Σάββατο, 16 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Strategy meeting on the Future of Public Water. Association of Engineers of the Athens Water Company (EYDAP): Campaigns to stop the privatisation of public water companies in Greece.

This meeting will be an opportunity for strategising between public water operators, civil society, trade unions and researchers, within and associated with the Reclaiming Public Water Network. The aim is to strengthen the global coalition for democratic public water provision. 
One of the main issues of discussion will be the progress made on public-public partnerships (PuPs) . Going beyond a narrow definition of ‘public’, we frame PuPs as a concrete tool to connect different actors to share experiences and knowledge to improve public water systems. While PuPs are flexible and diverse, there are clear characteristics such as serving the public interest, while being strictly not-for-profit. 
At the strategy meeting we want to further clarify the meaning of ‘public’, as part of discussing our visions of public water in future. We aim to advance our discussions on ‘publicness’ and how to build democratic, environmentally sound public water provision that is accountable to the citizens. Importantly, inspiration for promoting alternatives to water privatization and commodification often comes from struggles for water justice which we have engaged in. 
The strategy meeting will explore how to strengthen the struggles against privatisation of water services and commodification of water resources by proposing concrete counter-narratives, policies and practices. Specifically, we should find ways to more strongly support alternatives emerging from local water justice struggles. The meeting aims to come up with common strategies and plans for joint advocacy activities.

Programme 

Day 1 (Monday 25 November)

9:15- 10:00 registration and coffee

10:00 Welcome and introduction round 


Summary of outcomes from different meetings organized by participants 


11:00-13:00 Session 1 (plenary panel)

Alternatives emerging from struggles against privatization and commodification of water: fighting to return water services into public.


Coordinator: Gabriella Zanzanaini (Food and Water Europe)


We will discuss our struggles in context such as what we are fighting in different struggles for water democracy. What are the new threats and how can we resist these? As well as strategizing on how we can build our capacity to form democratic structure through remunicipalisation process or reform existing public water.

- Nila Ardhianie, Amrta Institute Water literacy: Fighting to reverse privatization and bring water services into public hands in Jakarta 

- Maria Kanellopoulou, SaveGreekWater, Costis Ripis, Association of Engineers of the Athens Water Company (EYDAP): Campaigns to stop the privatisation of public water companies in Greece 


- Kshithija Nanjaraje Urs, National Platform against Privatization in India: Fighting against PPPs and resource privatization in India 


- Leonard Shang-Quartey, Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) : Rebuilding the public utility after failure of PPP in Accra, Ghana. 


- Jørgen Magdahl, FIVAS : New strategies of financial Institutions: neoliberal public utilities reform and the implications for resistance


- Gabriella Zanzanaini: Global solidarity to stop fracking 


Struggles in context: we are fighting in different struggles for water democracy. What are the new threats and how to resist these? How we can build our capacity to form democratic structure through remuniciaplisation process or reform existing public water? David Hall, former director of PSIRU helps us to analyze diverse struggles in the common ground, from where we can start discussing alternative strategies to build democratic public water. 

Questions and debate

13:00- 14:00 Lunch break 

14:00-16:00 Session 2 

Building new models of public water (management) 


Coordinator: David McDonald (Municipal Services Project)


What do we mean by ‘public’?

 The notion of ‘public’ goes beyond public water operators managed either by municipalities or states. Water systems managed by communities also play an important role. What is the role of the communities in the global south in the provision of water? 
The pressure for corporatisation applies to public operators in the global South and North. But corporatisation may undermine social, environmental, and labour protection standards. To be able to challenge this dominant discourse, it will be important to discuss ‘efficiency’ and develop a common vision of ‘social efficiency’, based on diverse experiences in different parts of the world. 
In Nigeria, for instance, water service delivery has been very poor in many states and for decades the public utilities have not served the people. How we tackle corrupt, unreliable governments and public institutions, which are unwilling to invest in water delivery? What are our alternatives to the public water sector reforms based on commercial incentives and introduction of elements of PPPs that are currently promoted in many countries, to overcome dysfunctional government bureaucracy and failing utilities? 
There are successful examples of state water sector reform thorough democratization of water management, such as in Tamil Nadu, India or Social Control (participatory mechanism) in many cities in Brazil. Democratisation is also at the centre of the debate in Berlin, where the private water operator has left and the biggest municipal PPP project in Germany has come to the end. In the discussions about how to build a democratic, transparent, ecological and social water model in Berlin, a key challenge is to create a meaningful participatory mechanism within the public utility Berliner Wasserbetriebe (BWB). 

Discussion starters 

Emilio Pachon, manager of Aguas del Huesna, Seville Spain, members of AEOPAS (Spanish Association of Public Services for Water Supply and Sanitation)
Christa Hecht, Allianz der öffentlichen Wasserwirtschaft (AöW) e.V
Berlin Water Table, Dorothea Haerlin
Milton Machado, Obras Sanitarias del Estado (OSE, state water company in Uruguay) (t.b.c)
Babatope Babalobi, Water and Sanitation Media Network Nigeria
Lukas Strahlhofer, arbeiterkammer (AK): Successful public water supply in Austria. What do we mean successful public supply?


