CSOS REJECT PPPS AT LAGOS WATER SUMMIT… ISODEC PROPOSES PUBLIC-PUBLIC PARTNERSHIPS AS ALTERNATIVE FOR WATER PROVISION
A Lagos water Summit has recommended the engagement of Public-Public Partnerships PUPs in the provision of water for citizens.
At a 2-day summit, participants agreed that the PUPs will promote best practices and cut off areas of inefficiencies and wastages.
The event organised by Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria,(ERA/FoEN), Corporate Accountability International, in collaboration with Public Service International and its other allies is a follow-up to previous actions and campaigns to stop water privatisation in Lagos State.
It called for the rejection of water privatisation under any guise, “whether through direct enclosure by taking over public water supply or through bottling of water for sale to the public “describing it as false solution to water access and delivery.
Speaking at the Summit, the Executive Director of HOMEF and Right Livelihood Award winner, Nnimmo Bassey said that “the remarkable failure of the privatisation of water in several countries of the world has led to what has been termed the remunicipalisation of water services.”
According to Mr. Bassey,” this reversal of previous private deals has occurred in Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Tanzania, Mali, France, Indonesia, Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Indeed Europe has recorded the largest number of privatisation reversal” He said.
The Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria ERA/FoEN, Dr Godwin Ojo described the situation as “an attempt to place monetary value on nature and eco-systems as capital goods and services to be the object of speculation, stock and collaterals.”
Implications of PPP
Dr Ojo highlighted the implications of water privatisation to include the trampling of citizens rights to water, skyrocketing price hikes of water or even priced out of the reach of vulnerable groups, the translation of water commodification to channels through which gigantic water projects that are capital intensive become wasteful channels and waste pipes to drain away scarce resources, huge borrowing, loan servicing with anti people conditions and public debt.
Mr. Bassey described water as “an essential right without which no other right can be enjoyed.” According to him, “water is the basis for life. Every human person needs water in sufficient quantities to live and do so in dignity.”
“Avoidable deaths and diseases continue to wrack the portions of the world where citizens do not have adequate and safe water and sanitation. This situation will prevail unless citizens of the world confront the roadblocks and realise that the claiming of their right to water and sanitation is an essential political project.” He said.
For Leonard Shang-Quartey, Water Rights campaigner in Ghana and policy analyst with Integrated Social Development Centre, the PPP is “an affront to human rights to water and the need for multinationals to make profits off water from countries that are in dire need to provide water for their countries”
“This arose in reaction to the PPPs which have been posted as a concept without alternative. We think an alternative exists when government engages with civil society and ordinary people; some of these solutions would be suggested”. Says Shang- Quartey.
The meeting discussed and agreed on next steps for growing a network of organisations, protecting human rights to water across the African continent and globally with a view to mobilize, resist, and change, as well as kick against water commodisation a false solution to access and delivery.
Participants who saw the summit as a way of providing assistance to government, agreed on the need to continue to engage governments, especially the Lagos State government and work on bills to bring together all existing laws on water as well as mobilize legislators in the campaign.
A director at ERA/FoEN, Oluwafemi Akinbode identified the social conflict in the preset arrangement and called on the Lagos State government to emulate the models of water systems in Ghana.
Shayda Naficy, Director International Water Campaign of Corporate Accountability International also urged the Lagos State government to copy models of water systems in the global south where they have strong public management and oversight with the Human rights to water as focus instead of commodity.
“We need to push for forums where they are non-existent for concerns of citizens/ordinary people to be registered in decisions” Shang-Quatey insists.
Official statistics say more than half of the Nigerian population have no access to clean water and more than two thirds have no access to sanitation. Only 7 million people in Lagos would have water while 15 million would go without if the existing water supply facilities worked at full stream with uninterrupted power supply. Lagos state currently produces 660 million gallons per day of water for a population of 22 million.
Source: Voice of Nigeria
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