handled by CWA, you know the quantity of water that you have put into the system. In addition, the meter of your house shows how much you have to pay in co relation of your use. Several people don’t pay from an illegal way as they use the water and at the same time they remove the meter. In addition it is very easy to buy a new meter and replace the old one. This can be a big problem especially due to people who use a lot of water for plantation. Also, unaccounted water is caused from a legal way as firefighting as there are sourcespoints of water for this purpose and you can’t know the quantity of water that has been used for that. Also, sometimes the meters are defective, which can’t help you to estimate the amount of water that has been used. At the same time, a loss of water is caused due some halls at the pipes and due to some floods from the pipes, which usually can be easily noticed and repaired. Some projects with the purpose of repairing the old pipes have been started. I also think that the meters should be repaired as well. According to studies the meters have to

change every ten years.” A warring problem is the position of citizens as they are passive and they are not aware of the dangers of climate change and environmental issues. A sample of this attitude is the total absence of recycling. “They don’t realize what it mean once you don’t have any water. What will you do with your money? You are going to drink your money? You are going to wash your clothes with your money? You need water. They don’t realize it. We need better education on environmental issues” as Reaz says. Furthermore, citizens aren’t aware of the bad conditions of living of the amount of population that hasn’t access in water, sanitation or electricity, neither some kind of mobilization to improve these inhuman conditions. In fact, sometimes a bad stereotyping can be observed against these people. Maurice Ile Durable (MID) More than all the other countries in the world, Small Islands and Developing States (SIDS) are in danger and vulnerable and Mauritius is one of them. For that reason, the country is trying to


find its own way to be safe. Born of the MID concept “Maurice Ile Durable” is a national programme which aims to turn the island into a sustainable island and become a worldwide model, particularly in the context of SIDS (Small Island Developing States). At the beginning, around 2007, the global energy crisis was worrying the country so the initial thrust was to minimize the dependency on fossil fuels through increased utilization of renewable energy and a more efficient use of energy in general. Soon the MID concept included more aspects: looking at socioeconomic and environmental aspects was considered pivotal in the quest for a sustainable Mauritius. In 2008 the then Prime Minister, Dr. The Honourable Navinchandra Ramgoolam, announced the Maurice Ile Durable (MID) concept as the new long term vision for making Mauritius a sustainable island, building an economic growth that respects the limitations of natural resources, empowers population and gives an equal wealth to it.

{

Human rights, Water and Commons

}

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“Maurice Ile Durable” is a national programme which aims to turn the island into a sustainable island and become a worldwide model.

The MID process The construction of MID process involved a unique participatory approach. The opinions and the aspirations of the whole society wanted to be heard, in order to create a strong sense of belonging to the nation. On February 2010 a National Consultation Process (NCP) was launched with the aim to come up with a Green Paper embodying a National Vision on MID concept: 70 working groups conducted with various stakeholders were set up. Government, Parastatal bodies, University of Mauritius, the Industrialists, the Private Sectors, the NGOs and the Civil Society discussed together. On April 2011, the Green Paper “Towards a National Policy for a Sustainable Mauritius” was submitted by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development becoming a milestone in the process.

5 Es for the MID project were designated 1. Energy to ensure that the Republic of Mauritius is an efficient user of energy, with its economy decoupled from fossil fuel. 2. Environment to ensure sound environmental management and sustainability of ecosystem services. 3. Employment/Economy to green the economy with decent jobs, offering longterm career prospects. 4. Education to have an education system that promotes the holistic development of all citizens. 5. Equity to ensure that all citizens are able to contribute to the Republic’s continuing growth and share its combined wealth.


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MID Realisation Indicators were chosen to track progress in each of the five Es. The main targets are: 1.Energy • achieve the national target of 35% renewable energy by 2025; • reduce energy consumption in nonresidential and public sector buildings by 10% by 2020. 2.Environment • meet the environmental sustainability targets of the Millennium Development Goals; • reduce the ecological footprint to be in the upper quartile of performance of similar income nations, by 2020. 3.Employment/Economy • increase the percentage of green jobs, from 6.3% in 2010, to 10% by 2020; • maintain or improve position in the World Economic Forum’s International Competitiveness Index. 4.Education • achieve 100% MID literacy by 2020; • be an internationally recognised knowledge hub for sustainable development in the region by 2020. 5.Equity • improve the position of the Republic of Mauritius in the World Poverty Index. • improve current status in the Gini coefficient of income inequality.

Towards the National MID Vision In June 2011, the Government constituted six additional working groups covering the 5Es of MID which were supposed to identify means and ways of achieving the National MID Vision. A final report from each working group were submitted in August and they were also circulated to all Ministries, Local Authorities and to the population through public meeting for analysis and comments. On its side, the Government started to build a MID Policy, 10year strategy and a detailed Action Plan to reach sustainable development in Mauritius. In order to do this, the Government adopted a Road Map for the MID Framework including the essential steps to be followed. One of the aim is to influence existing policies and improve new policies, adapting in every Government’s action the sustainable point of view. All the process is still in progress but the Government and its Ministry are focused on the goal.


Water sources and their contamination in Ecuador Written by Kratka Martina & Nigro Luca

“The human right to water is essential and cannot be waived. Water constitutes a national strategic asset for use by the public and it is unalienable, not subject to a statute of limitations, immune from seizure and essential for life.�

(art.12, Constitution of Republic of Ecuador, 2008)


INDICATOR

DATA

SOURCES

YEAR

Country area (KM2)

256.370

FAOSTAT

2013

Population (est.,000)

15.983

Undata

Urban population

63,00%

Undata

2014

GDP (US $ milions)

84.040

WORLD BANK

2012

GDP per capita (US $)

4.008

WORLD BANK

2010

Human development index

0,72

UNDP -HDR

2012

Global hunger index

7,5

IFPRI

Life expectancy at birth (famales and males, years) 79,3 / 73,6

Undata

2010-2015

Percent of population with acess to improved water sources (%)

94,00%

Joint monitoring Program

2010

Percent of population with acess to improved sanitation (%)

92,00%

Joint monitoring Program

2010

Percent of freshwater resources withdrawn (%)

2,17%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007

Municipal water withdrawal as a percent of total withdrawal

13,40%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007

Industrial water withdrawal as a percent of total withdrawal

5,50%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007

Agricultural water withdrawal as a percent of total withdrawal

81,43%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007


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According to many sources, Ecuador is one of the countries with more biodiversity in the world, and it has the most biodiversity per square kilometer of any nation. Ecuador has four main geographical areas with different climates and different ranges of water related problems: THE COAST: the area on the Pacific ocean from Esmeraldas to Guayaquil; THE HIGHLANDS: the Andean and Interandean highland provinces, within the most populated are the Quito’s and the Cuenca’s provinces; THE EAST: the Amazon region; THE INSULAR REGION: the Galapagos islands; There are 79 hydrographic basins, 137 sub-basins and approximatively 890 microbasins. Almost all Ecuadorian rivers are born in the Andean region, then they flow east towards the Amazon Forest, or west towards the Pacific Ocean. In the Pacific slope there are 79 basins with the principal rivers Cayapas, Santiago, Esmeraldas, Chone, Guayas, Cañar, Balao, Gala, Tenguel

and Jubones, (SENAGUA, 2008) reaching approximatively the 48% of the national territory, with an availability of 9610m3 per year per person (FAO, 2002) and a potential of underground water of 10400 m3/year. In the Amazon slope there are 7 basins reaching the 52% of the territory and an availability of water of 111.100 m3/year per person, distributed by the rivers San Miguel, Aguarico, Napo, Pastaza, Morona, Santiago and others (Aguilar et al., 2000 en Geo Ecuador, 2008). So, the 11.5% of the hydric potential is in the Pacific slope, where the 87.3% of the national population lives, and the 88,5% is in the Amazon slope, where only the 12.7% of population live. Those data make clear why Ecuador suffers imbalances related to the availability of water, while it has four times more superficial water than the global pro capita average (Geo Ecuador: 2008). The rural and indigenous population has irrigation communal systems and it represents the 86% of the users, but it counts only on the 22%

of the irrigated water and the access to the 13% of the total volume of the water, while the private sector which represent only the 1% of the productive agricultural unities (Unidades productive agricolas, UPAS) concentrates the 67% of the total volume of water (Gaybor, 2008). The Ecuadorian Institute of Hydric Resources (the Instituto Ecuatoriano de Obras Sanitarias, IEOS) was created in 1966, but it became a regulatory agency only in 1973, when the water was nationalized. In 1992, the sector was decentralized and was assigned to MIDUVI. In 2001, the national government began to support those municipalities which did not dispose of enough capacity for providing water supply and sanitation services with technical assistance through PRAGUAS (Proyecto de Agua Potable y Saneamiento para Comunidades Rurales y Pequeños Municipios). The current constitution was written by the Ecuadorian Constituent Assembly in 2007 and was approved by a popular referendum in 2008, under the


Human rights, Water and Commons PACIFIC SLOPE

AMAZON SLOPE

11.5% 87.3%

88.5% 12.7%

government of Raffael Correa, the actual president of Ecuador. The new constitution of 2008 is the first in the world to recognize legally enforceable Rights of Nature and ecosystem rights and the only one in the world to declare water as a human right. But, according to a lot of internal and external observers, the government does not fully agree with its own constitutional rights. In 2014, after a six-years pre-legislative consultation in the National Assembly, the parliament approved the controversial fundamental law on the hydric resources (“La ley orgánica de recursos hìdricos, usos y aprovechamiento del agua”). According to the Government opposition the new water law is in contradiction with the Constitutional principles, endorsing further privatization

of water and allowing extractive activities like mining in sources of freshwater in the highlands. The 5th article of the 2014 law creates the Unique Authority for the water (Autoridad unica del agua). That entity manages the strategic water national system, regulating important aspects related with water management. The Unique Authority for the water is designed by the government.

Hydric potential

Population

Hydric potential

Population

Actual water main issues and challenges in Ecuador are related to: THE SOCIAL SITUATION OF THE WATER along with provision and sewage system: there are people who take water from the river without any treatment. In the big cities there is more coverage but there is not fair distribution in the different regions. Only the 11%

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of the black water of the country are treated. Only Cuenca, Babahoyo and Sushifindi have a treatment plant, Quito is going to construct one. The scarcity of water makes the coast a barren zone, overall in the Manabi Region, where the population needs a waters territorial planning. THE LEGISLATION: as we see above, there are people who are in favor of the new law and people not, their opinion is related to the area in which they live and the ethnicity to whom they belong. SANITARY PROBLEMS: there are some diseases transmitted by no treated water which affect some part of population. Hydroelectricity: the change of the production model by the Correa government creates some projects for huge hydroelectricity plants. MINING: mining is generally allowed also in the sources of fresh water in the highlands which results in contamination of the rivers just at the spring. Deforestation: huge deforestation has been going on in the last decades resulting in significant drop of rainfall. Nowadays deforestation is


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illegal but it’s happening the same. OTHERS: There was no planning by the previous government. The industries (such as Nestle and Coca Cola) on one hand send their sewer water directly to the river and on the other hand they exhaust the country’s water resources without any regulation. In the last years the consumption of bottled water increased, related to the people necessity, the lack of ecological awareness and the scarcity of public water dispensers. LEGAL FRAMEWORK In Ecuador, the right to water is recognized by the 2008 Constitution in the article 12 (see the first quotation). After the Constitution was approved in 2008, the National Assembly called all the recognized social organizations and overall the indigenous organization, such as the CONAIE for pre-legislative consultations for the contents of a new law on the water sector. The 31th July 2014 the law on the hydric resources (“La ley orgánica de recursos hìdricos,

usos y aprovechamiento del agua”) was approved, causing many protests and objections. Contrarily to what expected by the social organizations, indeed, the article 5 of the new law created the Unique Authority for the water (Autoridad unica del agua), Many fundamental aspects of the sector are nowadays regulated by that entity whose head is designed by government. According to the article 318 of the 2008 Constitution: Water is part of the country’s strategic heritage for public use; it is the unalienable property of the State and is not subject to a statute of limitations. It is a vital element for nature and human existence. Any form of water privatization is forbidden. In compliance with the constitutional provision, the article 6 of the 2014 law (named “prohibition of privatization”) establishes that: All forms of water privatization are forbidden for its importance for the life, the economy and

the environment; for the same the water can’t be object of any commercial agreement by government, multilateral entity or private enterprise, national or foreigner. Its management shall be exclusively public or communitarian. Any forms of appropriation or individual and collective possession of water, in any form, shall not be recognized. On the other hand, the following article opens the door to make “exceptionally” possible the private participation in the management of the water: ARTICLE 7 – Activities in the strategic sector of the water. The provision of the water public service is exclusively public or communitarian. Exceptionally the private initiative, the popular and solidarity economy could participate in the following cases: . development of sub process of the public service administration when the competent authority doesn’t have the technical or financial conditions to do it […]


Human rights, Water and Commons According to the main Ecuadorian social organizations, the last disposition violates the Constitution and allows in an exceptional way the water privatization assessing that for technical or economical reasons the private initiative could give the water public service provision. ACTIVISM, MOVEMENT AND NGOS ON WATER The most important movement who seeks to fight for the right to water in Ecuador is the CONAIE (the confederation of indigenous nationalities of Ecuador). CONAIE represents the following indigenous peoples: Shuar, Achuar, Siona, Secoya, Cofán, Huaorani, Záparo, Chachi, Tsáchila, Awá, Epera, Manta, Wancavilca and Quichua. CONAIE is composed of three regional federations: the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE) in the eastern Amazon region or Oriente; The Confederation of Peoples of Quichua Nationality in the central mountain region

(ECUARUNARI); and the Coordination of Indigenous and Black Organizations of the Ecuadorian Coast (CONAICE). The “Juntas de agua” (water’s assemblies) are institutions of autonomous organization where the communities contribute in the construction of some water and sanitation systems with selfmanaged work through mingas. ( minga: a kind of work realized by people in a collaborative and free way, whose origin is ancestral). Those communitarian organizations are characteristics of the Ecuadorian highlands, but from there they participated in the Agenda Hidrica Nacional (National Hydric Agency) putting emphasis on the agricultural irrigation’s themes. Those assemblies found

43

discussion rooms in institutions like the Foro de recursos Hìdricos (Water resources forum) to present their purposes. The water resources forum was born in the 2001. It is a platform of collective construction, with a plural and democratic participation. It analyzes and purposes public and alternative policies for the comprehensive management of water. It promotes the participation and the strengthening of the social organizations which work with the water and the other natural resources. It is important to say that the social and environmental organizations face a strong battle against the Ecuadorian extractive model, based on the oil activity, and against the mining, which historically affected the water resources,


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principally in the Amazon region, being essential for the water agenda the existence of an Ecuadorian water movement with its own claims. Unequal distribution of water in the country Ecuador has big amount of underground and surface water of a good quality. Total renewable water sources are 447 billion m3 per year. Total withdrawal of fresh water is 9,9 billion m3 (81% for agriculture, 13% for domestic use, 6% for industry). “The water in terms of the quality is one of the best waters,” says Ing. Eduardo Dávila from the social responsibility department of EPMAPS (The Metropolitan Public company for Potable Water and Sanitation). The main source of drinkable water in Ecuador are springs and rivers, there are no statistics about the amount of population using underground water. The country has an average annual rainfall of 1,200 millimeters. So there is a lot of water in a good quality but the challenge that the country is facing is the uneven distribution of rainfall and population. Some areas receive

only 250 millimeters of rainfall per year, and others receive as much as 6,000 millimeters per year. Some regions are without rainfall for months. Most fresh water sources are in Amazon region, where only 3% of the populations live, the highlands with 48% of population have still sufficient water sources but for future there is foreseen a need for new fresh water sources. “The company (EPMAPS) is searching for new sources, the project Ramal Champi is a long term solution for bringing water from the East (the Amazon region),”  says the Ing. Eduardo Dávila. In the coast, with 47% of population, there are very few water sources and most of them are much polluted. Deforestation While speaking about deforestation, we have to always have in mind that tropical rain and cloud forests are the main sources of water, places full of humidity, biodiversity and rain, they are also places where the rives spring or where they are protected from drying out. Deforestation

has

been

happening a lot during the last years, especially since 1965 when the people started coming to the forest areas after the agricultural reform. The reasons for deforestation were many – when people have moved in these areas, they used the wood to build their houses, they cut the trees in order to make space for pastures for cattery and afterwards while their cows were growing they also needed to live from something so they have been cutting the trees to sell them. But of course it was not just the people, the little farmers who  did all the damage. The main role in the deforestation played the big international companies who were selling the wood in huge quantities. As result most of the forests were lost till now which means also a huge loss of water not only for the specific areas but for the whole Ecuador, as well. As José DeCoux, the director of Los Cedros reserve, declares, the decrease of the rainfall is dramatic in the last 7 years, the pastures and the fields of the farmers start getting dry as there is less and less forests to keep the humidity. Nowadays


Human rights, Water and Commons the deforestation is illegal but the people still need to live from something so it’s still going on and as José DeCoux says there is no campaign explaining the importance of the forests so people just continue deforesting. “All of these big foundations, they come there and the tell you, only take 5 minute showers or don’t wash your car or save water or something like that but nobody talks about the conservation of the forests, that the water sheder is that you need… that provide that water. It’s not on the national agenda!” says José Decoux. Mining Mining is another disaster going on in Ecuador – it’s not just petroleum which makes the most important income of the state but also gold, copper and other metals that can be found all around Ecuador. The extractive activities of private companies and nowadays (after the new law mentioned in the general overview) also of the government have the priority above everything else. Petrol extraction in Yasuni

natural reserve, gold and coper mining in the resources of fresh water in the highlands and in the cloud forests region (also in a quite high altitude). The local communities are maintaining a long time struggle again the extractive activities because they can see the effect is has on their water. Polivio Pérez a member of the community development council involved in the struggle against mining since the beginning says that the community has to keep fighting for clean environment and water and he adds, “I have done a lawsuit, I require a revision to the national government because a study of environmental impacts was published which goes against the law and against our rights.  The communities have to unite and fight for their rights because the government decides in favor of private companies, not in favor of people.” Mining activity is the worst contaminant of the water sources and nature in general in Ecuador. In the gold mining process toxic substances such as Mercury and Arsenic are used, which means that those

45

toxic metals contaminate the environment during the whole mining activity. Ing. Andrés Tipán, geologist and expert on underground water says,“It’s kind of difficult to control these people because it’s like a mafia, it’s very very strong, the government tries to control but many people don’t care about it, they just take care about the gold and if they have to pay the penalties, they pay the penalty and after they come back to do the same activity. And it happens all the time.” The sad thing is, that it’s not only illegal mining that is polluting the environment, the government is doing the same. And who will ask a penalty from the government? The tribes living in the Amazon region are facing serious health issues caused by the polluted water in the rivers. As many of them don’t have connection to drinkable water, they use rainwater for drinking and cooking but if it doesn’t rain enough in the dry season, they don’t have other option that to use the water from the river. Especially the children are suffering serious danger.


