PROTEST AGAINST OFFSHORE BLOCK DEAL 50 injured as police charge into demo

September 3, 2009

Countrywide protests today, march towards PMO Sept 10

NewAge, 3 September, 2009

More than 50 people, including the member-secretary of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports, Anu Muhammad, were injured when police charged into marchers heading for Petrobangla headquarters in the capital midday Wednesday in protest against the government’s decision to award three offshore blocks to international oil companies.

About 1,000 leaders and activists of the committee gathered at Muktangan where they held a rally in the morning before marching towards the Petrobangla office at Karwan Bazar where the protesters were to lay siege.

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Policemen charge at economist Professor Anu Muhammd with truncheons as he fell on the road during a police attack on a peaceful procession of the national committee to protect oil, gas, mineral resources, power and port which was marching to lay siege to the Petrobangla head office in Dhaka on Wednesday.New Age photo

The national committee announced the programme in protest at the government’s decision to award three blocks to two IOCs with a provision allowing them to export up to 80 per cent of gas. The committee feared such a move would threaten the country’s energy security.

Police swooped on the protesters and clubbed them indiscriminately after they broke through the barricades set up by the lawmen at Paltan crossing at around noon and tried to march towards the Petrobangla office.

Angry protesters fought pitched battles with police at Bijoynagar for about half an hour before dispersing. They attacked vehicles during the clash forcing traffic to make a detour.

Both legs of Anu Muhammad, also a professor of economics at Jahangirnagar University, were badly fractured in the police attack while a number of other left-leaning political leaders and activists, including Saiful Huq, Mushrefa Mishu, Jannatul Marium Tania, Montu Biswas, Srikant Samaddar, Biplab Mandal, Gazi Shafiullah and Sumi Akhtar sustained injuries.

Anu Muhammad interview from hospital. Interview by Shahidul AlamDrik

The injured were taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital and most of them were released after first aid. Professor Anu Muhammad was shifted to Square Hospital from DMCH.

Journalists trying to visit Anu Muhammad at Square Hospital were refused permission to see him. When contacted, the hospital management said it might have been done at the advice of the attending doctors.

Condemning the police action Anu Muhammad told reporters that their campaigns were aimed at protecting the natural resources of the country. ‘We are not against the government; we are against the move to export our natural resources. It is the government’s responsibility to protect the lives and property of the citizens. I don’t understand why the police pounced on us,’ he said.

Later, the committee held a meeting at the office of the Communist Party of Bangladesh at Paltan.

The committee convener Sheikh Mohammad Shaheedullah at a press conference said that the police had charged baton on their peaceful demonstration because the government was desperate to protect the interest of international oil companies instead of national interest.

‘We strongly condemn the unprovoked attack. This has exposed the fascist attitude of the government,’ he said demanding immediate action against the police officers involved in the attack.

Shaheedullah warned that the government would not be able to foil their movement by resorting to repression. He vowed to continue the movement until the decision to allow gas export was scrapped.

The committee announced fresh programmes protesting at Wednesday’s police action. The programmes include countrywide demonstrations and a protest rally at Muktangan in the capital this afternoon. The committee will march towards the Prime Minister’s Office from Muktangan at 11:00am on September 10. Besides, it will hold rallies and processions in different thanas of Dhaka city and elsewhere in the country.

The committee will announce further action programmes, including hartal and siege, if the government does not refrain from leasing the offshore gas blocks, he said.

Shaheedullah, justice Golam Rabbani, Syed Abul Maksud, CPB general secretary Mujahidul Islam Selim, Workers Party general secretary Bimal Biswas, Workers Party (reconstituted) convener, Haider Akber Khan Rano, Gana Front leader Tipu Biswas, CPB leaders Ruhin Hossain Prince and AN Rasheda, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal leader Bazlur Rashid Firoz and professors MM Akash, Shamsul Alam, Mesbah Kamal, Pias Karim, ethnic minority leader Rabindranath Soren and former state minister for power and energy Anwarul Kabir Talukder attended the Muktangan rally.

