According to World Health Organization statistics, 2.6 billion people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water. Clean water is at the forefront of global issues, especially in poor countries, thus 300 Turkish activists demonstrated in front of the World Water Forum opening. Sadly, these protesters were ambushed by 2000 Turkish police that used water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets on the crowd.
What is the World Water Forum?
The World Water Forum is the main water-related event in the world, aimed at putting water firmly on the international agenda. A stepping stone towards global collaboration on water problems, the Forum offers the water community and policy-and-decision-makers from all over the world the unique opportunity to come together to create links, debate and attempts to find solutions to achieve water security.
Unfortunately, this triennial water event organized by the World Water Council does not always have the best interest of people’s right to water at heart. The World Water Council is dominated by two of the world’s largest private water corporations Suez and Veolia. They have promoted policies of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP’s) that put water services under private ownership usually resulting in price hikes and decreased pollution control. Zimbabwean water activist Nyanzone Malimi warned protesters:
The World Water Forum is not a politically neutral space – it is a very ideological space, and so while we are here this week, we’ve got to go out there and fight and fight and fight and fight and fight.
26 water activists were arrested and three were severely injured during protests at the fifth World Water Forum. Led by Uruguay, many governments are calling for a legitimate alternative led by the United Nations to the World Water Forum. Water activists are calling on this to be the last World Water Forum.