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Water pollution Untreated domestic waste water In the highlands the quality of water in the rivers is much better than in the coast because of the contamination of rivers. In the coast the population receives the rivers from the highlands with all the untreated waste water in it. In Ecuador, only 8% of all collected waste water is being treated. Oil accidents and disasters Oil extraction despite many protests mainly from the indigenous communities is happening also in natural reserves with fresh water springs and aquifers. The Amazon region is home of a truly astounding biodiversity. Yet, drilling was approved and will start this year in a part of Yasuní Natural Park, which is home to two non-contacted tribes and it is a UNESCO site with rich biodiversity. There are many cases when while drilling the oil spills or the oil leaks from the pipes and contaminates the environment, including the water.

Water scarcity In the coast regions, as we have already mentioned, the people are facing serious difficulties concerning water scarcity. These regions are the driest regions (as a result of severe deforestation and large scale agriculture) and also the rivers that reach there are very polluted at this point (they receive all the waste water from the highlands till the cost, agricultural pollution, pollution of mining etc.). As a result, the tap water needs to be over boiled to be drinkable and there are frequent stops in the delivery of water. The most serious is the situation is in Esmeraldas, a big city with not sufficient infrastructure and with many social problems. The water treatment plant has the capacity to treat drinkable water for cca 45 thousand people. Nowadays in the city Esmeraldas lives about 150 thousand people. This means that obviously it’s not possible to deliver drinkable water to all the people in the city and the water supply is being interrupted very often. Usually what happens

is that people from the city might have the water supply interrupted every second day. But that’s still the better scenario. The people in the poorest area, in former illegal settlement just next to the oil rafinery, are living almost without running water. Their houses have taps, bathrooms, kitchens, toilets but they don’t have water. Water comes just sometimes from a tap in front of the house and the people have to collect the water in canisters and keep it till the next time that water comes. The extremely polluted river nearby serves as an alternative source of water mainly for washing, but even this represents a great health risk. Maria Zegnifo living in the poorest area called Fifty houses for already 10 years says: “there is no water….If there is water, maybe once per month. And the water comes with dirt, with soil. When the water comes after long time, it comes with a big power and it comes with soil in it so we have to boil the water because if not the children get sick, and the adults as well.”


Water as common good in Italy Written by Lafitte Ramos Maria Cecilia & Ittoo Renoo & Thilak Devika & Malfa Tamayo Daniel Jonathan

“La «rivoluzione dei beni comuni», che ci porta sempre più intensamente al di là della dicotomia proprietà privata/proprietà pubblica; ci parla dell’aria, dell’acqua, del cibo, della conoscenza; ci mostra la connessione sempre più forte tra persone e mondo esterno, e delle persone tra loro; ci rivela proprio un legame necessario tra diritti fondamentali e strumenti indispensabili per la loro attuazione.”

Stefano Rodotà


INDICATOR

DATA

SOURCES

YEAR

Country area (KM2)

301.340

FAOSTAT

2013

Population (est.,000)

61.070

Undata

Urban population

68,80%

Undata

2014

GDP (US $ milions)

2.013.263

WORLD BANK

2012

GDP per capita (US $)

33.917

WORLD BANK

2010

Human development index

0,88

UNDP -HDR

2012

Global hunger index

IFPRI

Life expectancy at birth (famales and males, years) 84,9/79,5

Undata

2010-2015

Percent of population with acess to improved water sources (%)

Joint monitoring Program

2010

Joint monitoring Program

2010

100,00%

Percent of population with acess to improved sanitation (%) Percent of freshwater resources withdrawn (%)

23,57%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007

Municipal water withdrawal as a percent of total withdrawal

20,06%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007

Industrial water withdrawal as a percent of total withdrawal

35,87%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007

Agricultural water withdrawal as a percent of total withdrawal

44,07%

FAO – AQUASTAT

2007


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The involvement of the Italian civil society has been and is very strong concerning privatization of water, and it has even reached a peak in March 2006 with the creation of the Italian Forum of Water Movements.

Mercantilisation, a history on privatization

little

In the mid-ninety’s the natural resources that were administered by the governments of each country were globally turning into marketable resources. This was the case for water as well. Gradually, potable water and sanitation services were privatized. In Italy, in particular the “Ley Galli”, meaning the Galli Law, of 1994 (adopted to overcome the crisis of the water system for drinking water) opened the door to greater involvement of the private sector in water management. In 2002, the government approved an amendment to the law with the intention of

privatizing the water sector, and in November 2009 it would have declared the full privatization of drinking water through the adoption of so-called “Ronchi decree.” As a result, several Italian regions have introduced a model of private water management which is known as “public-private partnership” and while the promised improvements have not been met, rates have risen and the service has worsened. Mobilization, some milestones The involvement of the Italian civil society has been and is very strong concerning privatization of water, and it has

even reached a peak in March 2006 with the creation of the Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l’Acqua or the Italian Forum of Water Movements (here in after Forum). This Forum brings together different social organizations and local comitees which so far have militated individually on different issues but they all shared one goal: to make water a common good. During the first meeting of the Forum which was held on the 12th and 13th of March 2006 (after five meetings during 2005 in different parts of Italy), more than 600 participants, representing social networks,


Human rights, Water and Commons

movements, organizations, committees and unions, national and local, agreed to fight together in order to change the existing regulatory framework. In 2007 the Forum presented for the first time in parliament, the bill: “Principi per la tutela, il governo e la gestione pubblica delle acque e disposizioni per la ripubbliciazzazione del servizio idrico”. This law, which seeks to safeguard water resources and quality, as well as the remunicipalization of integrated water services, which was meant to be governed through mechanisms of participatory democracy, was literally “kept in the drawer”. Moreover, after the above mentioned “Ronchi decree” in 2009, a wide social coalition presented three national referendums (supported by 1,402,035 signatures collected in less than 3 months), in July 2010, to repeal the laws that promoted the privatization of water. Two of these referendums were authorized by the Constitutional Court calling a vote. On the 12th and 13th of June 2011, ninety five percent of

Italian voters (approximately 26 million), strongly expressed their willingness to include water as a common good again. This result only made it possible again to return the management of water services in public hands, and the expulsion of private companies that came to maximize profit out of water. Meanwhile, the law project Since then, except a few local experiences (Naples city beeing the most relevant), little has been done to put water management back into public hand. In the course of June 2015, the “Comissione Ambiente, Territorio e Lavori Pubblici della Camera dei Deputati del Parlamento” (Commission Environment, Territory and Public Works of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament) will discuss the drafted law (updated), presented for the second time over a year ago. This time, the law was presented by the Forum and the “Intergrupo dei Parlamento”, which consists of more than 200 parliamentarians from different political groups (Movimento 5

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Stelle, SEL, PD, SceltaCivica and GruppoMisto). The law project “Principi per la tutela, il governo e la gestione pubblica delle acque e disposizioni per la ripubbliciazzazione del servizio idrico”, dictates the principles that should be used, managed and governed the national hydric patrimony and decrees water as a universal human right, and not commodified public common good, and the right to the quality of drinking water and sanitation as a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all human rights. Until a few decades ago, nobody would have thought that the natural resources essential to life were to be considered goods. As Marco Bersani from Attac Italy says, “today the water situation is complicated. In Italy, the government continues to pass laws that are indirectly in favour of privatization. Clearly the economic interest behind the water is very high and therefore there is a strong pressure to continue privatization as private companies are quoted on the stock exchange. After the 2011 referendum law enforcement is our goal”.


1.2.

Privatizations and remunicipalisation of water


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Privatisation and

Remunicipalisation of

water services

Written by Lafitte Ramos Maria Cecilia & Ittoo Renoo & Thilak Devika & Malfa Tamayo Daniel Jonathan

Comitato Acqua Pubblica, Italy

In the last two decades, privatisation has become increasingly popular. Privatisation occurs when the control of public management is transferred to a private operator. In the water sector, there are different forms of privatisation and these different forms of privatization include the sale of the assets and the infrastructure to private companies. However, privatization is not only limited to the above definition but it also includes the establishment of public private partnerships (PPP) and contracts.

On the other hand, remunicipalisation is the return of water into public hands. There are two dimensions of water remunicipalisation. The first one is the transfer of ownership rights from the private sector to the public sector and the second one can be seen from social grassroots mobilization demanding an end to privatization. Remunicipalisation is a trend which has emerged from the year 2000 till 2015. According to a research made by the Public Service International Research


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Unit (PSIRU), remunicipalisation has grown from 2 cases in 2000 to a total of 235 cases in 2015. In Europe, Paris, Berlin and another capital city like Budapest and Atlantic in the United States can be cited as examples of the cases mentioned above. On the other side, for the middle and low income countries, it is good to note that, cities that used to be flagships of privatization to other developing countries have failed and they are now remunicipalised. Bueno Aires, Jakarta or Dar-ESalaam are very good example of these cases. Moreover, this has clearly demonstrated the unsustainability of water privatisation and management. ABC Napoli in Italy is an illustration of a successful remunicipalisation process. One year after the national referendum in 2011, the municipality of Naples, under the proposal of the Municipal Department for commons, decided to create a new company for water services that would be completely in public hands. This was called ABC

{

}

Remunicipalisation is a trend which has emerged from the year 2000 till 2015. Remunicipalisation has grown from 2 cases in 2000 to a total of 235 cases in 2015.

(Acqua Bene Comune) Napoli. This strong political decision recognised water as a common good and was considered to be a historic change in the framework of water supply in Italy. Another strong and effective example is the case of the public water operator in Prompane in Cambodia. The operator managed to transform itself from a poor performer public operator until 1993 to one of the most efficient public operator in the world. This is very important because it shows that even poor performers can be reformed. Prompane has been impressive; it has increased service coverage from 20% in 1999 to 90% after 14 years and this is a testament for what Public Public Partnership (PPP) and public ownership can do. PPP were exchanging their services without privatising and

without profit objective and this has been a very powerful tool for developing efficient and effective services in Prompane. Moreover, according to a research made, it has been proved that most of the cases of water remunicipalisation have happened in the global North. In general, the local and national government of low or middle income countries are more exposed to the pressure of the multinationals and they have to keep privatization irrespective of the social cost. This pressure can be in the form of threat of suing the government if it decides to put an end to privatization; it can be sued for commercial damages. The outcomes of reforms of public services around the world, besides it’s strong political and value meanings, has proven to be valuable, effective and positive for citizens/users of the water supplies.


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The Strike Back Against Water Privatization in Greece Written by Renaud Fort Laura & Raphel Rajkumar Mary Dayana & Lopez Torres Andres Rodrigo & Runglall Omkreshsingh

“Remunicipalization” can be defined as the action of returning to a previously private management of water supply and sanitation service into public hands, thus putting an end to the transfer of management to the private sector on all levels (concessions, lease contracts and PPPs*). In this way, not only is access secured, but also the possibility for people to have access to water resources in a safe and sustainable way is increased. The current remunicipalization trend has marked a very important point in the water and sanitation management industry: since the beginning of the 21st century there has been an increase of relevant cases of over 200%, reaching 235 municipalities

(counting the 2 French cases that started the trend), and serving more than 100 million globally who today have a secure source of water. For most municipalities around the world, private water management appeared during the 19th century. It was a “backup solution” for addressing the deficiencies the public water companies in developed and developing countries were facing at the time. One of the clearest examples took place in the United States of America. Because of the great investment that came with the maintenance of the infrastructure and the replacement of damaged parts, as well as the Safe Drinking Water Act, which is a federal law passed by the US Congress


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in 1974 ensuring the quality of American drinking water, the public companies obligated the water companies to comply to increasingly stringent federal requirements for drinking water quality. These and other reasons forced many countries around the world to go through the privatization of their water and sanitation management in order to secure the people’s quality of life and the quality of the service they receive. Remunicipalization often takes place when local governments terminate private contracts that were not satisfactory and do not renew contracts. “In many cases, this is a response to the false promises given by private operators and their failure to put the needs of communities before profit” clarifies Emanuele Lobina, member of the PSIRU and co-author of the book “Our Public Water Future”. She describes how the trend for remunicipalization has gone worldwide and goes into some of the most relevant international cases: “The false promises of water privatization in developed and developing countries include: poor performance (in

Dar es Salaam, Accra, Maputo), under-investment (Berlin, Buenos Aires), disputes over operational costs and price increases (Almaty, Maputo, Indianapolis), soaring water bills (Berlin, Kuala Lumpur), monitoring difficulties (Atlanta), lack of financial transparency (Grenoble, Paris, Berlin) workforce cuts and poor service quality (Atlanta, Indianapolis)”. At the SOSTE to NEPO one-year conference held in Thessaloniki on the 17th & 18th of May 2015, organised to commemorate the one-year-anniversary of the referendum against water privatization in the city (view also SOSTE TO NEPO) Satoko Kishimoto, member of the Transnational Institute (TNI), expressed in greater detail how this remunicipalization trend is developing around the world, with France being the most representative of all the countries. “The reason why France is in the lead of this phenomenon is because they have the longest and deepest experience of private services. That is why many local authorities are much more aware of the failures. Promises

from private authorities have not been realized”. According to Kishimoto, among the main direct benefits of remunicipalization are: direct savings for most municipalities (e.g. 35 million € saved in Paris during the first year); competitive outsourcing rates achievable by contracting local providers; greater accountability and transparency, and a longterm vision for infrastructure development that reduces future cost burdens associated with health and environmental hazards that come with private management. Thus the number of municipalities joining the trend keeps growing, while the percentage of private water companies is on the decline. If these past 15 years have proven anything, it is that remunicipalization is here to stay, and regardless of the actions taken by neo-liberal theorists, international financial institutes and their expectations of superior private sector performance, they will not avoid having management return to the citizens and benefit only them.


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The case of the CWA’ s privatization in Mauritius Written by Pizzuti Julie & Karazarifi Lydia

Newspaper, Mauritius

The Central Water Authority (CWA) was established in 1971 as the responsible service “for the treatment and distribution of potable water for domestic, commercial and industrial usage.” (Act No. 20). Therefore CWA is the service that handles the water management and supply of Mauritius and until now is under the state’s property. However in 1997 a big issue appeared, the one of the privatization of CWA. Previous government of Mauritius according to its policy about modernization and

development, requested the CWA to enter into an agreement for a private undertaking. This inducement ended up with an agreement on the 16 of August 1999 between CWA and the two French companies Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux and Vivendi. This agreement included two stages. The first one was a pilot period for 6 months to 3 years, where all the proposals and plans related with the future of the company would be agreed and implemented. The second was the general function of the


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company under the hands of the private sector that would last 30 years (one generation through definitions of sociology) as a long term agreement. Who were in favour of the privatisation of CWA and why? The ones in favour of privatization were mainly members of the government, some of the company officials usually in high position and a few of the local citizens who were unhappy with some problems of the company. According to the government this new policy “would improve the supply of water and the management of water resources through the transference of technology and investment in the water supply and infrastructure”. Regarding the company employees that were in favour to justify the privatied their judgement telling that a research for improving the infrastructure of water supply and distribution needs investments that “naturally will come from abroad”. Moreover, it was widely known that CWA wasn’t a profitable business as the cost of the treatment of water was bigger

than its incomes. Though a major issue not well known is that a non indifferent amount of the company’s money went to the salaries of the lawyers and legal advisers of CWA, who happened to be related with political parties and therefore to have political interests according to opinions of the Trade Union of CWA. According to a report of Patric Hilbert in the newspaper “Le Defi Quotidien” (15 December 2011), from 2000 until 2008, 10 millions Rs had been given to these salaries, that is an extremely big amount of money for the financial measures of CWA. In addition there was a gap of representation into the decision making of the CWA that lead many times to wrong decisions with sometimes severe impacts for the company financial viability and the citizens access to quality services. This actually could be changed by following the decision of the Parliament in 1985 that gives the opportunity to 2 members of Trade Union to be represented in the meetings of the officials of the company, something that according to the Trade Union isn’t respected.