The speakers said that the prime minister’s approval of offshore oil and gas exploration deals in the Bay of Bengal with two international companies, ConocoPhillips and Tullow Oil plc, ran counter to her poll campaign pledges.

The cabinet committee on economic affairs, headed by the finance minister, on August 24 approved offshore oil and gas exploration deals with the two companies in three sea blocks in the resource-rich Bay, on condition that they would not operate in the disputed areas in the blocks.

At the rally, Shaheedullah said they demanded cancellation of the Model Production Sharing Contract 2008, approved by the last interim government, saying pressure from ‘colonialists’ had been behind it.

Anu Muhammad said the present government was not working as the true representatives of the people. ‘The energy ministry and Petrobangla are working for multinational companies,’ he said. ‘Till now three of 28 blocks have been allocated to international companies and gradually the rest will be given to them,’ he said.

Mujahidul Islam Selim said that Sheikh Hasina during her first stint as prime minister had told the then US president Bill Clinton in 2000 that Bangladesh would not export gas without ensuring a 50-year domestic supply. ‘After such a promise, this latest agreement is extremely treacherous,’ he said.

Different left-leaning political parties and organisations, meanwhile, condemned the police attack on the ‘peaceful’ march of the national committee.

The Communist Party of Bangladesh president Manzurul Ahsan Khan and general secretary Mujahidul Islam Selim in a press statement termed the police attack fascist and contrary to democracy and basic rights of the people.

Workers Party president Rashed Khan Menon and general secretary Bimal Biswas, condemned the police attack and called on the government to drop the plan to lease out the three offshore gas blocks to international companies.

Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal convener Khalequzzaman, Ganatantri Party president Mohammad Afzal, general secretary Nurur Rahman Selim, Democratic Revolutionary Party president Nirmal Sen, general secretary Mushrefa Mishu, Revolutionary Workers Party president Khandaker Ali Abbas, general secretary Saiful Huq, Workers Party (reconstituted) convener Haider Akbar Khan Rano, Ganasanghati coordinator Zonayed Saki, Jatiya Mukti Council president Badruddin Umar and secretary Foizul Hakim, Garments Workers Unity Forum, Anti-imperialist Students Unity, Nayaganatantrik Gana Morcha, Chhatra Oikya Forum, Bangladesh Khetmajur Samiti, Green Voice and Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan leaders also condemned the police attack.

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Phulbari Day Today

August 26, 2009

Staff Correspondent, NewAge, August 26, 2009

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Photo: Zakir Kibria

Different socio-political organisations will observe Phulbari Day today in remembrance of the demonstrations against Asia Energy’s planned open-pit mining at Phulbari in Dinajpur on August 26, 2006.

Three people were killed and many were injured when lawmen into protests against at the Phulbari coal field in August 2006.

Four days after the demonstrations, the then BNP-led government on August 30 signed a six-point agreement with protesters, spearheaded by the national committee to protect oil, gas, mineral resources, power and port to expel Asia Energy from Bangladesh and ban open-pit mining.

The committee, however, expressed its dismay at the non-implementation of the agreement as Asia Energy is still active in the country. The national committee and different left-leaning political organisations have chalked up programmes to mark August 26 as Phulbari Day.

The committee will place flowers at Shaheed Smritistambha at Phulbari and hold a rally there. The committee will also place flowers at the Central Shaheed Minar and observe the day in other places.

Jatiya Gana Front will hold a rally and bring out a procession in Muktangon to mark the day. The organisation in a statement said any move for open-pit mining in Bangladesh would be stopped. Samajtantrik Chhatra Front will also bring out a procession on the Dhaka University campus on the occasion demanding expulsion of Asia Energy from Bangladesh.

Further information:

Phulbari Resistance

Phulbari Resistance on Facebook


Press Statement: Third Mission of the International CHT Commission

August 23, 2009

International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission
Bangladesh Secretariat: 10/11, Iqbal Road, Mohammadpur, Dhaka 1207
chtcomm@gmail.com

Press statement

The International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission (CHTC) appreciates that after 12 years since the signing of the CHT Accord some important measures have been taken to implement the Accord. These include specifically the setting up of the National Committee for Implementation of the CHT Accord, re-establishment of the Land Commission and the Task Force for CHT Refugee Rehabilitation Affairs, the cancellation of plantation leases that have not been properly developed, and the withdrawal of temporary military camps. This has generated a sense of momentum which the CHTC appreciates and encourages. The CHTC congratulates the Prime Minister on her statement on the occasion of the International Indigenous Peoples’ Day in support of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This statement encourages not only the indigenous peoples in Bangladesh, but also all over the world.

