An international summit on the human rights to water has called on the Nigerian government and other governments in Africa to reject the purported water privatisation projects designed by the World Bank and its corporate partners.
The summit also resolved that government should replace the alleged failed Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, with proven public solutions including the Public Private Partnership model and a national Water Trust Fund, as outlined in the way forward document – Lagos Water Crisis: Alternative Roadmap for Water Sector.
The summit was organized by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN in Abuja with over 150 participants drawn from local, national and international civil society and grassroots groups, representing a global movement committed to resisting corporate control of water and securing the human right to water.
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According to the participants in a communique issued after the meeting, the Re-municipalisation which is increasing globally as privatization promises fade, offers opportunities to build local democratic governance of water sources and infrastructure.
Besides, the summit urged governments in Africa to embrace democratic decision-making in addressing water shortages and that women and vulnerable groups should be accorded priority in plans to guarantee access.
With the theme, “Nigeria’s Water Emergency: From Resistance to Real Solutions against Corporate Control”, the summit called for a probe of all Public Private Partnership, PPP projects, loans and funding for the existing water system and infrastructure nationwide.
The participants were drawn from Nigeria, Africa, Europe, India and the United States, including representatives from Flint and Pittsburgh who have cases of lead-poisoned water, stressed the need for comprehensive data on both water infrastructure investment and access to aid planning for the now and the future.
Also contained in the communiqué were:
“A probe of all PPP projects, loans and funding for the existing water system and infrastructure nationwide, including at the states level, particularly in Lagos State since the assumption of office by the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode administration and the new management of the Lagos Water Corporation (LWC).
“Reinvigoration of the movement for water justice across Africa. This initiative will address the challenges of governance, human rights and corruption in the water sector across the African continent.”
Body calls for probe of all PPP projects, loans, funding for water system, infrastructure
Co-organisers of the summit were Corporate Accountability, Public Services International (PSI), Transnational Institute, and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), among others.
The communiqué was signed by Nnimmo Bassey, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Shayda Edwards Naficy, Corporate Accountability, Sani Baba, Public Services International, and Comrade Benjamin Anthony, Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE).
Other signatories to the communiqué were Satoko Kishimoto, Transnational Institute (TNI), Priscilla Achakpa, Women Environment Programme (WEP), and Leslie Adoghame, Sustainable Research and (SRADeV)