One other lack related with water as a human right and common good is the cutting of water for domestic use if you don’t pay the bills of water for 60 days, without any warning or you to notice.


1.3.

Environmental crisis, local struggles and movements


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No ACEA-Mekorot campaign in Italy Written by Lafitte Ramos Maria Cecilia & Ittoo Renoo & Thilak Devika & Malfa Tamayo Daniel Jonathan

NO ACEA-Mekorot Demo, Italy

Mekorot is the national water utility for Israel established in 1936, even before the creation of the state of Israel and it has more than forty wells inside the occupied Palestinians territory. The company extracts water illegally from Palestinian water sources, in turn providing the stolen water to Israeli settlements built illegally in the occupied Palestinian territory, which could not exist without Mekorot. On December 2 of 2013, during the Italy-Israel summit, ACEA, Italy’s leading water utility, and Israel’s national water company

Mekorot signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The agreement provides for cooperation through the exchange of experiences and expertise in the water sector. The experience that Mekorot has matured, however, is based on serious violations of international law and human rights. As documented in the report by the Palestinian human rights organization Al Haq, Mekorot illegally extracts water from Palestinian aquifers, causing Palestinian water sources to dry


Human rights, Water and Commons

up. International organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have documented how Israel exercises total control over Palestinian water resources and how Israeli water policies are a means for expulsion. For these reasons above, Vitens, the main water supplier in the Netherlands, on advice from the Dutch Government, recently interrupted a cooperation agreement with Mekorot, citing its commitment to international law as motivation for the decision. On the other hand ACEA states that this is a technological collaboration agreement. Obviously, the reason behind this association is to be part of the business that Mekorot is creating all around the world as the latter is not only appropriating water sources in Palestine but it is also working all over the world in a view of earning profit on water. “No ACEA Mekorot” is a campaign that has been launched in December 2013 when the Rome water authorities signed the above mentioned

agreement. A committee was formed to work hands in hands with the movements that are against the privatization of water in Italy. Both the committees and the activists asked ACEA and the city of Rome which owns 51% of shares in the water management of ACEA to interrupt the agreement with Mekorot. On the 29th of May 2014, with 25 meters of signatures, the resounding NO to Italian cooperation with Israeli water company Mekorot was taken to Rome City Hall. The 7114 signatures on the petition against the agreement signed between Rome’s water utility ACEA and Mekorot snaked their way through the public square where a delegation of the Committee against ACEAMekorot Cooperation and the Rome Coordination for Public Water delivered a copy to the office of Mayor Ignazio Marino. The petition calls on the city of Rome, far silent on the issue, to take the necessary steps to block the agreement signed by the two companies. It is good

61

to note that the signatures have reached up to 10,000 till date. Currently the activists have a very strong call for ACEA to follow the example of Vitens and to immediately terminate the agreement with Mekorot and to take all actions necessary so that ACEA ceases all cooperation with Mekorot. Furthermore, they also request all local authorities whose water service is provided by companies in the ACEA Group to take steps to ensure that ACEA ends the agreement. Last but not least, they requested the Italian government to follow the example of the Dutch government and to actively discourage commercial ties with those who violate international law. As the Committee against the ACEA-Mekorot says: “Our commitment is not only to public water, but also for water free of human rights abuses”.


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SOSTE TO NEPO in Greece Written by Renaud Fort Laura & Raphel Rajkumar Mary Dayana & Lopez Torres Andres Rodrigo & Runglall Omkreshsingh

SOSTE TO NEPO Campaign, Greece

SOSTE TO NEPO (pronounced “soste to nero” and meaning “save the water” in English) and water justice allies have organised the one-year anniversary of last year’s referendum and the International conference on water privatization, that took place on May 17th and 18th 2015 at the city hall of Thessaloniki. The President of the Greek Parliament, Zoi Konstantopoulou, has solemnly pledged her support for the implementation of the Human Right to Water as a just societal demand. On May 18th 2014, the people of Thessaloniki organized a popular consultation about the plans of the previous

Greek government to privatize water. Mme Konstantopoulou made the announcement during the meeting in Thessaloniki City Council that she would like Greece to to recognize the right to water and water as common good. Her landmark declaration shows the European Commission that it was mistaken not to introduce legislation recognising this right, especially following the ECI (European Citizens’ Initiative) which collected nearly 1.9 million signatures and shows that the issue is still very much alive for Europe’s citizens. Members of the European Parliament will be voting on a report on the ECI Right2Water in


Human rights, Water and Commons the forthcoming weeks. Today Greece sends a message of hope to millions of citizens in Europe that have fought and are fighting against liberalization and privatization of water: water is a common good. Due to the increasing neo-liberal pressure, water is becoming a commodity, fulfilling private interests instead of the society’s needs. Many governments are collaborating with private bodies in order to profit from water and sewage management through public-private partnerships (PPPs). The Greek government, and its extension TAIPED - the body that carries out the sales of public companies - started a bidding process to sell EYATh, which is the water company that manages water supply and sewage in Thessaloniki. Initially, when this company was founded in 1998, it was managed by the public sector. The process of privatization began when EYATh entered the stock market. The first protest against privatization started in 2008 with a threeday hunger strike by some EYATh employees. Lack of

investment in infrastructure and the increase of sub-contracting network-related water works to private companies has led to rapid implementation of privatization plans. The main initiatives among Greek water movements are SOSTE to NEPO, K136, and Water Warriors. SOSTE to NEPO, which coordinates all water initiatives including K136, includes social movements working for the same aim, namely that water should be public, it should be owned by the people, the municipality and/or the state. SOSTE to NEPO has put a lot of effort into informing the population of Thessaloniki on water issues. It prepared voting stations in eleven municipalities of the city of Thessaloniki before the referendum (which was not recognised by the Greek state). These efforts were rewarded as on May 18th 2014 the overwhelming majority of the 218,000 citizens who participated voted against privatization. During the International conference on water privatization that took place on May 2015 in Thessaloniki city hall, were present Notis

63

Marias, Member of European Parliament; Sinn Fein’s Lynn Boylan, Member of European parliament from Ireland and Chair person of food and Safety; Despina Charalambidou, Deputy House Thessaloniki; Kalamaria M.Lamtsidis, the Vice President of the Municipal Council; Yiannis Pantis, the President of THPA. Were also present some international water movement representatives coming from Brazil, Italy, France, Ireland, Spain and Germany, who all discussed and shared the current situation of water management in their own counties, as well as in Thessaloniki. The first day the conference focused on international solidarity with an emphasis on water as a fundamental right and a common good. The Greek and European organizations requested that the citizens shouldnt’ stop their actions after the referendum and suggested that they continue their struggle to make water a common good and a fundamental human right for all citizens. One of the speakers in the conference, Stavros Ioakimidis from SOSTE to NEPO, argued that “water is utilitarian


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and has no exchange value, therefore it is not a commodity, it is a social good as there is no article in the Constitution that protects water from the sale and commercialization”. In turn, Dorothea Horlin from the Berlin Wassertisch stated: “When we found out what had happened, the water had already been sold in the name of PPP. We fought with the government and we won, so privatization has to be stopped before it becomes active. We will be supporting Greece in the fight on water privatization”. On the other hand, Yiannis Papadimitriou from Arachthos Protection Association and the continent Ecological Organizations Network referred to another aspect of the issue: “we’re used to talking about drinking water while neglecting the debate on the privatization of water resources from the bottling companies,” he said. “Bottled water has become a way of life for broad sections of the population”. He added that “we need to fight for a coordinated return to tap water combined with water-saving

strategies”. David Sanchez, from Food and Water Europe, mentioned that “international solidarity is the key for stopping water privatization. Access to water is one of the most – if not the most – pivotal human rights, and it is one that is at risk, if and when water management is privatized”. He requested a united fight against this global issue. “SOSTE to NEPO” is a forum for Water activists from different parts of the world, policy makers, education administrators, advocates and local government representatives. They aim to get together and share their views, examine a wide spectrum of opportunities, identify challenges and make future plans to counter water privatization. Generally speaking, this incentive reveals the dawn of a new era for water as a common good and as a human right. Water is and should remain a free commodity to be used by each and every one of us.


Human rights, Water and Commons

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The Guarani mobilisation in Uruguay Written by Hall Dimitrios & Eleonora Vincenzetti

The Guaranì Aquifer which Uruguay benefits in part, is the third largest underground water reservoir in the world and the first for charging capacity, with an estimated reserve of 30.000 to 40.000 km3.

Map of Guaranì aquifer

Its great environmental value, social and economic, can only be maintained through sustainable management of this resource. The Aquifer area is shared between 4 countries: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, (MERCOSUR). On 1994 the University of Buenos Aires and Littoral of Argentina, the one of the Republic of

Uruguay, the university of Paraná and of St. Paul of Brazil and the one of Paraguay Asunciòn made a joint intention to improve knowledge of the aquifer. On 1997, Paysandu’s Declaration created a stable coordination to manage and to preserve the aquifer but also to have a fair use of the water among the countries. Thanks to university initiatives and with the monetary help of some international organization, the “project for environmental protection and sustainable management of the Guarani Aquifer System” PSAG was established. The Organizaciòn


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de Estados Americanos (OEA) is the executing agency of the project and the World Bank is the agency that administers the funds provided by the Global Environment Fund (GEF). The Guarani aquifer system, because of its potential economic and strategic importance, has been considered a flagship of the surrounding countries and many international companies. It could quench the thirst of the entire planet for 200 years but the absence of a specific law regarding the use of groundwater, there has been a clear lack of control and supervision that has allowed the irrational use and the risk of degradation due to human activity or by overexploitation using illegal wells, thereby increasing the risk of ground water contamination. In Argentina, Paraguay but also in Brazil there is a great use of chemicals such as insecticides. In Mato Grosso for example, a state in Brazil, the land burned because of agrotoxins were thrown from airplanes as rain, without any control.

{

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On 1994 the University of Buenos Aires and Littoral of Argentina, the one of the Republic of Uruguay, the university of Paraná and of St. Paul of Brazil and the one of Paraguay Asunciòn made a joint intention to improve knowledge of the Guaranì aquifer.

Nowadays, in this country, thanks to the struggles of the Sindicato de Los Trabajadores Rurales in Lucas de Rio Verde, the situation is improving through the dissemination of news and reporting of events. The Guaraní are the indigenous people who live in these lands.

factory farming (whose meat is consumed in Europe), mineral extraction, large plantations and monocultures of soy and sugar cane, the soil is getting polluted and forests are disappearing. The Guaraní, deprived of their lands, can no longer take care of rivers and springs.

These communities have a relationship with surface water also with what they consider their future, which is the Guaraní Aquifer reserve. Historically, the activity of communities in their ancestral way of life, don’t impact the aquifer; their forms of production have no impact on the water and on the land.

They are forced to work in the fields of sugar cane; even children and teenagers are used for work, only to receive a paltry compensation which helps to support the family. The struggle of this people is through the “retomada”, the reoccupation of some of their ancestral lands. These are the lands that belonged to the ancestors.

Nevertheless, large international companies have taken control of these lands. Because of


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March of indigenous peoples for dignity and life in Ecuador Written by Kratka Martina & Nigro Luca

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) is Ecuador’s biggest organization gathering indigenous population. CONAIE is composed of three regional federations:

Demo, Ecuador

• the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE) in the eastern Amazon region or Oriente; • the Confederation of Peoples of Quichua Nationality in the central mountain region (ECUARUNARI); • the Coordination of Indigenous and Afrodescendant Organizations of the Ecuadorian Coast (CONAICE).

In the first half of August 2015 CONAIE have launched an uprising campaign to challenge the government’s opposition to bilingual education and its support for an extractive-based economy. Mining and oil extraction is causing significant harm to the “Pachamama”, mother earth as the indigenous people say, this including the water. On the 2nd of August 2015, the indigenous communities began a march from the southeastern Amazonian province of Zamora Chinchipe and have arrived to Quito on the 13th of August where they have joined a general strike called by the Workers United Front (FUT) in


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opposition to the government’s labour policies. Another group of indigenous communities started also from the north, from the area around Otavalo and joined the national strike on this day. The people in the march closed the major roads leading to Quito and also many parts in the capital centre. The demonstrations in favor of national strike were happening not only in Quito but in many other cities as Guayaquil, Puyo, Pastaza and many other smaller cities and villages. The demonstrations were joined also by many other groups such as university students, medics and also by right wing opposition against the new law of inheritance and tax law. During the evening hours the demonstrations developed into violent clashes with tear gas, many injured and detained, including a short detention of Carlos Perez Guartambel, an Ecuadorian lawyer, indigenous leader for collective water rights and author of “Water or Gold: Kimsacocha, the resistance for water”. Even with the repression, the indigenous demonstration was continuing on the following days.

The government’s social policies under the lead of Rafael Correa are more and more criticized by both left and right voters. The main complain from the side of the indigenous movements is that the social programs are financed from continued reliance on extractive industries, in particular petroleum and gold mining. These policies harm the environment, and require and contaminate a huge amounts of water. CONAIE was founded in 1986 and it has developed an economic and political strategy to redefine and implement participatory democracy. Simultaneously, CONAIE called for the conversion of Ecuador into a multi-nation state recognizing the national autonomy of 12 indigenous nations, run by “popular parliaments”. CONAIE’s political agenda includes the strengthening of a positive indigenous identity, recuperation of land rights, environmental sustainability and opposition to neo-liberalism. In the first year of existence CONAIE was mainly focusing on social changes through

direct actions, but after 2005 the methods shifted to policy making and reaching bigger audience in order to educate and spread environmental awareness, plurinationality, indigenism and multiculturalism. In 2009 CONAIE was striking and putting up road blocks in order to protest against laws that were to be passed by the government dealing with water management, but also to protest against old laws dealing with environment. Unfortunately the protests were not as well organized as they had been previously and did not effectively change any laws nor gained much attention in the media. The largest involvement of CONAIE in recent politics was opposing to oil extraction and mining in the indigenous lands and other protests against the last year’s Water Law. The indigenous movement is suffering a lot of oppression from the state. In 2013 in ecological NGO Pachamama was closed and beginning of 2015 the offices of CONAIE in Quito were evicted.


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Mauritius, SIDS & Climate change Written by Pizzuti Julie & Karazarifi Lydia

Mauritius

Mauritius is one of the 51 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) all facing similar economic and sustainable challenges. These islands are located in the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Ocean as well as the Caribbean Sea. The climate in these islands is greatly affected by the oceanatmosphere’s interactions with weather phenomenon like tropical cyclones, hurricanes, sea-level rise, monsoons and trade winds. When combined, these interactions and common socio-economic situations – such as restricted availability of resources and rapid increases in population, these islands automatically become vulnerably targeted and

affected by climate change. Although it is known that SIDS includes islands still at a premature developing stage, these islands are reported to produce extremely low levels of greenhouse gas emissions. With their current position in the climate change phenomenon, these islands are viewed as most vulnerable in terms of damage and impacts of climate change which are expected to appear there sooner than in the majority of the so-called “more developed” countries which produce higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions. These issues are clearly documented in the text “Vulnerability of Mauritius to


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climate change� which led to COP21 (Conference Of the Parties) last December 2015 in Paris to organize three regional workshops aiming to facilitate the exchange of information, the creation of assessments with regard to the impacts of the issue at hand as well as the adaptation of strategies and polices to ensure the protection of the islands against climate change as far as resources permit. Moreover, according to scientific evidence, climate change and the local impacts of Mauritius nature are: the rise of the temperature expected to be around 2 degrees between 1961 - 2070. The reduction of the rainfall anticipated to be at around 13% by 2050. A considerable rise of sea-level around 49 cm may be observed by 2100. Beach erosion with a massive loss in beach area and a number of coral bleaching may occur, in particularly with 50% of beach loss by 2050. It is likely to also have an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events such as

frequent torrential rains resulting in flash flood (an unfortunate incident resulting in 11 deaths of same already observed in March 2013). What do these mean for Mauritius? These environmental threats negatively impact the socioeconomic fields resulting in serious expansions in the daily lives of islanders. Agriculture and tourism, the two most powerful cards in the economy of the islands, will be negatively affected as the aftermath of the rise of extreme weather phenomenon and the reduction of the rainfall. Many agricultural lands, buildings and roads will be at risk due to the rise in sealevel. A considerate decrease in the terrestrial forests, the mangroves and the coral reefs may also be experienced. On the other hand, the reduction in the size of fresh water lenses and general water source availability (due to decreased rainfall) combined with the expected increase of the population will threaten the survival of existing water resources and the biodiversity. Same applies

to the accomplishment of the sustainable development goals of the Mauritius Strategy. In general, the erosion may cause high cost damages to socio-economic and cultural infrastructure. It is estimated that high risks of floods will appear in 36 hotels areas, 11 schools, 9 Medical facilities Centres and Police Stations in Mauritius. Raising awareness and advocacy in these issues is of utmost importance. Understanding the alarming needs for the adoption of a more eco-friendly way of living is an obligation. The luxury to be indifferent is not at our disposal. Our lifestyle affects the survival of current and future generations.