Between 11-16 August members of the CHTC visited all three districts of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Commission members met with government representatives, the three brigade commanders and their zone commanders, senior police officers, politicians and civil society leaders, including both Pahari and Bengali representatives.

During meetings with the brigade commanders and their staff the CHTC members were informed that they saw no security risks with compliance to the government policy on the withdrawal of the camps. This view was confirmed by the police and local authorities.

In meetings with all parties the land issue was presented as the main concern. The CHTC therefore considers it of utmost importance that the Land Commission becomes fully activated and funded, including its function as a tribunal to settle land disputes, which should be disposed of before the cadastal survey is undertaken.

The CHTC is disappointed, however, at the rate of progress towards activation of the Land Commission; the Commission’s lack of progress on the determination of disputed land claims; its apparent decision to hold the cadastral survey beforehand and the absence of proposals for electing the Hill District Councils.

The CHT Commission hopes that the Land Commission will establish a database of all disputed land claims, providing the claimants with forms on which they can supply the information required for this purpose. This might be the subject of an approach to international agencies such as UNDP for financial and technical assistance. Because of the complexity of overlapping titles on the same land plots granted in different circumstances, a definitive set of rules should be developed by the Land Commission to rank the relative priority of different kinds of land titles. For those whose claims to land are disallowed, the government should draft rehabilitation measures for discussion with community leaders.

The CHTC was alerted to the necessity of activating and properly funding the Task Force for CHT Refugee Rehabilitation Affairs. Moreover, there is a need for a speedy development of government guidelines for the interaction and division of labour between the Task Force and the Land Commission.

The CHTC further urges continuing measures to enhance access to justice within the CHT, including the activation of legal aid committees.

It is imperative that elections are held for the CHT Regional Council and Hill District Councils and the CHT Commission recommends that alternative electoral methods are explored promptly.

The CHTC has collected a large amount of information including documents given to us by Bengalis and Paharis which remains to be analysed, and as usual will be producing a report on this visit utilising these data We have a further international visit planned for the coming year.

We are convinced that the vast majority of the people of all communities in the CHT are determined to maintain the peace and harmony of the region, and that they will cooperate with the processes that are essential for the purpose. Peace is an essential human right, and all the efforts of both government and people should be devoted to its achievement.

List of meetings:

Civil society in Bandarban
Tribal Muslim Welfare Association
Hill District Council Chairman, Bandarban
Deputy Commissioner, Bandarban
Brigade Commander, Bandarban
Civil society in Rangamati
CHT Regional Council Chairman
Jana Sanghaty Samity (JSS)
United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF)
CHT Forest and Land Committee
Hill District Council Chairman, Rangamati
Deputy Commissioner, Rangamati
Brigade Commander, Rangamati
Civil society in Khagrachori
Brigade Commander, Khagrachori
Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina
Finance Minister, Abul Mal Abdul Muhith
Foreign Minister, Dipu Moni
CHT Land Commission Chairman, Khademul Islam Chowdhury
Parliamentary Standing Committee on CHT and Cultural Minister, Promod Mankin
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh
CHT Minister, Dipankar Talukder
Law Commission, Justice Mohammad Abdur Rashid
European Commission
Donor de-briefing meeting


Michael Moore’s ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’

August 22, 2009

‘CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY‘ – In Theaters October 2nd

“It’s a crime story. But it’s also a war story about class warfare. And a vampire movie, with the upper 1 percent feeding off the rest of us. And, of course, it’s also a love story. Only it’s about an abusive relationship.

“It’s not about an individual, like Roger Smith, or a corporation, or even an issue, like health care. This is the big enchilada. This is about the thing that dominates all our lives — the economy. I made this movie as if it was going to be the last movie I was allowed to make.

