An Open Call to the Global Water Justice Movement to Mobilize Against the False World Water Forum

December 22, 2008

People’s Water Forum

Let us join together in Istanbul, Turkey, March 16-22, 2009 to protect water as a human right, global commons and public good to expose the illegitimate power of the World Water Council!

Following the successes of past resistance against World Water Forums, most notably the mass mobilizations and Jornadas en Defensa del Agua in Mexico City in 2006,

Using the principles in the Mexico Declaration and previous joint declarations of the water justice movement as the basis for this call to action,

Respecting the struggles, waged daily by grassroots activists to improve water conditions for people and nature,

And standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters from Turkey who are organizing an extensive slate of counter events in Istanbul and around the country in a strong show of resistance,

We call upon social movements, networks and individual water activists committed to principles of equity, justice and sustainability, to mobilize against the upcoming 5th World Water Forum.

This 5th World Water Forum, as with the previous 4 World Water Forums, is being organized by the World Water Council—a body created and controlled by the global private water industry and which continues to promote water privatization, commodification and commercialization, policies proven to harm people and communities.

The time is here to end the reign of these Water Barons and launch a truly inclusive and accountable forum to deal with the grave situation facing humanity and the planet.

Together we will work to counter privatization efforts—both around the world and in Turkey where the government has dangerously proposed the privatization of lakes and rivers.

We will continue to support local campaigns and social movements in both the South and North, working strongly with Red Vida, the Africa Water Network and the European Public Water Network. We commit to augment condemnation of the World Water Council with the promotion of viable alternatives such as Public-Public Partnerships, community-control models based on principles of the commons and water democracy.

This gathering simultaneously provides opportunities for water justice activists to learn from and support each other’s efforts, as well as to lobby government representatives who will be in attendance at the official Forum.

As in Mexico in 2006, Kyoto in 2003 and the Hague in 2000, it is important to challenge the destructive neo-liberal, pro-privatization agenda of the Forum organizers, but even more important is to launch a process and new Water Forum tied to actual State obligations, within a United Nations framework and working with local community-based efforts and actors to achieve water justice.


We call upon governments to join with the governments of Uruguay, Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba, who in 2006 signed the 4th World Water Forum Counter Declaration, demanding implementation of a truly open and transparent multilateral process.

We call upon the United Nations and its member governments to accept your obligation, as the only legitimate global convener of multilateral forums, to publicly commit to hosting a Forum on Water, which is linked to state obligations and is accountable to the global community.

We call upon all organizations and governments who choose to attend the 5th World Water Forum, to commit to making this the last and to join in the launching of a legitimate Global Forum on Water, emerging from within the UN processes and supported by States.

We call upon all who share our commitment to mobilize in their own communities during the World Water Forum, in a show of solidarity with those struggling for water justice and as a call to the global community to mobilize on this critical issue.

We finally call upon all committed activists, elected representatives, government representatives and progressive organizations to join in the upcoming mobilization standing alongside our allies in Turkey.


Abdelmawlaa Ismail, Coordinator of Egyptian Cmte. for Right to Water and Right to Water Forum in the Arab Region

Africa Water Network

Aquattac, European Network of Attac water activists

Attac, Finland

Attac, Germany

BanglaPraxis, Bangladesh

Berlin Water Table, Germany

Blue Planet Project, Canada

Centre for Law, Policy and Human Rights Studies, Chennai, India

CeVI, Italy

Centre for Civil Society Environmental Justice Project, Durban, South Africa

Coalición de Organizaciones Mexicanas por el Derecho al Agua, COMDA, Mexico

Comité de Enlace de la Red VIDA, the Americas

Coordinadora de Defensa del Agua y de la Vida, Bolivia

Corporate Accountability International, USA

Corporate Europe Observatory

Council of Canadians

Canadian Union of Public Employees/ Syndicat Canadien de la Fonction Publique

Federación de Funcionarios de OSE, Uruguay

Federación de Trabajadores Fabriles de Cochabamba, Bolivia

Focus on the Global South

Food & Water Watch, USA

Frances Libertes, France

Friends of the Earth, Canada

Friends of the Earth, Finland

Hemantha Withanage, Centre for Environmental Justice, Sri Lanka

Italian Committee World Water Contract

Jubilee South – Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS APMDD)

National Commission in Defense of Water and Life, Uruguay

Playapart, Italy

Polaris Institute, Canada

Raja Kassab, Association pour un Contrat Mondial de l’Eau Maroc, Morocco and Right to Water Forum in the Arab Region

Solidarity Workshop, International 

SuKo, Germany

Transnational Institute, Europe

Water Movements Italian Forum