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Last Updated:[23-03-2009 07:14:54 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

World Water Forum Concludes without Committing Water as a Human Right

tradenews A week long fifth World Water Forum (WWF) has ended even this time around without giving water the status of ‘basic human right’ to diplomatically avoid the implications of such a statement. Nonetheless, around 25,000 participants from 150 countries including heads of states, ministers, parliamentarians and corporate bosses reached at a non-binding agreement to co-operate in facing the global challenges posed by fresh water scarcity.

The Forum emphasised on the need for providing safe and clean water terming it as a basic need for every inhabitant of the planet. On the contrary, an Alternative Water Forum that concluded on the same day as that of the WWF in the same city of Istanbul on Sunday criticized the Forum for encouraging privatization and commoditization of water. The WWF is held once in three years, and the curtains were down for the forum coinciding with the World Water Day on March 22.

The WWF is organized by the World Water Council, allegedly funded by two French water business powerhouses. Many countries from Latin America, Africa and Asia are understood to have expressed strong disagreement for not elevating water as a basic human right. Majority was of the opinion that the Forum should be under the UN flag, and the business should be conducted in a transparent and democratic manner than demoting it to a water trade show.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 880mn are deprived of potable water and 2.5bn do not have access to proper sanitation. And it is estimated by 2030, the figures for number of people deprived of drinking water alone will rise to 3.9bn. It should be recalled, these projections are excluding the adverse effects of climate change.

Ahead of the WWF, the UN had released a report that included warning on the global water crisis becoming a triggering factor for social unrest and political instability in several countries. Analysts felt the Forum should be just regarded has a platform to start discussion on the global water crisis, and the non-binding recommendations is likely to remain in paper until the WWF comes under the umbrella of any global decision making body.

By Jose Roy

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