“It’s a comedy.” — Michael Moore


Political Power Dictates Transboundary Waters

August 21, 2009

By Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service, August 20, 2009

STOCKHOLM, (IPS) – A longstanding quote attributed, rightly or wrongly, to the legendary author and humourist Mark Twain has been reverberating in the conference rooms of the Swedish capital: “Whisky is for drinking, water is for fighting over.”

Since nearly half of the global available surface water is found in 263 international river basins, the countries sharing borders have one of two choices: either collaborate or go to war.

A primary focus at the international water conference, currently underway in Stockholm, is transboundary water management.

The sources of potential collaboration or conflicts include sharing waters in the Baltic Sea, the Jordan River, the Mekong River Basin, the Ganges River, the Indus River and the Nile Valley, among many others.

Gunilla Carlsson, the Swedish minister for international development cooperation, points out that over 60 percent of the world’s population live in river basins that are shared by two or more countries.

“This is something we cannot ignore,” she told delegates. “We have one such water in our very city of Stockholm, the Baltic Sea. Its waves of history are filled with war and conflict, as well as with peace and cooperation.”

Carlsson also said transboundary water issues not only concern rivers or river basins, which require political and technical solutions between bordering nations, but also coastal areas and oceans, where no bordering nations exists.

According to the United Nations, more than 880 million people worldwide still do not have access to safe drinking water.

But there are some water experts, mostly pessimists, who predict that future military conflicts will be fought over scarce water resources.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon admits that even though there is concern over the possibility of “violent disputes” over sharing limited water resources, cooperation is the most common response by people facing competing demands.

He buttresses his argument by pointing out that there are at least 300 international water agreements worldwide, often among parties that are otherwise at odds.

“These agreements demonstrate the potential of shared water resources to foster trust and promote peace,” he says.

In South Asia alone, three transboundary river basins sustain about half of the region’s 1.5 billion people, including some of the world’s poorest.

The three river basins that cover eight countries in the region include: the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (which spans Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India and Nepal); the Indus river basin (Afghanistan, China, India, Nepal and Pakistan); and the Helmand river basin (which covers Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan).

Munqeth Mehyar, chairperson, Friends of the Earth Middle East, told reporters that of the 1.3 billion cubic metres that would flow to replenish the Dead Sea, 100 million cubic metres is all that is left.

The river has seen over 95 percent of its waters diverted. The governments of Israel, Palestine and Jordan have signed agreements to restore the river. But these statements have yet to be followed up by any action, he added.

Mehyar, a national of Jordan, said Palestinians must get direct access to the river and Palestine deserves a share of the water as an equal riparian.

The budget for sustaining conflict and supporting wars is very large. But peace and restoration activities will only require a very small percentage of that budget, he added.

Meanwhile, in a new study released here, the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) says the response of the international water community to the mounting challenges and pressure placed on shared waters has thus far been “inconsistent and inadequate”.

Generally, the international water community is split into three camps over how transboundary flows relate to livelihoods, development and human, state and regional security.

Some emphasise the causal relationships between water scarcity (or floods) and violent conflict or poverty.

Others contend that the evidence of cooperation that exists globally suggests a comforting trend towards stability and wealth.

The third camp is between the two, but stresses the existence of numerous water conflicts that fall short of violence, says the study jointly authored and edited by Dr Anders Jagerskog, programme director at SIWI, Dr. Mark Zeitoun, senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia in Britain, and Anders Berntell, executive director SIWI.

“It seems obvious. Transboundary waters are highly political. And politics are ruled by power,” the authors argue.

Yet, traditional and emerging forms of interaction in the Mekong, Jordan, Ganges, the Nile and in so many other transboundary waterways reveal that the international community turns a blind eye to the power plays over water.

At the same time, too many have silently submitted to the notion that more equitable, sustainable and efficient transboundary water cooperation is not possible, says the study titled “Getting Transboundary Water Right: Theory and Practice for Effective Cooperation”.

In many transboundary water contexts, political power is asymmetrically distributed.

The most powerful riparian state is often able to determine the outcome of the interactions – for unilateral or collective good.

