After the assault on water as a “commons”, hope is reborn in Italy and more specifically in the region of Lazio. With a breakthrough law, whose first draft was prepared by the citizens themselves, it is more than evident that the legislative “wisdom” is not endemic only to expensive law firms who act as consultants of big multinational corporations. Despite its positivity this piece of news reminds us the distance that we need to cover to go from today’s state of affairs to the adoption of any democratic legislative procedure in our country.Congratulations and respect are dued to the citizens of Lazio.
Last week, the regional government of Lazio (the Italian region which includes Rome, for a total of 5.7 million inhabitants) has approved a regional law that:
- declares water as a common good and recognizes the human right to water;
- declares that water is a service of public interest, thus not subject to compulsory competitive tendering;
- provides for water to be managed on a not-for-profit basis;
- provides for communes to introduce public participation in decision making on water management;
- provides for the establishment of a regional fund to help communes remunicipalise their water services;
- provides for the establishment of a regional fund to support not-for-profit partnerships on a solidarity-basis (including public-public partnerships) to extend access to water in developing countries.
The regional law has been approved as a result of sustained social mobilization (indeed, this is a case of popular legislation i.e. the initial text was promoted by a popular petition signed by 37,000 citizens and 40 communes; the final text is expected to be approved by the regional government of Lazio sometimes next week, but the principles above should remain)