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El Dorado Gold,

Chalkidiki and the struggle for human rights in Greece

Written by Renaud Fort Laura & Raphel Rajkumar Mary Dayana & Lopez Torres Andres Rodrigo & Runglall Omkreshsingh

Chalkidiki Area, Greece

Minery in Greece is as remote as its history, the data for mining activities go as far as 1000 B.C. and Greece has become the first producer of Perlite, a nonrenewable resource, before United States. The Kassandra Area has been a vast source of silver and gold since the Ancient times of Greece, source that has helped remarkable historical characters as Philip II and Alexander the Great during their conquests, with a recorded data of over 1 million tons of ore extracted from the Stratoni mine in the area during the Roman, Byzantine and Turkish periods. The nature of the activity has moved from bulk mining methods until more

sophisticated selective cut & fill methods used nowadays. The area is specifically rich in silver and zinc, and has been exploited regularly during the last centuries, an activity that is very representative of the history of the area, where major consideration of the people in the villages around the Kassandra area and the Chalkidiki peninsula has taken place. The peoples motivation for being opposed the minery industry lay in two single motivations: natural resources and human rights. To be clearer in this aspect we need to go back a few years. By the end of 2003, the assets of the Kassandra mines, belonging to


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TVX Hellas S.A. were transferred to the Greek state for 11 million euros. Assets that the same day, were sold to the company Hellas Gold S.A. without any prior economic assessment, without any kind of open competition and most important, for the same price. This meant that 317 km2 of land including 310 homes and 11000 m2 of urban land among many other properties passed hands to the Canadian company El Dorado Gold S.A., an international gold producer that nowadays owes 95% of Hellas Gold S.A., giving them full possession of the mining concessions and by this exempting the company from any transfer of taxes and relieving the gold mining company from any financial obligations concerning environmental damage resulting from previous operation of mines. The problem regarding mining activities in the area lies in the new expansion plans of El Dorado Gold S.A. that include among others an 8.8 km underground tunnel in Olimpias for transportation of ore, exploring activities of another

14 potential sites and a new open pit and underground mine in Skouries. Konstantinos Katsfarelis, Professor of the Civil Engineering department of the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, and also coordinator of the Environmental Council of the same establishment, warns that the effects in the fragile structure of the environment in the area will be catastrophic: “the carrying capacity of the environment will be exceeded by far, and the problem is that they are not going to stop there”. Katsfarelis among other scientists from the Aristotle University were in charge of the research of the environmental effects that the activities could have in the area, and came to disagree completely with the results that were obtained in the Environmental Impacts Assessment, given by El Dorado. On this matter, it has been proven that the expansion of the activities and the projection for exploration will affect 1/11 of the Chalkidiki peninsula and that the enormous effects on fishery, tourism and specially agriculture (being this the main activity of

the area) will significantly lower the activities and local income not related with minery. Regarding water, the situation couldn’t be any worse. The new projection for the activities include the use of an amount of water greater than the one that the local ecosystem can take. The extraction activities nowadays include gold, among other minerals, gold that with concentrations as low as 0.5 grams per ton of soils removed, this concentrations can be considered of such insignificance that even European Goldfield Limited, a consulting company in minery topics, on its technical report on 2010 on the reserves in the Stratoni project classified the gold concentrations in the field as “not considered to be of any economic value”. Moreover, the current activities in the area include an excavation of 700m below the sea level, and the use of approximately 10 million m3 of water (between underground and surface water sources) that will be polluted at all despite what the Environmental Impact Assessment provided by El Dorado states. It is necessary to take into account as well that


Human rights, Water and Commons the whole activity projected will mean the smashing of tons rocks in both activities (underground and open pit mining), and an estimated production of highly polluted dust of approximately 2.2 tons per hour, this together with highly polluted waste water from the processes of gold extraction (the same that use prejudicial chemicals as cyanide) represent a threat and a constant risk not only for agriculture activities, but also for fishery in the area, two of the main economical incomes not related to minery. The international research group for the campaign Rights4Water in Greece, on their visit to the Chalkidiki area, had the opportunity to talk to Maria Kadoglou, a local activist that has been involved in the struggle against the expansion of the mining activities since the beginning. Kadoglou talks about the main reasons why people don’t support the new mining expansion, and also how the company has been taking advantage of the financial situation in the country to continue their extraction activities, even though there are no financial advantages for the

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Participant and local activists, Chalkidiki, Greece

Greek state. “The financial crisis that Greece is going through is their best ally…the worst the financial situation in Greece, the better for the mining company”. Like this she also explains how El Dorado created a complex network of subsides, and based on an inconsistent Greek legislation, has been able to avoid tax payment to the local state, from a concession that is worth approximately 13 billion euros, being the company the only beneficiary. (To know more about Maria Kadoglou’s intervention, please visit Maria Kadoglou and gold mining in Chalkidiki). After several analyses, Katsfarelis and Kadoglou came to the same solution, to stop the mining expansion. They both state that the solution for this struggle is not to “kick out” the mining company, but to deal

with the current situation in the area and this lies on hands of the Greek government, and its availability to act towards all the series of violations made by El Dorado Gold S.A.. The breach of contracts and the not well fulfilled environmental requests by the company are the main weapons to fight in courts. A fair position towards the people is another goal to achieve, to create a development plan that help people to find another economic activities apart from those connected to El Dorado, in an area with a well known minery background but also with a rich agricultural and touristic tradition and potential that need to be exploited, that would ensure the quality of life of its population once the extraction of the resources come to an end.


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Mining and

deforestation in the Intag Valley of Ecuador

Written by Kratka Martina & Nigro Luca

Alternativas Vivas, Festival in Junin, Ecuador

Intag is a remote, mountainous region in the Northern Andes, in the Imbabura province. The area includes world’s most important high diversity spots Intag cloud forest reserve and Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve and also the protected forest Los Cedros. Los Cedros Biological Reserve consists of 17,000 acres of pre-mountain wet tropical and cloud forest. Of this, 2,650 acres is formerly colonized (now reforested) land, while the remaining is primary forest. The reserve is a southern buffer zone for the 450,000 acre Cotocachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve and both are part of the Choco Phytogeographical Zone. The Choco region is

perhaps the most biologically diverse and endemic habitat on Earth. These reserves protect what is left from the forests in the Intag area. Tropical mountain cloud forests are high on the list of the world’s most threatened ecosystems, the studies say that some 90% of mountain forests have disappeared from the northern Andes. Nowadays, around 17 thousand people live in Intag valley since the agricultural reform in the 60s in small communities that are scattered among cloud forest and agricultural lands. The region’s agriculture is mostly self sufficient, though an important part also goes to


Human rights, Water and Commons

outside markets in Otavalo and Ibarra. The beautiful nature and important water source of the Intag valley has already been for many years endangered by deforestation and mining projects. “I feel that the main pressure that this area has is the mining, in this area there is deforestation, cattle raising etc. but I feel that that biggest problem is this pressure of the mining concessions which exist here….. as many people know, the value of the cloud forests is for the importance in the hydrologic cycle, catchment of water … is doubtless,” says Maria Isabel Esteves Novoa, a biologist from Quito who is involved in the protection of the environment in Intag and who has spent a lot of time in the reserve Los Cedros working on her thesis on the “Conservation of micro watersheds and forests in García Moreno Parish, to support the consolidation of biological corridor of the buffer zone of the Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve”. One of the little communities in Intag called Junin has been

opposed to mining for more than 18 years now. They managed to force two multinationals, Japan’s Bishi Metals in the ‘90s, and Canada’s Ascendant Copper in the first decade of the 2000s, to leave the zone. Yet, in 2012, without consulting local communities, the Chilean and Ecuadorian governments signed a contract to reopen Intag’s Junin mining project. The project is set to be undertaken by the Chilean owned Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer and the Ecuadorian state-owned mining company, ENAMI. In April 2014, the community leader and a strong opponent of mining Javier Ramírez was arrested on charges of rebellion, sabotage and terrorism. He spent 10 months in jail and his brother Victor Hugo charged of terrorism as well is still hiding since then. In May 2014, just after the arrest, Enami and Codelco entered the area guarded by the police. The members of the community tried to stop them, but they were outnumbered. Ileana Torres, the wife of Javier Ramírez, says “They have entered with

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the force of the police, around 400 police officers, hitting… pushing women and children and they have passed… they have passed, you know that the police is so hard that they have entered by force.” Since then the exploration, including perforation is going on in the mountains near Junin. Polibio Pérez, a member of the community development council involved in the struggle against mining since the beginning, says that the law establishes that if there is a project which will affect the environment, and it requires a consultation. But there was no consultation as far as he is aware and even more, the mining company entered to the mining area by force. Ileana Torres, regarding any kind of consultation with the local community from the side of government on the environmental impacts of the large scale open pit mining, says “No, they didn’t… They say all the time that it will not cause any damage, nothing is happening, mining doesn’t do anything and that they will do everything with the modern technology but


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that’s a lie because in Peru… I know Peru and it’s a very difficult situation there.” Ileana Torres also mentioned health problems that the people in the community had in the past because of the contaminated water, their animals dying and their children being sick. “The water was white,” she says. Nowadays it’s not possible anymore to drink the water from the river. There is still another source of clean water but if the mining project continues this water will also be contaminated. Polivio Pérez says that the community has to keep fighting for clean environment and water and he adds “I have done a lawsuit, I require a revision to the national government because a study of environmental impacts was published which goes against the law and against our rights.” The communities have to unite and fight for their rights because the government decides in favour of private companies, not in favour of people. In the last years though, the unity of the community in the struggle have fallen apart and the community is divided between people against the mining and people in favour.

Ileana Torres says “…also they were putting this fear, if you say something, you go to jail, if you put yourself in the road and say what you think and what you want for your community, you go to jail. So the people started supporting them, working for them and all the people have left, people who fought a lot before, people who left the country, those people are now supporting the company.” The division of the community is very strong at the moment, people don’t fight anymore but people also don’t cooperate on any other level. People who have lived together for many years are not talking to each other anymore. The fact that the community is divided makes the struggle even more difficult now. Ileana continues, “The people have a lot of fear now, they don’t want to speak, they don’t want to help, they don’t want to fight…” Deforestation Deforestation in the Intag area started goes on since 1965 when the people started coming to the area after the agricultural reform. William Andagoya a coordinator of the

community projects alternative to deforestation and mining from Chontal, a little community in the Intag valley, says “In the 70s and 80s when the people came here, these mountains were incredible… I remember to see the animals just at the house, when I came back I was wondering where the animals are.” The reasons for deforestation were many – when people have moved in this area, they used the wood to build their houses, they cut the trees in order to make space for pastures for cattery and afterwards while their cows were growing they also needed to live from something so they have been cutting the trees to sell them. But of course it was not just the people but also the little farmers who did a lot the damage. The main role in the deforestation was played by the big international companies. José DeCoux, the director of Los Cedros reserve says, ”The large lumber companies have finished most of the forests in Esmeraldas and there are more operations over to the Amazon and nobody seems to care. These companies are predatory only for their private little greed


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Libre de minera, Ecuador

and enrichment. They go to the virgin forest and just chop up everything. The companies trick their way to the national forests and clear them out. And the more forests are removed, the less rain will fall in the entire country.” As result, most of the forests are lost which means also a huge loss of water not only for the area but for big part of Ecuador. As José DeCoux declares,

the decrease of the rainfall is dramatic in the last 7 years, the pastures and the fields of the farmers start getting dry as there is less and less forests to keep the humidity. Nowadays the deforestation is illegal but the people still need to live from something so it’s still going on and as José DeCoux says there is no campaign explaining the importance of the forests so people just continue

deforesting. “All of these big foundations, they come there and the tell you, only take 5 minute showers or don’t wash your car or save water or something like that but nobody talks about the conservation of the forests, that the water shelter is what you need… that it provides water. It’s not even on the national agenda!” says José Decoux. Since a central campaign is


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missing, the local communities under the coordination of William Andagoya organize every month or two gatherings to discuss important matters. Maria Isabel Esteves Novoa together with José DeCoux presented there what is a cloud forest and what is its importance for water and subsequently also for farming and explained why deforestation and cattle raising near the rivers eliminate the accessibility of clean water. While listening to the people, a question comes to our mind: Where is the human right to water? Where is the great Water Law? As Maria Isabel Esteves Novoa says, theoretically the law is a just one, it promises water as a right to everybody. What is expected is that all the communities can have access to water but also this implies that all the projects implemented should respect this law, that all the people can have access to water clean, healthy and not polluted. But nobody knows if this will be fulfilled in case that the mining activity will happen in Intag because practically if this happens nobody knows if they will fulfil all the environmental protocols, nobody knows if the

communities will have to start consuming contaminated water without knowing about it, nobody knows if the flows of the rivers will decrease because of the decrease of the cloud forests. Although privatization of water is not allowed by the law, giving a right to water to and by that prioritizing mining and other industries over the needs of the people who live in the area is a way of privatizing the water. José DeCoux says, “Just the last few days I’ve been hearing that the magical springs in Machachi have been assigned to Coca Cola Company that’s another example of the centralized business oriented, profit oriented, greed oriented distribution of water here in Ecuador!” Alternative projects In the Intag valley there is a big conflict between the nature, profits of private companies and needs of people living there. Because people need to live from something, many alternative projects have been developed by the communities as an alternative to the mining projects and to deforestation. Many communities have created

communitarian companies for handicrafts and ecological agriculture. For example fair-trade organic coffee is produced in Junin and Apuela which is sold within Ecuador and also exported overseas. In Santa Magdalena, many handicrafts from loofah are produced by the members of Corporation Talleres de Grand Valle. Hand-weave crafts such as bags, wallets and belts from natural fibres are made and sold in local markets and in Otavalo, as well as exported. A group of women in the community of Rosal do hand-made cosmetic products from aloe-vera and many other initiatives. Also, eco-tourism and communitarian tourism is developing in the area, the visitors have the chance to learn about the nature here, about the cloud forest and the species (both fauna and flora) that live here, about the communities and how their hand made products are done, they can learn about ecological agriculture etc.


1.4.

In-depth local experiences


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Water issues in Aegina Island in Greece

Written by Renaud Fort Laura & Raphel Rajkumar Mary Dayana & Lopez Torres Andres Rodrigo & Runglall Omkreshsingh

Maria Triantopoulou, freelance journalist, blogger and Lawyer, Aegina Island, Greece

Greek islands are part of Greek culture, Greece has more than 6000 islands and among them only 227 islands are inhabited and it’s believed that one of the oldest civilization of Europe has developed in these islands. The islands of Greece are well known around the world for its Refreshing Mystic beauty which attracts a large number of tourists worldwide. Aegina located in the Argosaronic Gulf, thus close to Athens. The island of Aegina covers a surface of 87.41 km2, most of the areas covered with a pine forests, there are some wetlands and bare mountains. The population of the island, normally around 13,056 can double in the summer. During this period a lot of Athenians are spending the holiday in their privately owned holiday homes on the island. The main

economic sources are tourism, fishing and agriculture. They cultivate rich crops like olives, pistachios and almonds. But like most of the islands in Greece, Aegina also does not have its own sufficient water resource within the island. The Water shortage in Greece is affecting mostly the islands, particularly the Aegean island at the height of the summer tourist season. The government’s inefficiency in handling the situation was clearly exposed during this period; state government continues to opt for short-term solutions. We rights4water Greece team did a small research to know the current water situation on Aegina. We spoke with few of the local people from Aegina and here is what they say.


Human rights, Water and Commons Manos, owner of a Taverna at the sea side said that more than 10 years ago he stopped using ship water for drinking. He also mentioned, “90 % of people are using bottled water as they don’t trust the quality of water which comes in the ship.” We asked him about the environmental degradation caused by bottled water and his answer was “Do we have any other option?” Maria Triantopoulou, freelance journalist, blogger and Lawyer by profession, said, “Water and sanitation has always been the main Key for elections and political parties were using it for decades but no permanent solution has been found yet. The infrastructure project for building a pipe line from Athens to the islands was released years back but paperwork had prevented it from happening”. She also mentioned that the ship water is not sufficient enough for the whole island and particularly the Northen part of Aegina (Mesagros, Agiamar, Navagia). As for Maria’s family the only option they have is ground water and the ground water is salted because of over drilling, it affects their daily life, hence they are forced to buy bottled water for their daily requirement.

