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To deal with the future of the world’s water supply two large forums were held parallel to one another in Marseille from the 12th to the 17th of March - these forums could not have been more different from one another. On the one hand the World Water Forum founded in 1997 on the initiative of the huge water corporations Vivendi/Veolia and Suez which encompasses besides private enterprises, also UN authorities and governments. Since its formation this forum has been subject to increasing criticism, because it unilaterally serves private profit interests – and possesses no political legitimization. For this reason, for the third time, in parallel, there took place an Alternative World Water Forum in which non-governmental organisations, social movements and water activists from the world over took part.Kontext TV was on site and spoke with participant of both forums.
Badrul Alam, Asian Peasant Coalition, Bangladesh
Ivaney Dalla Costa, La Via Campesina, Brasil
Alex Abu Ata, EWASH, West bank, Palestine
Franklin R. Frederick Goncalves, Movement of Citizenship for the Waters, Switzerland/Brazil
Gerlinde Schermer, Berlin Water Table
Olcay Ünver, Coordninator ot the UNESCO Water Assessment Programme

Voices from FAME:

Badrul Alam: Here is the open space where I can exchange and where other people also have the opportunity to express their opinion. At the same time we know that there is an official World Water Forum where ordniary people are not allowed to enter. They cannot raise their agenda there. So at least at The Alternative Forum we have the opportunity to raise our own agenda.

Alex Abu Ata: My name is Alex Abu Ata. I am French Palestinian, I work for the same organisation as my colleague in Palestine (EWASH). We have come to inform the people about the violations to the right to water in Palestine by Israel. On the West Bank there is a humanitarian crisis, but this is artificially engineered, in the sense that it is not due to a lack of resources but due to Israel's polcies. For example, building any kind of infrastructure in the West Bank requires a permit from Israel. Those permits are denied 95 per cent of the time. Because this has led to a humanitarian crisis, Palestinians are forced to build these things - and NGOs as well - and Israel routinely destroys them under the pretext that they have not received an approval by the Israeli adminstration. Even those who know a little bit about the Israel Palestine conflict are not aware about the water problem. They might know about the refugee problem, about the borders, about Jerusalem, about security, but they are not aware of the water situation and this is a problem that the Palstinians have to face right now.

Ivaney Dalla Costa: The Alternative Forum is a Platform from where to mobilise against the privatisation of water. Our aim is to show that the Brazilian people are against privatisation, that we from La via Campesina, from the trade unions and the NGOs are against the privatisation of water. Waters and energy are not commodities. Indigenous populations and inhabitants from the riverbank can not be sold.

Franklin R. Frederick Goncalves:

Gerlinde Schermer: My name is Gerlinde Schermer, I am from the Berlin Water Table. We were the first to successfully achieve a referendum in Germany. With 660 000 votes the Berliners – that is approximately 27 percent of all eligible voters – have achieved that the, till then, secret contract for the privatisation of half of Berlin’s water companies be disclosed. This is a great success, and we are here to show the others what is in this contract.

Olcay Ünver: