Letter to world bank to ambandon promotion of water privatization

Letter to world bank to ambandon promotion of water privatization
On the initiative of the American organization Corporate Accountability International, actors, scientists and organizations from around the world sent a letter to the president of the World Bank to abandon the policies encouraging privatization in the water sector and all relative funding. The letter cosigns among others Anne LeStrat, Paris deputy mayor, Director of Eau de Paris and president of the Organization Aqua Publica Europea, which in a few days will be visiting our country to talk about the experience of France that led to remunicipalization of  water in Paris, homeland of water multinationals, a move that paved the way for remunicipalizations in other French cities. The letter describes how  different could be the results of people’s access to water worldwide if the World Bank simply abandoned the failed policy of promoting speculative logic in the water sector and sustained investment to public and municipal services across the globe in order to help improve their infrastructure.

The letter with the signatures:

(relevant article on reuters)

Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President

World Bank Group

1818 H Street NW

Washington, DC, 20433, USA

Dear President Kim:

We come to you from a diverse range of sectors and expertise, united in our concerns around poverty, human rights and development. We share a conviction that water, as a common good and local resource, must be governed democratically according to the needs and objectives of each community. And we wish to bring to your attention our deep misgivings about the World Bank’s continuing promotion of corporate and for-profit water systems across the globe.

The U.N., including the World Bank, acknowledged nearly a decade ago that the right to water is the precursor for all other human rights. If the economic gains of the 21st century are to be meaningfully shared with those most in need, access to clean water must be available to all, not only those who can pay. The tragic reality is that far too many people (nearly one in nine) still lack access to this essential resource. As a health professional, we know that you are aware of the enormous, adverse health effects and the fact that water access remains a critical barrier to sustainable development and economic prosperity. For example, according to the World Bank’s own recent research, women in sub-Saharan Africa spend 40 billion hours each year collecting water, equivalent to a year’s labor by the entire French workforce. The World Bank has a key role to play in addressing this staggering humanitarian crisis—not only through direct funding, but also through its research and a dvisory work that often defines best practices and directs sector-wide funding priorities. However, as laid out in the attached report, “Shutting the Spigot on Private Water,” the World Bank has promoted private sector and for-profit management to address the problem of water access for more than two decades—despite its continued failures.

By their own admission, water corporations are not in the business of funding long-term, sustainable infrastructure to deliver water to those in need. So today, the private sector, supported by the World Bank, focuses on achieving so-called “management efficiencies.” Such an approach elides the desperate need for capital investments, and amounts to an emphasis on profitability and economic efficiency that often leads to service shutoffs, rate hikes that can make water unaffordable for many, job layoffs and other results detrimental to development and human rights objectives. Why is the World Bank determinedly promoting this tack when investment solutions are most needed?

Further, we hope to discuss with you the possibilities for terminating the World Bank Group’s direct investments in water corporations. In particular, the IFC’s equity (ownership) stakes in water corporations generate a conflict of interest and raise serious concerns about the World Bank Group’s ability to advise governments impartially. We hope to explore with you other approaches to guaranteeing universal access to water.

Indeed, we believe that both public and private actors have roles in achieving water-related development. But, realization of water-related development goals requires strong public oversight and good regulation, not the delegation of key governance functions to the private sector. The surest way to safeguard our water resources for the public interest is to keep the control and design of systems in public hands.

Imagine the enormous good that can be realized if the World Bank Group were to turn its considerable influence towards better supporting and promoting publicly accountable, democratic, participatory and transparent public water systems in borrower countries. This shift would lay the groundwork for alleviating poverty, promoting sustainable development and real izing human rights.

To that end, we call on the World Bank Group to:

• End all support for private water, beginning by the IFC divesting from all equity positions in water corporations.

• Revitalize World Bank funding for public and community water systems, especially for crucial infrastructure investments.

• Stop promoting private water through research, public relations, advocacy and direct advisory services aimed at marketing privatization to borrower governments and populations.

Your leadership on this issue is of the utmost importance. We look forward to discussing with you concrete steps for the World Bank to take to help realize a world with universal access to water.


The letter  is signed by the following:

  • Robert Goodland, Fellow at World Resources Institute, formerly World Bank Group’s Senior Environmental Advisor from 1978-2001 and former World Bank Inspection Panel Staff
  • Michael Goldman, Associate Professor and McKnight Presidential Fellow, Dept. of Sociology,University of Minnesota
  • Elliott D. Sclar, Professor of Urban Planning,School of International and Public Affairs,Columbia University
  • Nancy Alexander, Program Director Economic Governance, Heinrich Böll Foundation, North America
  • Juan Camilo Mira, Coordinador de la Unidad Técnica, Ecofondo, Colombia
  • David Boys, Public Services International & European Public Services Union
  • Adam C. Levine, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine; Brown University Alpert Medical School; Associate Physician, Division of Global Health Equity; Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • Mildred Warner, Professor, City & Regional Planning, Cornell University
  • John Harrington, President and CEO of Harrington Investments, Inc., Manager of Community Commercial Ventures, LLC
  • David Hall, Director, Public Services International Research Unit, University of Greenwich
  • Anne LeStrat, Aqua Publica Europa, Eau de Paris* (Deputy Mayor of Paris)
  • Ha-Joon Chang, Economist & Author, Reader at Cambridge University, UK
  • Christiane Franck, General Manager of Vivaqua,Belgium
  • Kathleen Hamill, Adjunct Assistant Professor,Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Stephen Gasteyer, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan, Department of Sociology
  • Martin Karcher, World Bank Alumni, former Division Chief for Population and Human Resources, South Asia Region for the World Bank
  • David McDonald, Professor and Head, Department of Global Development Studies, Queens University,Canada
  • Ben Cohen, Co-Founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
  • Heidi Behforouz,MD, (Executive/Medical Director of the PACT Project, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, and Internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s (BWH) Jen Center for Primary Care)
  • Chad Dobson, Executive Director, Bank Information Center
  • Gordan McGranahan, Principal Researcher, Human Settlements, IIED*
  • Paul D. Mangeniello, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
  • John R. Butterly, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and of The Dartmouth Institute; Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
  • Jeff Furman, Chairman of the Board, Ben & Jerry’s Mae Buenaventura, Jubilee South Asia Pacific on Debt and Development (JSAPMDD)
  • Abed Nego Tarigan – WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia)
  • Muhammad Reza Sahib – KRuHA (people’s coalition for the right to water)
  • Diana Gultom – debt Watch Indonesia
  • Tama S. Langkun – ICW (Indonesian Corruption Watch)
  • Kristian Redison Simarmata – SMI (Perhimpunan Suluh Muda Indonesia) North Sumatra
  • Nadia Bafaqih – Yayasan Cakrawala Timur, East Java Indonesia
  • Ahmad Martin Hadiwinata (individual)
  • Masinton Pasaribu – REPDEM ( Relawan Perjuangan Demokrasi/ Volunteers for Democracy Struggle)
  • Beka Ulung Hapsara (individual)
  • Agus Arifin – SBI (Indonesian Labor Union)
  • Muhyar Kana – SNI ( Indonesian Fisherfolk Union)
  • Gunawan – IHCS (Indonesian Human Right Committee for Social Justice)
  • UPC (Urban Poor Consortium)
  • JRMK (Jaringan Rakyat Miskin Kota / Jakarta Urban Poor Network)
  • Mulyadi – SARI Foundation, Solo – Indonesia
  • Ubaydillah – WALHI Jakarta
  • Chabibullah – SETAM ( Serikat Tani Merdeka / Freedom Peasant Union)
  • Prigi Arisandi – ECOTON, East Java – Indonesia
  • Fadil Khirom – API ( Aliansi Petani Indonesia / Indonesian Peasant Union)
  • Forum Penggurangan Resiko Bencana Jateng / Disaster Risk Reduction Forum of Central Java
  • Nurlina – SPS ( Serikat Perempuan Sunggal / Women Solidarity in Sunggal) Medan, North Sumatra
  • Yuyun Harmono – KAU (Koalisi Anti Utang / Anti Debt Coalition)
  • Tegar Putuhena – Youth Food Movement Indonesia
  • Kartini Samon – Indonesian Climate Finance Network
  • Sri Ranti (Individual)
  • Savic Alielha – NU Online
  • Sugeng Bahagijo – INFID ( International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development)
  • Maria Theresa Nera-Lauron, IBON International
  • Febi Yonesta – LBH Jakarta / Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation
  • Shripad Dharmadhikary, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra Water for the People Network
  • Pablo Solon, Focus on the Global South
  • Sukhgerel Dugersuren, OT Watch
  • Nezir Sinani, KOSID
  • Nur Hidayat, SP Jabotabek
  • Abdul Halim, KIARA
  • Cristian Villaroel, Chile Sostentable
  • Marcela Olivera, Fundacion Abril
  • Galia Yaksic, Plataforma de Acueductos Publico-Comunitarios (P-APC)
  • Javier Márquez Valderrama, Presidente Junta Directiva Corporación ECOFONDO
  • Amalia Cuervo Tafur, Directora General,Corporación Ecológica y Cultural, Penca de Sábila
  • Mirtha Callacna Mendo Presidente, FENTAP
  • Luis Isarra, Delegado Secretario General,CONTAGUAS; (Confederacion Continental de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de los Sindicatos de Agua, Saneamiento y Medio Ambiente)
  • Internacional de Servicios Públicos – Consejo Permanente de Sindicatos Andinos de Agua
  • Ricardo Buitrón, Corporación Acción Ecológica Ecuador
  • Gobi Soil, Battsengel Lhamdoorov
  • Bayarsaikhan Namsrai, Steps without Border
  • Oyumaa Jamsran, Huvsgul Daai Eej Association (Mongolia)
  • Chee Yoke Ling, Director of Programmes, Third World Network
  • Martin Donohoe, MD, FACP, Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Community Health, Portland State University


Initiative for the non privatization of water in Greece


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