The people are depending on private sectors for their drinking water needs. She continues, “The past government did not take any initiative and there was no political will to find permanent solution as they were indirectly involved in the private water business for personal benefits.” So, what is the situation in agriculture? Agriculture is still suffering as there is not enough water for cultivation during summer; The farmers are managing by using half of Mainland’s water and half of underground water. We spoke with Paschalis Melissaris, a senior Hydrologist from Aegina, who expressed his deep concern on Groundwater use in agriculture, risks aquifer over-exploitation, and he also mentioned, “Water is not just a common good but it is vital source for all the living things on earth. The over exploitation of groundwater will lead to deterioration by seawater intrusion, this may even end in underground desertification and it will spoil the agriculture lands.” He mentioned, “There are a lot of methods to manage the water problems like rain water harvesting, switching to alternative crops which need less water for cultivation or building

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desalination units. If these methods were followed the water problem could be managed 70 % and the remaining shortage of 30 % could be solved by the pipeline connection from Athens but now the situation is worse as Aegina depends fully on main land water and this shows the lack of efficiency from the previous government.” He says, “We can’t rely on water being sent from ports near Athens all the time.” So, this is the result of our visit in Aegina. Overall not much has changed since 2007. The Island’s water requirement still relays on the ships from main land. “Ship comesfour time a day carrying 1500m3 water and its trips has to increase several times during summer to manage the needs of the tourists.” said the worker from the water ship. More than 90 % of people are using bottled water. The current government has given a lot of promises to fulfil the water needs and the inhabitants of Aegina are looking up to them. But generally, the starting point for changes should come from the civil society in Aegina which should become more aware and active to fight for their right.


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Nepal Earthquake affects Indian River Ganges in India

Written by Ruffini Benedetta & Karoni Andromachi

What used to be the pride of Kolkota’s water management system, faced serious threats and incredible damages after the Nepal Earthquake on April 25th

In the village of Mankundu, 40 km away from Kolkata (or Calcutta) , the dirty - black - water that comes from the village’s houses is purified through a 76 mld capacity sewage treatment plant since 2005. Five different surface water tanks progressively clean and purify the water through a pipe system before releasing it in the Ganges River. The whole project - the Ganga Action Plan - employs 12 people and it is set right next to the river. However, what used to be the pride of Kolkota’s water management system, faced serious threats and incredible damages after the Nepal Earthquake on April 25th :  a part of the water  purification facility collapsed. The plant

has continued working in the last two months since its most recent damages, however, the purification capacities are lowered and the plant doesn’t release cristalline clear water in the Ganges River. The wall originally separated two different tanks which has now collapsed with serious influences on the efficiency of the water purification process. The lack of proper cleaning of the water before being released in the Ganges could cause medical issues to the locals, habituated to refresh from the burning Indian Sun in the River Ganges. Here are some shots.


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Water poverty in Esmeraldas (Ecuador)

Written by Kratka Martina & Nigro Luca

Ecuador

Tiwinza is a former illegal settlement in the suburbs of the city Esmeraldas in the province of Esmeraldas located on the coast in the North West part of Ecuador. It is one of the hottest areas of Ecuador with average temperatures around 28°C during the day and around 24°C during the night though the whole year. The rain season lasts from January till April/ May with 80-90 mm average rainfall per month and the dry season from June till November/ December with 10-15 mm in the dry season. When we arrived, the weather was very hot and humid, the buses were swirling the dust in the streets and it stayed

like that the whole 3 days. The locals say that when it rains, it’s even worse because the streets are full of mud. The settlement appeared many years ago near the biggest national oil refinery company Petroecuador which was opened around 45 years ago in the outskirts of the city of Esmeraldas. The jobs that the oil company has offered have made people to start settling in this area. Nowadays the neighbourhood is more or less organised, there is connection to electricity in all the houses, and there is also water supply, although insufficient irregular. The water supply doesn’t cover even the basic needs of the people living


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here. One neighbour tells us: “we suffer very strongly from the deficit of water… There are months when the water comes, there are months when it doesn’t come.” Another one says: “generally we get water once per week, in average. To us the water comes only at night, early in the morning. During the day there is water in some parts but here not.” In order to understand the water problem of the neighborhood it’s important to understand the water issue of the whole city. Unfortunately we didn’t have the chance to speak to the responsible water company (EAPA) in Esmeraldas because the manager of EAPA refused the interview so we don’t have any official statement towards the situation. We believe that it’s a message clear enough to understand that the problems are very serious. We spoke just quickly to a technician from the treatment plant that is located in San Mateo and he told us that the water treatment plant has the capacity to treat drinkable water for cca 45 thousand people. Nowadays in the city Esmeraldas lives

about 150 thousand people. This means that obviously it’s not possible to deliver drinkable water to all the people in the city and the water supply is being interrupted very often. As he has explained us, usually what happens is that people from the city might have the water supply interrupted every second day. The technician also told us that there is a plan to construct a new plant next year so the needs of the whole city can be covered. What we cannot understand though is why the new treatment plant was not given higher priority

and why it was not constructed already years ago. The water supply in Esmeraldas is not a problem of the last 5, 10 or 15 years; it’s a really long term problem. How it’s possible that in a country with so much water, there are people living without drinkable water available? We cannot comment on the situation in the city center but in the neighborhood Tiwinza the problems with water supply are very serious, people never know when will water come and for how long will it flow. The architecture of Tiwinza is very diverse, there are houses


Human rights, Water and Commons constructed by cement and bricks, wood or bamboo. Most of them are very small houses of 1 or 2 rooms, some of them are bigger. Most of the houses have regular water supply installation and flush toilets with sewage system. But almost never there is the water available in the taps, neither in the toilet, just from the hose in front of the house. So what the people have to do is to collect the water for drinking, cooking, washing, cleaning and for the use of the toilet in buckets and plastic canisters in front of the house. And the quality of the water is also not very good. Maria Zegnifo, living in the poorest area called Fifty houses for already 10 years says: “there is no water….If there is water, maybe once per month. And the water comes with dirt, with soil. When the water comes after long time, it comes with a big power and it comes with soil in it so we have to boil the water because if not the children get sick, and the adults as well.” The difficult situation puts people together and they help each other, sometimes there might be a house or two that has

water so the neighbours borrow the water to each other for the most necessary purposes. “I have the water hose and the water almost never comes to my house, it comes only when the flow is really strong, otherwise I have to go to the neighbour. For me to have water…..the flow has to be very strong and then when all the people are sleeping, I can fill in the canisters. I have a lot of problems with water, generally all the people in this area, the water doesn’t come very often,” said a neighbour that lives for 5 years next door from the family that accommodated us.

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Generally as the water is being kept in open buckets, there is also a danger of spreading diseases from insects, dust, animals etc. in case that the water is standing there for longer time. Also because of the lack of water, the hygiene (especially considering the use of toilets) is not very high and this may also cause diseases.

river, the same river that the inhabitants use water from in the times of crisis when there is no water at all. “When there is no water, we have to go to the river – mainly for washing and for the water for the toilet, less for cooking. For cooking it’s not possible, we have to buy water.” Daya who lives in the neighbourhood for 12 years says: “I don’t have a water hose, I go for water to my mother or to Maria (another neighbour) when she doesn’t have. And when there is no water, people go to the river, mainly for washing, but I cannot, because water is causing me skin problems. I have to wait for the water to come to wash myself.” Another neighbour says that since there is no other water, people have to use the water from the river even though it’s very contaminated. She says that the diseases are spreading a lot, people have fungus inside the organism, on the skin, the vaginal infections and many other problems.

Another problem is sanitation. Just try to imagine using flush toilets inside the house without water. And then all the waste water goes to the nearby

“Before the people was fishing in this river. Nowadays you cannot eat the fishes from there. But there are still children who eat the fish from the river


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now, without considering the consequences, poor children… With the economical situation nowadays, there are people who don’t have money for food so the children go to the river and eat the fish,” says one neighbour. Domestic waste is not the only pollutant, also the oil company throws its waste water there and nobody really knows how well is this water treated. And at the same time there is a lot of state propaganda supporting the oil industry. Everywhere around the city banners can be found saying: The oil company improves the education. The oil company improves your health care. The oil company improves your neighbourhood…. In Tiwinza there are 3 schools that were reconstructed by the oil company and each one of them has a picture how the school looked like before, how does it look like now and the respective banner. There is also new health centre financed by the oil company. As some say, it’s an exchange. But do we really want these kind of exchanges?

Many of the locals complain about the pollution that the company is causing to the environment and mainly about the pollution of water but on the other hand some of them acknowledge that they have moved to the place because of the jobs that the oil company offers and so by many people the oil company is not seen as something negative but as a company which gives jobs, contributes to the national economy and realizes social projects. “The pollution is not only the fault of the oil company; it’s also our fault that we have moved so close to the company for the jobs, knowing the consequences…,” say one woman. Of course the problem is not one sided, the people have moved close to the oil company knowing the consequences but why in the first place should the oil company contaminate the environment anyway? Why the waste water is not treated well so it doesn’t pollute the rivers? Earlier or later it will always have consequences on the

environment as whole and on people… In the 2008 Constitution (the socalled “constitucion del buen vivir”), written and approved by the Correa government, the article 71 affirms: “All persons, communities, peoples and nations can call upon public authorities to enforce the rights of nature.”, but what happens if it’s a national state company polluting the environment? Which power could have a citizen calling upon public authorities in this case? And overall in a nation where the economy and the related social policies are based on oil and depend on the price of oil?


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Life

without water in via Giolitti (Italia) Written by Lafitte Ramos Maria Cecilia & Ittoo Renoo & Thilak Devika & Malfa Tamayo Daniel Jonathan

“Life without water is a nightmare; you cannot cook, you cannot wash yourself, you cannot drink…”

A participant and Anna Mazzone (resident in via Giolitti), Italy

Roman citizens face rising water costs and disconnections from service as 2011 pro-public management water referendum result continues to be ignored. Via Giolitti is located in the centre of Rome, Italy. It lies right next to Termini Central Railway Station and thousands of people cross it every day. What might not be obvious at first is that on

it live 300 people that for the past three years have had their access to water appear and disappear without warning. In the last six months alone, ACEA, Rome’s water service company, has cut the residents’ water connection a total of five times. The issue first emerged when some of the inhabitants of Via Giolitti could not afford their water bill, which often amounted to up to a combined 100.000€/ two years for the 90 flats that comprise the three affected apartment buildings.


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The price each apartment has to pay after the division has been made often amounts to over 1000€ per year, over twice the highest price of water in Italy—and that’s just for water. Even though some of the tenants did pay their absurdly high share, many others could not afford it. After part of the payment was delayed, ACEA took the decision to cut water access to all three buildings, including neighbouring shops and a B&B. Anna Mazzone was one of the residents that refused to pay. Her bill was 2400€ for two years. Living alone with her two cats, who, as she herself says, do not like water too much, she could not think of a reason why her water bill could be so high. When she made an inquiry with ACA about it, their reply was that, because there is a single counter for the entire building, it was not practically possible to give her an accurate measurement of her own flat’s water consumption.

Negotiating with the water company was not an easy affair, and the residents’ questions were not answered. They threatened to close off the busy street in front of Termini Station if their connection was not resumed, and ACEA did allow their water back the same day. However, since then, water access to them has been an on/off affair, coming and going without warning. To illustrate, during the past Easter period, the buildings were without water for 8 days.


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M ario Chatzidamianos Social Economy Knowledge Broker Collected by Renaud Fort Laura & Raphel Rajkumar Mary Dayana & Lopez Torres Andres Rodrigo & Runglall Omkreshsingh

1. What are the main issues regarding water in your country? “In Greece we have two different factors that we need to take into account. The first factor is the fact that the creation of the structure system was based on terms of occupying certain areas; that’s the reason why in big cities the system is old and cannot be replaced easily. But in the other hands there are new areas that have been inhabited in the past few years because people actually choose to transfer their jobs and their everyday living into suburban areas or into villages around big centres, based on such evidence that shows us that a great amount of population is transferring from big cities to

smaller areas, this is something that actually produces a problem on non supportive systems regarding the water supply, or the water clearance, or systems of cleaning the water in order to put if in reuse.” 2. How is the actual management of drinkable water and sanitation in your country? “It’s been more than three decades that the management system was public we would pay a little amount a money in order to have this providence given by this public company. During the economic crisis a great amount of public services in Greece were privatized, we came across with the problem of privatizing also our common

wealth companies and under certain circumstances there was a huge fight against companies that wanted to take the public management. This is what actually made the people react, for example it was the first time in 30 or 40 years that people actually voted for something that had to do with everyday living and it was a part of the commonwealth and I’m talking about water, it was really great finding out that, although there where a lot of effort from private companies to privatize the system there was also at the same time a huge fight from the people in order for the management to stay public and this is something really great.”


Human rights, Water and Commons 3. What is the current legislation on water as a Human Right and Common Good in your country? “What about legislation, a lot of things to be discussed in this country because we need to understand that since 1986 there are more than 3000 legislations passing through the Greek parliament regarding things that you could not even imagine; and the problem is that whenever any new government is coming we are addressing the same subject and the same problems all over again without even taking into concern what the previous governments have done, so this is a problem. It has to do with discontinuity of the governments and their policies, and it’s really difficult to find out what this is all about. Because once addressing the legislation content it leads to another previous content, to a previous content, to a previous content that in the past have been legislated probably like 100 years ago. The whole idea comes to the conclusion that there is no clear path on how we should use our public wealth and this is a problem to be addressed sooner or

later, because this is not about just water it has to do with the policies about how we will grow our vegetables or how we will grow our everyday food needs. If we take it down to the letter of the law there is a legislation that has been passed 25 years ago and it has to do with concentrating on the fact that water in Greece should be address as a public wealth subject and we should follow the international law that says by the chart of human right every person should have access to clear water supply sand they should be able to have clear water in the houses. This is the reason why we created the public services for the water, we created two companies one for Thessaloniki and one for Athens and under this model the public companies for water surveillance were created in big cities around Greece. Another problem is that in a lot of areas in Greece there is no access to clear water, they need to transfer water by boat and this means that people have a problem accessing to clear water. Also there is a problem with the agreement made with the transporters of the water.

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There are a lot of signs showing us that in the islands we don’t have access to clear water, during summer time we have a great amount of tourists coming and there is no supply to cover the needs that are produced. So, I truly believe that legislation should be transformed; the problem grows with the people that are in need.” “There are new areas that are being inhabited and we need to create legislation in order to support such groups; it’s not only about the Greeks, there was a huge problem with the centres where immigrants were held where they didn’t have connection with clear water or sanitation system. This whole situation it is about continuity and not about the governments voting the legislation” “The elections made a huge difference in Greece but there is no difference when we are addressing a central policy made by the European Union and the reason for that is because our government is established by the European Union collaboration model. We have our ministers in Brussels so local governments, in my own terms, they are acting like


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municipalities, whole countries have been made municipalities in the European Union. When addressing a problem like that is actually like asking a major of the municipality what do you think about your government taking in your policy about how we should use our water. It is something like that they don’t have an opinion they are tourist they are forced torrent forced to act within a frame of actions taken by the central government”. “We need to understand now that there is this huge fight made by private companies and I’m referring to the TTIP agreement which regards the fact that whenever a private company thinks we shouldn’t go against her, the company will be able to sue the government or the country by providing evidence of the lost of money from not being able to privatize a public wealth, for sample streams. (...) If something like that passes and become a legislation then all the countries in the world have a huge problem to address, because whenever you’re giving away your strength and your power of making decisions to a private company this is

where this whole idea become starting feeling something more or less like a freak movie or a horror movie coming to reality, and it is becoming reality. My problem with that is that we haven’t still recognized the fact that we have entered an era with not always collaborative models on but on a way of full confrontation. There is no only the European Union reacting in such terms, for example we have the union of the countries of Northern America which regards Canada, Mexico and the Central America, on the other hand we have the same union regarding the southern part; the same thing happen in the African continent, also the same with Russian and Asian collaboration models, and the same is happening in the southern part of India and the countries around her. So it’s not about the European Union after all, it is about the era that we’ve entered. From my point of view this is a world confederation and this is what we actually should talk about, if we are able to collaborate and transfer knowledge from one federation to another or if we will end up providing only for our king.”