China’s financial assistance to Cambodia in sectors unrelated to the Mekong has been credited for ensuring official Cambodian acquiescence to the building of potentially devastating upstream dams.

Such use of “carrots” to induce cooperation is more welcome than the use of the “stick”, the study says.

Under this unilateral paradigm, however, states can resort to threats and coerce their neighbours to submit to an agreement whose terms may return to haunt them.

And by limiting the exploration of options, the strong-arming can also prevent the creation of a more sustainable agreement based on meeting common interests.


U.N. Summit on Climate Change Under Fire

August 21, 2009

By Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service, August 18, 2009

UNITED NATIONS, (IPS) – A much-ballyhooed U.N. summit on climate change, scheduled to take place on Sep. 22 in New York, is mired in controversy even before it gets off the ground.

The 130 developing countries of the Group of 77 have expressed serious concerns over the lopsided logistical arrangements, and worse still, the possibility of several heads of state being left out in the cold.

According to current plans, only a limited number of world leaders will be speaking at the summit while a “working dinner” to be hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is being confined to only 25 of the 192 world leaders who are expected to be present at the summit.

“While fully respecting the prerogative of the secretary-general in preparing this summit, we must ensure that the full membership of the United Nations is able to participate at the highest possible level for the summit to be a success,” Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamed of Sudan, the chair of the G77, said in a letter to the secretary-general.

At an ambassadorial meeting of the G77 last week, speaker after speaker criticised the format of the summit and hinted at the possibility of a hidden political agenda.

“On what basis are these heads of state being asked to speak at the summit? And on what criteria are the 25 selected heads of state being invited for the so-called working dinner?” one ambassador asked.

Janos Pasztor, director of the secretary-general’s Climate Change Support Team, told reporters last month the summit is expected to lay a strong and necessary foundation of trust among leaders.

“The summit would provide a platform for heads of state and heads of government to consider the key political issues to be addressed during negotiations leading up to success in (the climate change meeting) in Copenhagen (in December),” he said.

The focus would be on interactive dialogue between heads of state and heads of government during roundtable discussions.

National statements would be delivered via pre-recorded video messages, he added.

The G77, which also includes China, says the U.N. summit should in no away attempt to prejudge the outcome of the critical negotiations that are to take place at the end of the year in Copenhagen under the auspices of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).

Since a series of roundtable meetings are also scheduled to take place at the September summit, the G77 has told the secretary-general that these meetings should be “inclusive and open to active participation by all U.N. member states, including delegations that are unable to participate at the heads of state level, and regardless of the level in which they will participate.”

According to established U.N. protocol, heads of state are given precedence over heads of governments, foreign ministers, senior government officials and New York-based ambassadors.

But the G77 grouse is that even among heads of state, the upcoming summit will make a distinction as to who should participate in the summit and the roundtables, and who should be invited for the working dinner.

As one ambassador told IPS: “Since the summit is going to be on climate change, will the selected heads of state represent countries which are the worst polluters or the most environmentally friendly?”

In its letter to the secretary-general, the G77 says “since no decisions will be taken at the summit, the Group would like to request further clarification regarding the objective of the summit and a more detailed explanation of the expected accomplishment.”

Meanwhile, the secretary-general has proposed “a breakfast meeting” for another 20-25 heads of state who are not on the invitee’s list for the working dinner. But this is unlikely to assuage concerns of many.

The summit, which is expected to be attended by virtually all Western leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama, is being advanced as a high-profile one-day political meeting, just ahead of the high-level segment on the opening day of the General Assembly sessions.

Asked about the format of the meeting, Pasztor told reporters that, after the plenary (which will be open to the press), the summit would break up into four small roundtable sessions in the morning and four in the afternoon (all closed to the press) co-chaired by two heads of state or head of government.

But participants could be accompanied by only a single adviser.

The closing plenary (open to the press) would hear summaries of the round table sessions.

There would be no negotiated outcome, but the secretary-general, as chair of the summit, would provide a summary. In order to keep the focus on the discussions, no side events would be organised, Pasztor said.

He also said the objective of the summit was to arrive at a political vision, provide direction for the negotiations and provide the impetus to move them forward.


