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Unions from 30 countries will gather in Marseille, France to express loud and clear their concerns about water policies. The occasion is the triennial World Water Forum –WWF6, a corporate tradeshow which masquerades as a global policy arena. The water forum was the brainchild of the French multinational corporations Veolia and Suez, in cahoots with the World Bank, created back when privatisation was the only solution for getting water to poor people in developing countries. Now, the gloss is off the rose, and only the sharp spines are left.
The PSI messages at WWF6 include:
The WWF6 will likely try to take credit for the news that the Millennium Development Goal for access to water has been reached three years early. No doubt, the privateers and their ideological allies will claim credit for reaching the MDGs. Yet, research from PSIRU shows that developing countries have finally ignored World Bank pressure to use market actors and dynamics, and have extended new public water services to more than 1.2 billion people in the past 20 years.
The trade unions will also actively participate in the alternative peoples water forum, known as FAME. The FAME, which has no corporate sponsors, will propose policies and actions to strengthen public services and ensure equitable access to water and sanitation for all. Trade unions and civil society organisations have been working for the past year on a broad agenda for the sector.