4. Is there any co relation between climate change and water here? “Everybody knows what will happen in the next 150 years and this is part of our research. Since 2010 we entered the next climate change that has nothing to do with global pollution; I’m referring to the next ice needs (¿?) and by understanding what this is all about we will understand that climate change is not only about human effort, its changes because earth have a way to do so. So its not a problem only about water it is a problem of how we will survive with all the things that will happen to us in the next 50 or 100 years.” “Greece will become a desert within 50 years so what about the Greeks being water immigrants, what about the Greeks becoming climate immigrants, what will happen then. And I’m referring also to Italy to Spain that are all in the same level; what will happen then it’s something that we really need to take into account now”. “We will have another huge problem that has to do with the ice melting because once a huge amount of drinkable water


Human rights, Water and Commons fell through salted water then this is where heavy water is created. Underneath heavy water there is no sunlight to go down and help the photosynthesis and the creation of new organizations that can actually support life; we are talking for a whole system being disorganized. (…) We are talking about a potential system of supporting life it is something that we really need to take into account when we are addressing things like public welfare and how the people can combine forces. Because the first environmental and climate immigrant came from the south and part of the world which means that if a tropical area becomes uninhabited then the problem will spread by fast. Greece is no more a wintersummer place to live, it became tropical and in 50 years from now it will become a desert we won’t be able to drink out of water.” 5. What are the main challenges in order to guarantee water as a Human Right and Common Good? “I think the main challenge is to try and collaborate with local communities and try to explain

to them about the public wealth and what they should do about it. For example in different areas around Greece there are small groups of people that went out to Germany because there is only one company in the European Union that it is able to verify that you own a stream. So, by going there and providing all the papers they managed to undertake the privatization of the stream for the benefits of the local community, in order for that stream not to become privatize by foreign company or a big organization. This news have to spread around in the country and not only in Greece, we need to spread it around the European Union or even to expand our overview to different countries around the world and try to explain to them that in a few years we will confront the fact that our life will be logistically balanced by the natural the natural wealth that we own. It’s not only about water, it is about air, it’s about fresh food it is about not having a company trying to make a logistic account on how much air you deserve or how much clean water you deserve. And this is too difficult to be understood

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under such circumstances, we need to overview it in a long term period.” 6. “Water is nowadays becoming a business issue”; what do you think about it? “I truly believe that business around water have to do with people trying to find a new way to rule over the public, because if you don’t have access to clear water and there is a company saying that “I will provide you with clear water” so, why not having this executive officer becoming the next Prime Minister of the country. It’s not a business, it’s policy making and when I am referring to policies I am referring to a strategic target and the tactics being followed for this target to be achieved. This is policy making, and if it refers also to business models, they will find a way. Nowadays it’s not about having power or having the money, it is a way of controlling big masses. Why not having the next government being a water company that will provide you with two bottles of clean water per day for you and your family? This is not business, this is a nightmare.”


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J avier Taks Cultural anthropologist at the university

of the republic (uruguay) - casa bertol brecht - unesco chair on water and culture Collected by Hall Dimitrios & Eleonora Vincenzetti

“10 years after the water referendum in Uruguay we can say that the human rights to potable water and sanitation has improved some how, there has been an extension services both in slums but also in rural areas. The main problem in that sense, is maybe in 10 years ago we were not so conscious about, is about the pollution of the source of water, that are use to produce potable water or drinkable water. Somehow we are socializing the cost of polluted sources, that its related to the new way in agriculture to doing livestock production but also how the

cities have developed in a very disordered and irregular way. So all the influences, as solids wastes, have enriched rivers and streams. I believe in a most important thing: we have lost trust in the national company. I believe that most of the population in this country are believing that there is a relationship between quality of water and some risk of increasing number of cancer cases. I believe this is not completely true, but it’s an idea that is circulating in our population. Talking

about

bottle

water,

I remember that during the campaign for the water referendum, this was a point of discussion and debate, but as social movement we decided not to focus in that particular way of privatization of water; because we were just going out from a huge economical and social crisis. Of course there are many workers who works in this plan, on this business of bottle water. At the same time in terms of scientific knowledge, nobody can defend the idea that we are depleting the water source because of this factories. 10 years or even a little more after that time, bottle water


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the good system. The second challenges is also to stop the privatization of water, mainly the rivers as a recipient of influence for agriculture and some industries.

continues to be a business assiduous, also because the income of household has improved in the last years. So that means that the amount of money you can spend on bottle water doesn’t make a difference on your budget. To check out, some of ideas coming from advertisement, as “the water bottle is better for your health”. Actually, there are some reports from nutritionists that say that mineral water can be a risk for your health, because if you don’t need salt, why would you drink salty water? So I think there are many

arguments just to reverse this increasing number of water bottle production but it will take time to convince the people. Those people who wants to sell water services or bottle water are in a business; but others use it for energy production and they need water as cheap as possible. So in this regard is also a business but in contradiction with the other part of enterprise. The main challenge for human rights to water and sanitation is to keep a budget to maintain current water networks, also we have to focus mainly on sanitation, as at least half of the population is not connected to a

The main issue about water in Uruguay is that for many years, for decades, we thought that water source were infinite and that we had plenty of water. Now we are realising that the way we developed our cities, the way that we developed agriculture, the way that we developed the capitalist mode production in Uruguay, actually, all this didn’t care about water. A different issue in relation to water in Uruguay concerns the sea. The Uruguay history was always looking to the land and not to the sea. We should starting to create capacity among scholars but also among state workers because we are ignorant about our sea resources and how the sea works and how to preserve it for the next generation.”


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P rof. Lalljee Head of department of agriculture

& food science at the mauritius university Collected by Pizzuti Julie & Karazarifi Lydia

Reflecting about water and all the subjects related to it, we need to consider agriculture, the sector with the highest level of water use. Moreover, because of all the consequences that climate change is carrying with it, how the is agricultural sector going to change? And what can be done to use the water in an efficient and responsible way, given the fact that this natural resource is going to be affected by climate change consequences as well? We talked about these issues and much more with Professor Bhanooduth Lalljee, Head of the Department of Agriculture and Food Science at the

University of Mauritius, expert in sustainable and climatesmart agriculture and land management, efficient water utilisation and government consultant for environmental policies. Prof. Lalljee gave us a very clear framework about the agricultural sector in Mauritius. The country used to be almost 100% agriculture based, with agricultural industry mainly dominated by sugar cane. 90% of the arable land on a total area of about 90.000 hectares was dedicated to sugar cane plantation with 121 factories. Just before Mauritius Independence in 1968 sugar

cane factories were already reduced at 23-24. In 1975 the country signed the LomĂŠ Convention (trade and aid agreement between the European Economic Community and 71 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries) and through that Mauritius had the possibility to export 500 tons of sugar to Europe at a guaranteed price. Thanks to that, the country was able to invest the money in other sectors of the economy. Later on, due to the phenomenon of globalisation, the World Trade Organisation decided to liberate the price of sugar. As a consequence, sugar price has fallen down by almost 36% and agriculture was no


Human rights, Water and Commons longer profitable for Mauritius. Talking through numbers, the area dedicated to sugar cane passed from 90.000 hectares to 15.000 hectares, from 33.000 small planters to 18.000 small planters. So the agricultural sector had to reinvent itself: in order to be more efficient, the sugar cane business has now only four big factories which produce also energy, so they are called “factories”; they passed from a raw-sugar export to a refined-sugar export, working on the refining and packing processes too now. Moreover, the sector has diversified from sugar to foodcrops making Mauritius self-sufficient for vegetables. Agriculture used to contribute almost 9 to 10% of the GDP, now agriculture contributes less than 3%. Despite this decrease, agriculture is still one of the biggest employer in the country. Climate change impacts are going to affect the sector even more than what has already happened. Too hot, too cold, too much rain or not enough rain can bring the sector down. That’s why we asked Prof. Lalljee which kind of tools could help agriculture to face

the consequences of climate change. As you can see on the video-interview, the Professor gave us a wide range of possibilities. A very interesting initiative has been presented by Prof. Lalljee: in collaboration with Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU), they are working on a project on crop insurance. This option allows farmers to have always a certain amount of income guaranteed both in bad and good times. This practice is not new for Mauritius: in 1962, after a terrible cyclone, the country decided to start the “Cyclones and Drought Insurance Board”, now called “Sugar Insurance Fund Board - SIFB”. This good practice has worked perfectly during the years and it has been replicated in other small islands being a very successful story. There is also an insurance for vegetables and food planters and it is called “Small Planters Development Fund”. This fund works in a very precise and localized way: government’s officers go around to check

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the damage that planters have to face and then certain kind of compensation is made up. The particular thing is that this compensation is not through finance but through seeds, compost, technologies, technical know-how. There is also a compensation plan for fisherman: “Bad Weather Allowance”. If the meteo declares that the weather today is bad it means that the fisherman can’t go out so the government give them a minimum salary for that day. Mauritius Government has also a good Strategy Plan for Sustainable Development and it implements several activities to promote Sustainable Agriculture. For example compost is given to the small planters for free in order to discourage the use of chemical fertilizers. Very good practices that let us hope that some problems can be fixed too: a better coordination of the projects implemented in the Maurice Ile Durable framework, a more efficient water distribution system with new pipes and less water losses, a wiser use of water by the population.


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C arlos Perez President of ecuarunari, movement of the indigenous people of

Ecuador

Collected by Kratka Martina & Nigro Luca

I’m Carlos Pérez, president of the Ecuador’s Kichwa Confederation (ECUARUNARI). For the last 22 years, maybe less - 20 years - I have been involved in the communitarian water systems, first locally, in Tarqui and Victoria del Portete and later we got out of the surrounding communities there and went to others and all that was for the autonomy of the communitarian systems, we didn’t want to depend on the state and even less on the private companies. Private because they would make a business with water, but neither we liked the water from the state, from the municipalities because there are the tariffs, the rights for water are not decided by the

community. This decides one, three, four people, the mayor and a few councillors. They decide the value, the price of the water. And with them there are no mingas (communitarian work) anymore... as an indigenous peasant cosmovision. The user of the water is being converted into a customer. And this doesn’t make sense anymore. The government of Lucio Gutiérrez back in 2002 tried to privatize water... there was very big march (demonstration) with more than 30 000 people in Cuenca and later we went to Quito. Later by the same date we finished the fights against the privatization of water, but another one appeared which

is equal or even worse - the extractivism, the megaminery. And it started trying to get into the water resources, not only for taking away the water, but Mother Earth put us to prove our intelligence, our wisdom... There are the water resources, the water lagoons, the river springs and under the water there is a mine of gold. So as I said she is testing our wisdom, what do we prefer, the water above or the gold that is down... There is no way to get both of the things at once. If for getting the gold, it’s needed to pump dry and poison the water then... the communities we have said “no, thank you” that the gold stays in the ground because the minerals carry out a function


Human rights, Water and Commons

there. And water gives us life. For gold we die, for water we live. Until 20 years ago I never thought that water would be marketed, commercialized, commodified in the plastic bottles that are made out of petroleum. And the most grave, selling one bottle for 50 cents and 4 bottles (making one litre) that cost 2 dollars. Where is the right to water? This is the irrationality of human being that has lost its hearth that is privileging the pocket. For this is the fight... Main issues First the lack of drinkable water,

second the lack of water in general, third the lack of a purification systems of water, of waste water, and perhaps the most worrying thing that I see recently is the water scarcity. Water runs out, drop by drop. Before we had plenty of water because there was plenty of forests. But now the forests are being destroyed. Each tree that we destroy represents one glass of water less. And all this unconstrained deforestation, all this destruction of the ground water, of the wetlands and the chaparras. All this is accelerating the global warming, an environmental crisis. And the main repercussions will be - I think - the lack of water and the

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lack of food that will take us very soon - I hope to be mistaken - to a world conflagration in the fight for water. There is a solemn declaration of a human right to water in the constitution but this is like the cackle of a hen that never puts the egg because now there was a great opportunity to incorporate in the new Water Law the human right to water but in practice that is that there is a minimal amount of water which would not have a price so all the people could have access to water. But this was not legislated. Secondly, this Water Law is permissive, this means that it allows mining and extractivist activities in the water sources... and this is very grave. There is not a national water fund that would allow to improve the water projects. Thirdly, the communitarian administration of water is being limited, controlled and regulated, it’s a meddling into the autonomous systems of water. And to top off the regulation of the Water Law in the article 46, 47, 51 and the article 6 of this regulation allows to snatch away the communitarian systems of


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water management by the municipalities and the regulation says that if the municipalities - or the parish councils or the provincial councils - don’t have financial or human resources, they could open a way to the private initiative! So what the constitution says is that the privatisation is not allowed... the privatisation of water is prohibited. In the regulation, in the Water law it says that yes, the privatisation is allowed. This attitude of a pharisee in the legal background can be understood only from the hypocrite position of the government that say one things and does another one, a government with the double standard that “shoots” against the multinationals and has an ecological discourse but in the practice, what it did write with the hands, deletes it with the gluteus. There was a law quite progressive, the law of the year 72, the Water Law, it was a law that lasted almost half a century before so there was a need for actualization. But the opportunity of life was lost when the Water law now approved - nothing revolutionary, not

consistent with the new requirements - that are required by Ecuadorian. It’s a law that doesn’t bear major changes between the previous one and this one. It’s a law that privileges technicism, bureaucracy... There are some statements that we don’t live in the declarations but in reality. And it was not make known, the indigenous movement, we presented 5 proposals and non of the 5 was taken into consideration. We asked the prohibition of mining activity in the sources of water, de-privatization of water in Ecuador because water is in private hands. 1% of private owners hold the 64% of the total water flow, it’s in the hands of the landowners, of the big farmers. The farms do not belong neither to the state, nor the communities, they are owned by private owners. The commercialization of water in bottles, these are private companies. There is Coca-Cola, there is Nestle, there is Tesalia, there are 250 companies that commercialize water as a big business! We asked for the creation of the national fond for rehabilitation of water system, for protection

of paramos (native vegetation in the mountains), the sources of water... nothing! We asked for the autonomy of the communitarian systems... nothing! We asked for creating of plurinational councils where not only state but also the communities together and horizontally can take decisions about water..... neither. They create a plurinational council which is there playing the roll of a janitor, which doesn’t represent... which doesn’t do anything. It’s just there “painted on the wall”. So you could notice there that the government made strong business with multinationals - Coca-cola and these companies. The CocaCola that is building the biggest bottled water company in Latin America in Machachi, and that is absorbing all the water systems and that will do a big business with life, and for this is necessary the resistance. Indigenous system

community

In the cosmovision and “cosmoliving” of the (indigenous) people, the key element is


Human rights, Water and Commons

the communitarianism, that everything belongs to everyone. And if the water belongs to everyone, we all have rights to water and we all have rights to participate. But the participation is not a theory, and it’s not only by the “unqualified labor” how the technocrats call mingas. A colonial and racist perspective. If it’s not by the minga of hands and arms, by the minga of our backs that we were carrying the materials, minga of the feet that we walked, it’s be the minga of the hearts and ideas it’s the minga the planning and taking decisions. In the communities, the divergence plays a role - not of a bureaucrat thinking about his compensation, it plays a role so hard and sensible, the role of

volunteering because nobody gains even 1 cent. Secondly, in the community there is not a wish to make a profit, business, of subjugation. But the wish of service, the wish of generosity and reciprocity. And the wish of generosity, of giving the bit that one has, but to offer, not to give the remaining, but give only what one has. And that’s why the maximal expression of reciprocity, which is one of the values of the indigenous philosophy, is to give and take. Relation with government There is a minimal relation with the municipal and provincial governments (GADS), the same as with the governments

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of Pachakutik (the indigenous political party), there are few of them who are democratic. With the national government the dialogues is broken, there is no communication at all! They want to impose, we choose to resist. The relation is broken. We don’t bet on the dialogue with the government. To go on our knees and they on foot, and they armed and we... without arms, no! Dialogue is the best mechanism that we value but a dialogue serious, honest, sincere and horizontal and there are not conditions for this in Ecuador.


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Good practices and future prospects by Greek experts

Collected by Renaud Fort Laura & Raphel Rajkumar Mary Dayana & Lopez Torres Andres Rodrigo & Runglall Omkreshsingh One of the most important suggested solutions refers to keep the water in public hands, it not only implies a state management, but a control by the citizens in all decisions concerning water’s use and management. For the citizens to be able to unite and have power of decision there must be a national alliance of the water movements and also interdependence with countries all over the world facing water issues. All citizens should be more informed about water’s issues in the country, discuss and be active to make water a human right and a common good. All people should be more conscious and careful with water’s use and consumption. Because the tub water has a good quality, people should stop buying bottle water in order

to stop that business. A new culture on water management should be acquired, implicating a responsible water management and the protection of water for humans and for the environment. A strong policy on water is needed, as well as implementing a system to reuse the wastewater. Collecting rainwater could be a solution for water scarcity. Nicolau Kostas K136 Movement “The only way to avoid privatization is to have the water in the hands of the citizens (…) the way to do that is to establish non profitable water cooperatives with all the citizens, in order to manage the EYATH Company” “We must develop our Panhelenic Alliance, that means

the alliance of all groups and movements, there are 23 of them that participates on the National Alliance for the Water” Margarita Laitsou Lawey - Water Warriors Movement “The water should be free or citizens should pay a symbolic amount” “People should be informed about the importance of the water because they take it for granted” “There are two main suggestions: first one that it needs to be public, improving the quality, the infrastructure, the prices; and the second suggestion is that people should manage their own water. It’s an ambitious plan” “Our mistake is that we buy bottle water; if we stop buying, it stops being a business”.