Should Water Be Legislated as a Human Right?

August 16, 2009

By Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service

UNITED NATIONS – The growing commercialisation of water – and the widespread influence of the bottling industry worldwide – is triggering a rising demand for the legal classification of one of the basic necessities of life as a human right.

“We definitely need a covenant or [an international] treaty on the right to water so as to establish once and for all that no one on earth must be denied water because of inability to pay,” says Maude Barlow, a senior adviser to the President of the U.N. General Assembly, on water issues.

“We’ve got to protect water as a human right,” she said, pointing out that the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva would be the most likely venue to propose such a covenant.

But it would be best, she added, if it were ratified by the 192-member General Assembly, currently presided over by Fr. Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, a former Foreign Minister of Nicaragua.

“We need at the United Nations more than a human rights remedy,” Barlow told IPS. “We need a plan of action for the General Assembly.”

The U.N. says that close to 880 million people – mostly in the developing world – lack adequate access to clean water. By 2030, close to 4 billion people could be living in areas suffering severe water stress, mostly in South Asia and China.

A study commissioned by the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), released in March, said the global market for water supply, sanitation and water efficiency is worth over 250 billion dollars – and is likely to grow to nearly 660 billion dollars by 2020.

Barlow said the Council of Canadians, which she heads, is working with countries promoting the right to water constitutionally.

A plebiscite in Uruguay, held four years ago, led to a referendum resulting in a constitutional amendment singling out water as both a human right and a public service to be delivered on a not-for-profit basis.

A Colombian group called Ecofundo has collected two million signatures in a plebiscite that is expected to lead to a referendum on the right to water.

Patricia Jones, an expert on water and manager of the Environmental Justice Programme at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, told IPS that the U.S. negotiated against the appointment of a special U.N. rapporteur on the human right to water during a vote at the Human Rights Commission in March 2008.

Still, an independent expert was appointed, with a three-year mandate, to assist member states to identify the scope and content of the human right to water and sanitation.

“The opposition to the human right to water, of the previous U.S. administration, is changing,” Jones said.

She quoted U.S. President Barack Obama as saying in his inaugural address early this year: “to the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow.”

For the U.S., she pointed out, the economic stimulus package, and other funding, is going to address water availability issues within the U.S. “We do not have a comprehensive water policy at the national level; water is a devolved power of the states, with regulation through the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Quality Act.”

But Jones said the U.S. State Department staff participated in recent consultations on the human right to water and sanitation.

Barlow, the senior U.N. adviser on water issues, said: “We are winning some of the battle against the global corporate theft of water.”

“In my country [Canada], for instance, 53 municipalities – some of them big cities such as Vancouver and Toronto – have banned bottled water, and bottled water sales have dropped dramatically globally.”

Many municipalities worldwide are reversing the privatisation of their water services. The City of Paris, for example, is bringing its water services into the public sphere for the first time ever.

“We are also successfully introducing the notion of water as a public trust in political jurisdictions, asserting public control over this vital resource,” Barlow said. However, she noted, “we must be ever vigilant as new forms of private control are being advanced: water markets, water banking, water trading and water speculation are all on the horizon for those who would impose a market model of water allocation in the place of the public trust doctrine.”

Barlow said a recent example was the sale of privately traded water rights in Australia (which were introduced as a way to move water use toward sustainability) to a big American investment fund. This means that not only is this water not in public control, it is not even in the hands of Australians any more, she added.

Asked how investors can help solve the world’s water problems, Jones told IPS that investors can ensure that the water services investments they make would bring about the human right to water.

The U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) termed the existing priorities in global water services as “water apartheid,” reporting that there was enough water and financial resources to meet the current needs.

Still, it suggested that fully implementing existing legal obligations on the human right to water would go a long way to adjusting funding priorities toward water for the poor.

Some companies, such as Connecticut Water and PepsiCo have adopted a human right to water policy, Jones said.

Barlow said the international community should be watching the “superpowers” who are now looking outside their borders for water supplies – as they did for oil.

She said China is already constructing a pipeline to funnel water from the Tibetan Himalayas.