16:15- 18:00 Session 3 

Human rights to water and sanitation, making it real 


Coordinator: Satoko Kishimoto


We will discuss strategies for recognition and implementation of the human right to water. While the 2010 Resolution by the UN General Assembly on the human right to water and sanitation (A/64/292) was a significant achievement, struggles and conflicts over water resources continue. Destructive dams, mining activities and bottling industries are polluting and depriving people from access to water. What role can the human right to water play in solving such water conflicts on the ground? How can national water policies help secure real progress towards implementing the human right to water? Is public water provision the best (or only) approach towards implementing the human right to water and sanitation? It's clear that privatisation is failing (in terms of connecting people, long term perspective to protect resources, avoiding pollution, reducing water consumption, etc.), but there is also the reality that many public authorities and operators are failing on these same points. Is the human right to water as an effective legal tool to solve conflicts? What are the next steps for the European Citizen Initiative (ECI) on the right to water? Moreover, the ‘green economy’ discourse and water-food-land ‘nexus’ policies develop are gaining momentum. Both are focused on the efficiency of water resource use, but what does efficiency mean, for whom and decided by whom, and how does this relate to the right to water? How we can challenge all these market-based approaches which are at odds with water commons and democracy.?

Discussion starters 

Clivia Conrad (Ver.di, Germany)
Meera Karunananthan (Blue Planet Project)
Matilda Kimetto (Kenya County Government Workers union)
Mohamed Ibrahim and Does Vandousselaere, Habi Center for Environmental Rights, Cairo
Lidia Serrano, Ingeniería Sin Fronteras Barclona
Juan Carlos, EPMAPS (Empresa Pública Metropolitana de Agua Potable y Saneamiento EPMAPS), Ecuador 


18:00 Wrap up Day 1 : set up informal working groups to prepare for Day 2 (what mean by public, human right to water, solidarity for Greece, Jakarta, Ghana etc..)
 

Short preparatory meeting for the GWOPA congress.

20:00 Dinner 

Day 2 (Tuesday 26 November):

9:00-9:30 Coffee 


9:30-11:30 Session 4 (plenary) 

Public-Public Partnerships (PUPs): diversity and impacts 


Coordinator: Mary Ann Manahan (Focus on the Global South)


In this session we will share the practices and the values underlying different models of PUPs, ranging from community partnerships and inter-municipal partnerships. We will discuss how PuPs contribute to providing safe, accessible and affordable water to poor and marginalized communities. Another focus will be how PUPs can help improving water resources management, watershed protection and source development? How we can engage in international initiatives such as Water Operators Partnerships (WOPs)? How we can strengthen our advocacy work to enlarge financial support for public-public partnerships (PuPs), such as through the ACP-EU water facility? How we can build alliances between urban and rural organisations, trade unions, and citizens? 

Discussion starters:

- Marcela Olivera and Adriana Marquisio, Platform for Public Community Partnerships in Americas (PAPC)
- Samir Bensaid, ONEE (National Office for Electricity and Drinking Water Supply Morocco)
- MWA Waterworks Academy Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) (Bangkok, Thailand)
- Daniel Moss, Our Water Commons
- Sindicato de Trabajadores de Acuavalle SA ESP (SINTRACUAVALLE, Colombia)
- Albert Testart, CONGIAC, Catalan Public Utilities Association
- members of AEOPAS (Spanish Association of Public Services for Water Supply and Sanitation)

Discussion: What are challenges to engage in PuPs and how to overcome them?
What are obstacles to engage in PuPs respectively in public and community operators’, workers’, citizens’ point of views? Bottom up grassroots strategies to create political support. Look at the (enabling) institutional design, legal framework and internal and external governance of successful partnerships. 


11:30-11:50
PuP in context: Emanuele Lobina (PSIRU): How do we define the kinds of PUPs which we want to promote? The underlying philosophy and the concept of publicness; the variety of partners involved and objectives pursued (communities, unions and citizens' groups in water partnerships). How PuPs really contribute to providing safe, accessible and affordable water to poor and marginalized communities (equity issue); examples of how PuPs are useful as part of the alternative to privatization.

12:00- 13:00 Lunch break
13:00 - 14:30 Strategic discussions for joint action (3 groups)
1. PuPs - how to overcome the challenges to engaging in Public-public, public-community partnerships? Coordinator: AEOPAS and Milo Fiasconnaro (Aqua Pabulica Europea)
2. Promoting policies to strengthen and democratize public water delivery and implement the right to water (not definite)
3. Strengthen water justice campaigns (not definite)

14:30- 15:00 Report back from 3 groups.
15:00 – 17:00 Wrap-up discussion: Our counter-narratives and joint strategies.  What are our collective outcomes of this meeting? Sharing the political calendar and making joint action plans.

Practical information 

17:30 Closing

Location

CCOO (the headquarters of Comisions Obreres)
Via laietana 16
Barcelona
Spain