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Eleanna Ioannidou Member of the City Council and of the SOSTE TO NEPO movement “To avoid water privatization the water company EYATH should hire more permanent employees instead of hiring external workers” “We need to be more careful about how we handle the water, we need to consume less, we defiantly need to take the bottled water out of our lives” “We have to create networks all over the world (…) I think that the definition of interdependence is what we really need to keep in mind” Mario Chatzidamianos Social Economy Knowledge Broker “We should collaborate with local communities and try to explain to them about the public wealth and what they should do about it” “We should spread around the country the news about the only company in the EU located in Germany which it is able to verify that you own a stream. By going there and providing

all the papers we can manage to undertake the privatization of the stream for the benefits of the local community, in order for that stream not to become privatize by foreign company or a big organization.” Sokratis Famellos Chemical Engineer - Member of the Parliament SYRIZA Party “The main challenge for Greece is to reuse the wastewater because of water scarcity” “We need another culture of water management that’s why we propose the reuse of waste water and the responsible water management”. “We need a very strong policy on water economy, and on the protection of the water for the humans but also on the water for the environment” Maria Kadoglou Activist against goldmine in Halkidiki “The best defence that we have, as local people, against the aggression of mining companies is to develop other ways to survive”

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Giorgos Archontopoulos President Worker’s Union of EYATH “We must find that water unite us, and the unification of us is to stop the privatization” Maria Triantopoulou Journalist – Aegina “Aegina could be more self sufficient than it is now, it could be 70% self sufficient and 30% dependant” “We collect rain water” “I really hope that people would get together and form some sort of coherent group that could do something about our water, it only depend on us” Vangelis Galanopoulos WaterVolo - Water Movement of Volos and Pilios Resident’s “We organize with all the villagers and we take samples of the water source to do our own analysis in the laboratory. We want to know what comes out at the source. Then we go to another tank or to a house and we take another sample. Sometimes we get three samples. We pay £130 each year for four examination”


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FUTURE PROSPECTS BY GREEK WATER EXPERTS The EU international treats are a threat to the country sovereignty on water management. The TTIP agreement will make Greece unable to make decisions against a private company s arguments when suing the state for monetary investment loss. By controlling the water private companies will have the control over people’s basic needs. New legislation could ensure water as a basic human right and a common good. Because of climate change large areas of Greece will become a desert within 50 years. Nicolau Kostas K136 Movement “Regarding the European international level, the big challenge is to stop the transatlantic agreements because this could truly affect us” Eleanna Ioannidou Member of the City Council and of the SOSTE TO NEPO movement “The EU International treats will end up with the privatization of

things that are essential for life” “I think definitely the government should put water as a first priority of human rights” Mario Chatzidamianos Social Economy Knowledge Broker “There are new areas that are being inhabited and we need to create legislation in order to support such groups; as the centres where immigrants are held” “Under the UE collaboration model many countries will be forced to act like municipalities” “Countries will loose their strength and power by being unable to make decisions because of the TTIP agreement which regards the fact that whenever a private company thinks we shouldn’t go against her, the company will be able to sue the government or the country by providing evidence of the lost of money from not being able to privatize a public wealth” “Since 2010 we entered the next climate change era and Greece will become a desert within 50 years” “In a few years we will confront the fact that our life will be

logistically balanced by the natural wealth that we own” “By controlling the water, private companies will control big masses of people” Giorgos Archontopoulos President Worker’s Union of EYATH “Where ever IMF goes and help financially the first thing they demand is to have the water companies to be sold” “Our next target is that the Greek government becomes the first one in Europe to recognize the decision of the United Nations in 2010 that water is a basic human right. With this recognition we will create a big front against water privatization because the state must provide clear water and sanitation to every citizen all over the country” Maria Kadoglou Activist against goldmine in Halkidiki “El Dorado Gold is aggressively exploring other areas and they have already located several mining targets so in the near future the entire mountain will be like emmental cheese: full of holes”


3. Defining concepts and key words of the field research and campaign


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DEMOCRACY

Participatory democracy

DIRECT DEMOCRACY

Government in which a significant segment of the population has some kind of a voice, either by participating directly in the making of laws and regulations, or by voting for representatives.

A process emphasizing the broad participation of constituents in the direction and operation of political systems. Etymological roots of democracy that the people are in power and thus that all democracies are participatory. However, traditional representative democracy tends to limit citizen participation to voting, leaving actual governance to politicians. Participatory democracy strives to create opportunities for all members of a political group to make meaningful contributions to decisionmaking, and seeks to broaden the range of people who have access to such opportunities Related terms: . deliberative democracy . consensus democracy . anticipatory democracy . semi-direct democracy . non-partisan democracy

In the context of elections, refers to procedures which enable citizens to decide questions directly through their vote rather than indirectly through the election of representatives or other procedures. The referendum is an example of direct democracy; voters, not elected politicians, decide whether a proposal is accepted or rejected. Other examples include legislative recalls (a procedure for forcing members of parliament to re-contest their seats after a specified number of citizens petition for a new election) and citizen initiatives (a procedures for requiring the legislature to consider proposals for legislation once the proposal has the required number of supporters).


Human rights, Water and Commons GRASS-ROOTS DEMOCRACY Refers to political processes which are driven by groups of ordinary citizens, as opposed to larger organizations or wealthy individuals with concentrated vested interests in particular policies. Involves such things as frequent town meetings, consensus policy development, consensus decision-making and electoral reform, all of which is intended to make politicians more responsible to their constituents, at least, and (in the more literal Green conception of the idea) to living things and local habitats in general. Grass-roots democracy has been a guiding principle of green parties worldwide (it was one of the Four Pillars of the Green Party first formulated in Europe which eventually spread to the Green parties worldwide). The term has also been cited as a goal of conservative parties or movements, e.g., the Canadian Alliance. Reforms such as term limits, legislative recalls of representatives, the power of binding referendum and more frequent plebiscites are the most commonly stated goals of

such parties. On a technical level, it can be hard to differentiate the import of grass-roots democracy from that of related concepts such as direct democracy, semidirect democracy, mediated direct democracy, deliberative democracy and bioregional democracy, each of which also seeks to moderate power within a democratic framework.

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DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS The values of freedom, respect for human rights and the principle of holding periodic and genuine elections by universal suffrage are essential elements of democracy. In turn, democracy provides the natural environment for the protection and effective realization of human rights. These values are embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and further developed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which enshrines a host of political rights and civil liberties underpinning meaningful democracies. The link between democracy and human rights is captured in article 21(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.�


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PARTECIPATION ENGAGEMENT

&

CIVIC

Civic engagement means working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and nonpolitical processes. A morally and civically responsible individual recognizes himself or herself as a member of a larger social fabric and therefore considers social problems to be at least partly his or her own; such an individual is willing to see the moral and civic dimensions of issues, to make and justify informed moral and civic judgements, and to take action when appropriate. Civic participation and empowerment refer to a condition in which every citizen has the means to actively engage in the public sphere, including political processes. Under this condition, civil society is empowered, protected, and accountable;

COMMON GOOD the media are present, professional, and independent of government influence; equal access to information and freedom of expression is upheld; and political parties are able to form freely and are protected. Civil society, the media, and political parties can mitigate the potential for violent conflict by providing legitimate public forums and mechanisms for peaceful debate. Through these means, the population can also peacefully participate in politics, provide a check on the government, and influence government policy. Without opportunities for civic engagement, motivations for violence may be more likely to increase, as the population seeks to ensure their voice is heard and their needs are met. Civic participation and empowerment also require respect for fundamental civil and political rights of minority groups, including the perception that these rights can be freely exercised without fear of retribution.

Common good, that which benefits society as a whole, in contrast to the private good of individuals and sections of society. From the era of the ancient Greek city-states through contemporary political philosophy, the idea of the common good has pointed toward the possibility that certain goods, such as security and justice, can be achieved only through citizenship, collective action, and active participation in the public realm of politics and public service. In effect, the notion of the common good is a denial that society is and should be composed of atomized individuals living in isolation from one another. Instead, its proponents have asserted that people can and should live their lives as citizens deeply embedded in social relationships. Because the common good has been associated with the existence of an active, publicspirited citizenry, which has acknowledged the duty of performing public service


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HUMAN RIGHTS (whether politically or, in the case of the ancient Greek citystates, militarily), its relevance to contemporary politics has been called into question. In the modern era the emphasis has been placed on the maximization of the freedom of the individual, as consumer and property owner discovering that freedom in the private domain of liberalized markets rather than as citizen achieving the common good in the public domain. Nevertheless, for contemporary politics, the importance of the idea of the common good remains in that it identifies the possibility that politics can be about more than building an institutional framework for the narrow pursuit of individual selfinterest in the essentially private domain of liberalized markets. The common good points toward the way in which freedom, autonomy, and self-government can be realized through the collective action and active participation of individuals, not as atomized consumers but as active citizens in the public

domain of politics. It also affords the possibility that political participation can have an intrinsic value, in its own right, in addition to its instrumental value of securing the common good.

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination. International human rights law lays down the obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups. Since its establishment in 1945, one of the fundamental goals of the United Nations has been promoting and encouraging respect for human rights for all, as stipulated in the United Nations Charter.


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WATER AS A HUMAN RIGHT Access to water and water as a common good and as a human rights are two topical issues in the current political debate and they appear as fundamental for the near future. However, these topics are not recent nor come from nothing. The United Nations has long been addressing the global crisis caused by insufficient water supply to satisfy basic human needs and growing demands on the world’s water resources to meet human, commercial and agricultural needs. The United Nations Water Conference (1977), the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade (1981-1990), the International Conference on Water and the Environment (1992) and the Earth Summit (1992) — all focused on this vital resource. The Decade, in particular, helped some 1.3 billion people in developing countries gain access to safe drinking water. One of the most important recent milestones has been the recognition in July 2010 by the United Nations General

WATER SECURITY Assembly of the human right to water and sanitation. The Assembly recognized the right of every human being to have access to sufficient water for personal and domestic uses (between 50 and 100 litres of water per person per day), which must be safe, acceptable and affordable (water costs should not exceed 3 per cent of household income), and physically accessible (the water source has to be within 1,000 metres of the home and collection time should not exceed 30 minutes).

Water security is defined as the capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, and socio-economic development, for ensuring protection against water-borne pollution and water-related disasters, and for preserving ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability. (UN-Water, 2013)


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DRINKING WATER SOURCES:

TYPE OF SANITATION:

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WATER FROM MDGs TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS - MDGs: 2000-2015 In year 2000 all UN Member States committed to the UN Millennium Declaration and the achievement of its eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015, focusing on poverty reduction. Water was included in the seventh goal on ensuring environmental sustainability: Target 7.C “Have, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation”, corresponding to 88 % of world population for water, and 75 % for sanitation. Target 7.A “Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources” also included an indicator on water resources used. The target on drinking water was reached already in 2010, and in 2015, 90 % of the world’s

population had access to an improved drinking water source. The target on sanitation was one of the most lagging among all of the MDG targets, with 40 % of the population still using unimproved sanitation facilities in 2015. Discrimination and inequality in access to water and sanitation also remained by the end of the MDG period: in between and within countries, between rich and poor, and between rural and urban areas. POST-2015: A NEW ERA OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT FOR ALL With the MDG period coming to term in 2015, there was a need to define a successor, and the process of formulating goals, targets and indicators for the Post-2015 Development Agenda formally started with the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012. The Member State-led process was characterised by an precedented consultation and participation of people

around the world, including civil society, businesses and academia. The UN system played a facilitating role, supporting Member States with technical advice. In January 2013, a Member State-led Open Working Group of the United Nations General Assembly (OWG) was created to guide the process and to propose a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In July 2014, the OWG presented their proposal of 17 SDGs, which was formally adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2014 as the main basis for integrating sustainable development goals into the Post2015 Development Agenda. During 2015 there were monthly intergovernmental negotiations on the SDG agenda and its adoption and implementation, culminating at the UN Summit in September in New York, where Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This ambitious “plan of action for people,


Human rights, Water and Commons planet and prosperity” aims at nothing less than “transforming our world”. It expands the MDG focus on poverty reduction to now cover all aspects of sustainable development in all countries of the world, calling for peace and partnership, and the need to leave no one behind. TOWARDS A WATER GOAL

DEDICATED

In 2013, to identify the future course of water, UN-Water undertook a consultation process on the Post-2015 agenda, resulting in the report “A Post-2015 Global Goal for Water – Synthesis of key findings and recommendations from UNWater”. The report promotes a holistic water and sanitation goal with targets on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene; water resources; water governance; water-related disasters; and wastewater pollution and water quality. Through the UN interagency Technical Support Team (TST), the report fed into the OWG process, to which UNWater also provided continuous support during 2014. Much of the UN-Water recommendations are captured in SDG 6 of the

2030 Agenda, aiming to ensure “availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. WATER IN THE 2030 AGENDA The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes a dedicated goal on water and sanitation (SDG 6) that sets out to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” SDG 6 expands the MDG focus on drinking water and sanitation to now cover the entire water cycle, including the management of water, wastewater and ecosystem resources. With water at the very core of sustainable development, SDG 6 does not only have strong linkages to all of the other SDGs, it also underpins them; meeting SDG 6 would go a long way towards achieving much of the 2030 Agenda. SDG 6 contains six targets on outcomes across the entire water cycle, and two targets on the means of implementing the outcome targets. In addition, water-related issues are mentioned in many other

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goals across the 2030 Agenda, including target 11.5 on waterrelated disasters. Targets 6.1 and 6.2 build on the MDG targets on drinking water and basic sanitation, providing continuity while expanding their scope and refining definitions. Targets 6.3 to 6.6 address the broader water context that was not explicitly included in the MDG framework, but whose importance was acknowledged at the Rio+20 Conference, such as water quality and wastewater management, water scarcity and water-use efficiency, integrated water resources management, and the protection and restoration of water-related ecosystems. Targets 6.a and 6.b acknowledge the importance of an enabling environment, addressing the means of implementation and aiming for international cooperation, capacity-building and the participation of local communities in water and sanitation management. Sources: UN term; UN Global issues, UN Water, UNDP; WHO/UNICEF JMP; NY Times; Encyclopedia Britannica


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Conclusion

After almost a year of activities involving 16 participants from 4 different continents, “Grassroot Youth Democracy” project enabled the enlargement of opportunities, capacities and knowledge, and most of all it fostered the creation of relationships, exchanges and activation among citizens, activists and also between organisations. Going through the participation in an introductory seminar in Uruguay and meeting up again one month later in Rome, participants split into teams of two and four people to implement a media campaign and a field research for two months. Even though the structure, methodology, aims and objectives of their work had been previously defined

and agreed all together, all participants went though several challenges and not always easy ones. Working inside an international team with members coming from different geographies isn’t as simple as it might seem. Working in a foreign country where language, habits, rhythm of life and culture are significantly different isn’t also as easy and spontaneous to embrace as one would like. Still, these rich interpersonal and full immersion experiences were the element that triggered participants motivation to join this adventure. The real challenge was probably more inside the tight time-schedule to respect. Searching for appropriate experts and people to meet and interview without

your personal network to support you; collecting information to make an overview of a specific issues aiming to produce shareable material to be uploaded on the web; jumping from the writing of an article to planning the next moves and interviews to do; closing the edition of a video to sort and order tons of material collected. Surely the participants will remember these two challenging months where they had to get things organised, prioritized and structured inside their international teams. Another issue and challenge to consider and that the participants overcame brilliantly was the fact that not all of them had a real knowledge of the thematic chosen for the campaign and


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research. In that sense tasks and aims of all the challenges became more stimulating and complex. Ambitious it was and like this projects must be, otherwise what is the point? Looking back to all the work done, to the activities and to the strong involvement of the participants and partner organisation, we can clearly agree that the outcomes were impressive and the aim of the project reached. Last but not least, the focus on the thematic chosen, water as a human right and common good, has given the opportunity to all the actors of the project to deepen the issues connected to it. But above all it allowed participants to get to meet and know other organisations, local communities, social movements, activists and citizens that at each corner of mother earth are fully committed to moving walls and fighting to conquer new rights for everybody. Participants met and shared elevating, involving and passionate experiences of local citizens active to defend

their land and resources, their traditions and ancestors, their believes and Political vision, all sharing a community vision of the issue, when fighting for your rights is fighting for all our rights. Thanks to the participants’ work we can affirm that fighting and promoting common goods was and still is an involving mobilisation that concerns us all, as interconnections between local issues and global challenges are increasing day by day. Activism and stories like the mobilisation of indigenous communities in Ecuador fighting to protect the Pachamama resources; to local activists in Rome dressed as the super hero Mario Bros to re-establish water in houses where the supply was cut; or also self-organised local committees in Greece that organised a massive referendum in Thessaloniki to avoid the privatisation of the water management... This publication just presents partly and shortly inspiring and enriching local experiences, mobilisations and active communities the project has

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crossed its path with, but we believe and hope that what was reached, learned, produced, discovered and shared can be in return an opportunity to get more curious, maybe more involved or simply more aware of what is going in our communities, local and global, using human rights and democracy as opportunities and peaceful weapons.


