The UN General Assembly recently adopted a resolution recognising the “right to water”. On the face of it, this is hardly a controversial resolution, since who would oppose something as obviously vital as water. But dig a little deeper, and there are some tricky issues here.
For many advocates of this right, the UN resolution has been used as an opportunity to re-open the privatisation debate that burned strongly and divided many over the past two decades. A recent special issue (No. 533) of Pambazuka, a magazine promoting freedom and social justice in Africa, focuses on “Water and Privatisation”, aiming to do just that. The argument is that if water is a basic human right, surely it should be available for free. Or at least, multinational corporations should not be allowed to profit from its provision. Continue reading →
Today, March 22nd, is World Water Day. In Tanzania, a week-long event has been held in Mwanza to “observe” Maji Week, which ends today. Daraja has been represented there of course, along with civil society more generally through Tanzania’s growing water sector network Tawasanet.
This year’s theme is rather unwieldy:
Water for Cities: Responding to Urban Challenges with activities aiming to communicate messages on growing urban water and sanitation demand, increased pollution from municipal and industrial discharges, climate change and its foreseen risks and challengers, overexploitation of available water resources and better targeting of urban poor. Continue reading →