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Bibliography Anzera G., Marniga B. (2003) Geopolitica dell’acqua. Gli scenari internazionali e il caso del Medio Oriente, Milano, Guerini. Barlow M. (2008) The human right to water, an idea whose time has come, in Uribe, 2008, pp. 167-177 Bakker K. (2010) Privatizing water: governance failure and the world’s urban water crises, London, Cornell University Press, Ithaca. Bakker K. (2011) Commons versus Commodities: Debating the Human Right to Water, in Loftus, Farhana, pp.19-44. Barreda andrés (2006) Voces del agua. Privatización o gestión colectiva: Respuestas a la crisis capitalista del agua. Testimonios, esperiencias y rebeliones. México. Casifop-Itaca. Bersani M. (2011) Come abbiamo vinto il referendum, Roma, Edizioni Alegre. Brans E.H.P., de Haan E.J., Nollkaemper A. (ed.) (1997) The scarcity of water. Emerging legal and policy responses, London-Den Haag-Boston, Kluwe International. Brennan, B., Hoedeman, O., Terhorst, P. and Kishimoto, S. (2005) Reclaiming public water: Achievements, struggles, visions from around the world. Amsterdam: TNI. Cacciari P. (2011) La società dei beni comuni, Roma, Ediesse. Ceceña, Ana Esther (2004) La guerra por el agua y por la vida. Cochabamba: una experiencia deconstrucción comunitaria frente al neoliberalismo y al banco mundial, Coordinadora deDefensa del Agua y de la Vida, Cochabamba. Coopey R., Tvedt T. (2006) A History of Water, vol. 2, I.B. TAURIS, London-New York. Dominguez, Ana (2003) La gestion sustentable del agua en Uruguay, Montevideo: REDESAT. Dubreil C. (2006) The Right to Water: from Conception to implementation, Marseille, WWC. Fischer D. (2009) The Law and Governance of Water Resources, Cheltenham (UK)– Northampton (Ma.), Edward Elgar.


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Giacomo M. (2003) Passaggio ad occidente:Filosofia e globalizzazione Torino, Bollati Bolinghieri. Grover V. I. (2006) Water: global common and global problems, Science Publ., Enfield (N.H). Gunnoo V. (2003) Sustainable Water Resources Management in Mauritius. B. Eng.Civil Engineering Thesis, University of Mauritius, Réduit, Mauritius Hardin G. (1968) The tragedy of the commons, in “Science” 162 Iglesias, Veronica and Javier Taks (eds.) (2007) Acufero Guaranì, por una gestion participativa, Montevideo: CasaBertolt Brecht. India Infrastructure Report (IIR) (2011) Water: Policy and Performance for Sustainable Development, New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Jahajeeah D. (2004) Long Term Water Resources Planning for the island of Mauritius, M.Sc. Thesis , Unesco-IHE Institute for Water education, Delft Kallis, G. (2006) Participatory methods for water resources planning, Environment and Planning‘, Government and Policy, vol. 24, pp. 215-234. Lacoste Y. (2003) Geopolitica dell’acqua, Milano, Rizzoli. Loftus A., Farhana S. (2011) The Right to Water: Politics, Governance and Social Struggles, London, Routledge. McDonald, D.A. and Ruiters, G.R. (Eds) (2012) Alternatives to privatization: Public options for essential services in the global South. New York: Routledge Mimikou, M.A. (2005) Water resources in Greece: Present and future‘, Global NEST Journal, vol. 7, no. 3, pp 313-322. Molinari E., Jampaglia C. (2010) Salvare l’acqua, Torino, Feltrinelli. Olivera, Oscar, (2006) Los pilares de una nueva gestión pública delagua: transparencia, eficacia, participación y justicia social en Lascanillas abiertas de América Latina II, Grosse, Santos, Taks & Thimmel (comps.), Casa Bertolt Brecht, Montevideo. Ostrom E. (2006) Governare i beni collettivi, Venezia, Marsilio. Petrella R. (2001) Il manifesto dell’acqua. Il diritto alla vita per tutti, Torino, Ed. Gruppo Abele. Prieto, Andrès (2006) Uruguay, cambios en una sociedad amiga de lo pùblico, in Daniel Chavez

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(ed.) Màs allà del mercado. El futuro de los servicios publicos, Amsterdam:Transnational Institute. Ribeiro, Silvia (2005) Las caras de la privatización del agua, en La Jornada, México, 30 de abrilde. Robertson D. (1997) A dictionary of Human Rights, London, Europa Publications. Rodotà S. (2013) Il diritto di avere diritti, Roma, Laterza. Salomon S. (2010 ) Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization, Harper Sánchez Gómez, Luis & Terhorst, Philipp, (2006) Cochabamba,Bolivia: Asociaciones Públicas y colectivas tras la guerra del agua, enBalanyá, B., Brennan, B., Hoedeman, O., Kishimoto, S. & Terhorst,P., Por un modelo público de agua, (pp. 131-139), TNI-CEO (Transnational Institute-Corporate Europe Observatory), El ViejoTopo, Barcelona. Santos, Carlos and Sebastiàn Valdomir (2006) Indicadores del acceso al agua y el saneamiento, in Lilian Celiberti(ed.) Agua. Construcciòn social de un derecho humano, Montevideo: PIDHDD. Santos, Carlos, Sebastiàn Valdomir, Verònica Iglesias and Daniel Renfrew (eds.) (2006) Aguas en movimiento. La resistencia a la privatizaciòn del agua en Uruguay, Montevideo: Ediciones de la Canilla. Shiva V. (2003) Le guerre dell’acqua, Milano , Feltrinelli. Thill G., Ezin J-P. (2002) L’Eau.Patrimoine mondial commun, Prelude n. 6. Presses Universitaires de Namur (UNITWIN, PRELUDE). TNI–CEO (Transnational Institute, Corporate Europe Observatory), (2005) Reclaiming Public Water. Achievments, struggles and visions from around the world, TNI–CEO, Amsterdam. Valdomir, Sebastián, (2003) Las vías de rechazo a las privatizaciones. Un repaso a los mecanismosde democracia directa en la década de los ‘90 en Repensar el estado, REDES–AT, Uruguay Sustentable, Casa Bertolt Brecht, Montevideo. Zibechi, Raúl (2003) Los movimientos sociales latinoamericanos: tendencias y desafíos en Revistadel Observatorio Social de América Latina (OSAL), Buenos Aires, Enero. World Bank (2012) India: Improving Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Services, World Bank Publishing.


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Webography K136 Initiative 136 is a citizens’ initiative that opposes the privatization of the Water and Sanitation Company in Thessaloniki and proposes its social management through local-level cooperatives. www.136.gr/article/what-initiative-136 ACQUA BENE COMUNE Italian partner of the project. The “Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l’Acqua”, born in 2006, unifies local comities, social and union organisations and citizens that together campaign for water as common good. www.acquabenecomune.org/ ABC NAPOLI Unique public firm in Italy to manage water distribution. http://www.arin.na.it/ AQUASTAT AQUASTAT is FAO’s UN agency global water information system, developed by the Land and Water Division. It is the most quoted source on global water statistics. http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/main/index.stm ASSOCIATION POUR LE CONTRAT MONDIAL DE L’EAU (ACME) ACME campaigns against privatisation and for the human right to water. www.acme-eau.com (in French) ANTI-PRIVATISATION FORUM Campaigns against water and electricity privatisation in South Africa. www.apf.org.za BLUE PLANET PROJECT Website on the “Treaty Initiative to Share and Protect and related activities, hosted by the Council of Canadians. www.blueplanetproject.net/english/resources

the

Global

Water

Commons”


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CITIZENS NETWORK ON ESSENTIAL SERVICES Helping citizens attain universal water, healthcare, education and electricity services. www.servicesforall.org COMUNE CORCHIANO Partner of the project, the municipality of Corchiano is member of network Comuni Virtuosi www.comune.corchiano.vt.it/ CORPORATE EUROPE OBSERVATORY (CEO) Info briefs on the European Union’s push for water privatisation. www.corporateeurope.org/water/infobriefs.htm EUROPEAN FEDERATION OF PUBLIC SERVICE UNIONS www.epsu.org EUROPEAN WATER MOVEMENT Network of European movements, social organizations, committees, unions whose goal is to reinforce the recognition of water as a commons and as a fundamental universal right. http://europeanwater.org/ FUNDACION PROYECTO ECOLOGICO CHIRIBOGA Project partner from Ecuador. Non profit organization established in Quito, Ecuador in 1999. Mainly in two aspects 1/ Environmental projects such as reforestation, protecting a private reserve located in Chiriboga town, 2/ Social projects. https://chiribogaecuador.wordpress.com/ Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation The JMP strategy was formulated by WHO and UNICEF, two UN agencies, to accelerate progress towards universal sustainable access to safe water and basic sanitation. Much material, maps, data, reports are available online. www.wssinfo.org/ JUBILEE SOUTH A network of jubilee and debt campaigns, communities, NGOs and political formations. www.jubileesouth.org

social

movements,

people’s

organizations,


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MEDITERRANEAN SOS Network ALLIANCE FOR WATER CAMPAIGN An alliance of environmental NGO Mediterranean SOS, the Greek Green Cities network and the Heinrich BöllStiftung Greece for sustainable water management. www.medsos.gr/medsos/2008-08-12-07-11-15/2008-08-27-11-57-28/water-alliance.html OSE - Obras Sanitarias del Estado Is the state-owned Uruguayan Water Utilities company. http://www.ose.com.uy/ PUBLIC CITIZEN Campaigning to keep water as a public trust. www.citizen.org/cmep/water PUBLIC SERVICES INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH UNIT For a wealth of research on water privatisation and public water www.psiru.org/reportsindex.asp REDES Friends of the Earth Uruguay. www.redes.org.uy RETOS AL SUR Project partner from Uruguay. http://www.retosalsur.org RIGHT2WATER First ICE (European Citizens’ Initiative) campaign, that collected almost 2 millions signatures to support water as a human right in EU. www.right2water.eu SAGUAPAC Website of the water co-operative of Santa Cruz, Bolivia. www.saguapac.com.bo (In Spanish)


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SAVE THE WATER: IT’S A PUBLIC GOOD A grassroots movement to guarantee the public character of water services www.sostetonero.blogspot.gr/2014/02/sos_28.html SAVEGREEKWATER Citizens initiative against privatization of water utilities and water distribution services www.savegreekwater.org SCI INDIA Project partner from India. SCI India is a non for profit/non governmental organisation based in India. It’s the Indian branche of Service Civil International, an international voluntary movement that aims to promote peace, solidarity and intercultural understanding through organising international volunteering projects, campaigns, trainings and seminars. www.sci-india.org.in SCI ITALIA Servizio Civile Internazionale. SCI Italy is a non for profit/non governmental organisation based in Rome. It’s the Italian branche of Service Civil International, an international voluntary movement that aims to promote peace, solidarity and intercultural understanding through organising international volunteering projects, campaigns, trainings and seminars. www.sci-italia.it SCI-Hellas Kinisi Ethelonton Service Civil International-Hellas Project partner from Greece. SCI-Hellas is a non for profit/non governmental organisation based in Athens. It’s the Greek branch of Service Civil International, an international voluntary movement that aims to promote peace, solidarity and intercultural understanding through organising international volunteering projects, campaigns, trainings and seminars. http://www.sci.gr SEMAPA Website of the water utility of Cochabamba, Bolivia. www.semapa.com.bo (In Spanish)


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TRANSNATIONAL INSTITUTE INITIATIVE (TNI) For more on TNI’s Water Justice project www.tni.org/water-docs/water.htm UNDP United Nations Development Programme agency, following the implementation of the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will guide policy and funding for the next 15 years. Goal 6 focuses on “Clean water and sanitation” http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/ UN-WATER UN-Water is the United Nations inter-agency coordination mechanism for all freshwater related issues, including sanitation. Many publication and statistics are available online. www.unwater.org/ WATER REMUNICIPALISATION TRACKER Monitor worldwide remunicipalisation experiences, an initiative from Corporate Europe Observatory and Transnational Institute initiative. http://www.remunicipalisation.org/ WATERVOLO Citizens initiative in the city of Volos and Pelion Mountain to protect the natural water resources and to ensure the quality of water, threatened by the chlorination procedures done by the Municipality. watervolo.blogspot.gr/ WATERWARRIORS Group formed by students and young people, initiative against privatization of water utilities and water distribution services in Thessaloniki. www.facebook.com/warriorswater/?fref=ts


Human rights, Water and Commons

A sincere THANK YOU to all the participants of the project, the partners organisations members, to the people interviewed, and to all those who made this project possible

Alessandro Eusebi, Andrea Caselli, Andrea Cocco, Abinash Ganesh, Andres Rodrigo Lopez Torres, Andromachi Karoni, Anna Mazzone, Benedetta Ruffini, Beppe Taviani, Bhanooduth Lalljee, Carlos Eugenio Espinosa Minda, Carlos Perez, Carmen Sosa, Cecilia Maria Laffitte Ramos, Claudia Albanesi, Daniel Jonathan Mafla Tamayo, Dario Orellana, Devika Thilak, Dimitrios Hall, Eduardo Davila, Eleanna Ioannidou, Emilio Molinari, Emma Fierro, Erica Rodari, Federica Napolitano, Fulvio Vescia, Giorgios Archontopoulos, Giuliana Vaca, Giuliana Vaca Mueses, Javier Taks, Jessica Narváez Mejía, Jorge Alsina, José DeCoux, Julie Pizzuti, Laura Basta, Laura Boschetto, Laura Maria Renaud Fort, Lisa Gelli, Luciana Cervati, Lucio Gentili, Luis Aubriot, Lydia Karazarifi, Marco Bersani, Marek Rembowski, Margarita Laitsou, Maria Kadoglou, Maria Selva Ortiz, Maria Triantopoulou, Mariangela Rosolen, Marianna Stori, Mario Chatzidamianos, Martina Kratka, Mary Dayana Raphel Rajkumar, Maurizio Montalto, Meelan Thondoo, Mohamad Reaz Ali Nundoosing, MR. Pyaneadee, Nicolau Kostas, Omkreshsingh Runglall, Oscar Olivera, Pablo Pinto, Panagiota Arvaniti, Paolo Carsetti, Polibio Perez, Reaz Nundoosing Renoo Ittoo, Roberto Casaccia, Sara Taviani, Satoko Kishimoto, Simona Savini, Sokratis Famellos, Stella Maria Scordo, Stephanie Westbrook, Valerio Balzametti, Vangelis Galanopoulos, Victor Bacchetta, Virginia Mueses Endara, William Andagoya.

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SCI ITALIA via Cruto 43, 00146 Rome, Italy | Tel: 065580644 workcamps@sci-italia.it | http://www.sci-italia.it ACQUA BENE COMUNE Via S. Ambrogio n.4, 00186 Rome, Italy | Tel: 066832638 - 0668217934 - 3295315090 http://www.acquabenecomune.org/ SCI-HELLAS, KINISI ETHELONTON SERVICE CIVIL INTERNATIONAL Gr. Afxentiou 166,157 72, Zografos, Attika, Greece | Tel: +30 210 3823635, Fax: +30 210 3823636 info@sci.gr | http://www.sci.gr SERVICE VOLONTAIRE INTERNATIONAL (SVI) Peace Drive, Avenue Samy, Moka, Republic of Mauritius Tel +230 433 7287 svimauritius@gmail.com SCI INDIA 204-B, Pushkar, Bhabola, opp.vijay sales, Vasai W, Thane-401207 scindia@gmail.com | www.sci-india.org.in FUNDACION PROYECTO ECOLOGICO CHIRIBOGA Puruha Oe 2-781 y Epiclachima | Tel: (+593) 2 2660-828 / (+593) 2 2652-128 ecoproye@andinanet.net | https://chiribogaecuador.wordpress.com/ RETOS AL SUR Pèrez Castellano, 1422 - Ciudad Vieja, Montevideo, Uruguay Tel: (+598) 2 9168353/ +598 98 850577 http://www.retosalsur.org COMUNE CORCHIANO Corchiano, Viterbo, Italy http://www.comune.corchiano.vt.it/


Water has been spotted as a paradigm of a natural common good, often subject to exploitation, but at the same time access to water is a basic human right to be guaranteed to all citizens with no discriminations. Activism and stories like the mobilisation of indigenous communities in Ecuador fighting to protect the Pachamama resources; to local activists in Rome dressed as the super hero Mario Bros to re-establish water in houses where the supply was cut; or also selforganised local committees in Greece that organised a massive referendum in Thessaloniki to avoid the privatisation of the water management. The research and some in-depth analyses outlined a series of examples of water safeguard activation at different levels, from civil society to institutions, succeeding in producing new participative institutions, capable of managing a good like water and in addition to indicate new possible models of social structures.

www.rights4water.net

Grassroot Youth Democracy Pubblication  

The final publication of a global action aimed at fostering transnational capacity building concerning human rights and democracy.

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