Joint Declaration of the Movements in Defense of Water on occasion of the 4th World Water Forum

March 16-22, Mexico City. One and a half billion people across the world lack drinking water and another two billion lack clean water generally. In 20 years' time these numbers will have doubled. Agricultural and industrial pollution is degrading the quality of fresh water supplies everywhere.

Yet the biggest threat to universal access to clean water and adequate sanitation is not mother nature but corporate globalization.

Privatization of water is being aggressively exported to the developing world under the rubric of poverty reduction and debt relief strategies, free trade and economic development.

In this context, civil society demands that access to drinking water be recognized as a universal human right as stated in the UN Committee on Economic, Social, Cultural Rights in 2002 during its 29th Session in Geneva (, as well as the exclusion of the WTO and of all international, multilateral and bilateral free trade agreements from water.

On the occasion of the 4th World Water Forum social movements and NGOs organized a side event meeting and issued a Joint Declaration of the Movements in Defense of Water .

Further information available at:

MexicoCity, March 19, 2006

JointDeclaration of the Movements in Defense of Water

FromMarch 14 to 19th, we, human beings with a holistic vision of life,activists from social movements, non-governmental organizations, and networksthat struggle throughout the world in the defense of water and territory and forthe commons, have shared ideas, struggles, worries and proposals. At the sametime we have realized how our struggles have brought change around the world,slowing the process of water privatization. Now that we are not on the defensive,we are capable of promoting concrete proposals advancing in the life of everycorner of our world.

Withthe spirit of Caracas which brought together many global organizations in thedefense of water, now we have in our history and in our hearts the struggles ofLa Parota, La Laguna, Xoxocotla. Acuitapilco and many others of Mexico andaround the world. The humanity and the commitment of those who have organizedthis Forum is a great success in the construction of our movement.

Forall of this, in continuity with the meetings of previous years during the WorldSocial Fora, social movements around the world struggle for a holistic andecological vision of the right to water and against its commodification in allspheres (domestic, agricultural and industrial), and we come together in aplatform of common action, seeing the struggles of each locality within theframework of a global strategy.


  1. Water in all of its forms is a common good and access to water is a fundamental and inalienable human right. Water is the patrimony of communities, of the people, and of humanity, the basic element of all life on our planet. Water is not a commodity. For these reasons we reject all forms of privatization, including that of public-private partnerships that have been revealed to be a complete failure around the world.
  2. Management and control of water must be public, social, cooperative, participatory, equitable, and not for profit. It is the obligation of all local, national and international public institutions to guarantee these conditions from the planning stages through the delivery of water services.
  3. Solidarity between present and future generations should be guaranteed, and for this reason we reject the neoliberal, consumerist development model that promotes overexploitation of Mother Nature.
  4. Sustainable management of ecosystems and the preservation of the water cycle is necessary by way of the proper administration of territories and the conservation of natural environments. Watersheds are fundamental units of public management, a factor in community identity and unity, where popular participation is effected. The defense of water implies recuperating the health of ecosystems from the catchment basin to the treatment of residual waters.
  5. In regards to the aforementioned, we affirm our direct opposition to all World Water Fora as meetings of large transnational corporations, international financial institutions (the World Bank, the Interamerican Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, etc.) and of the world’s powerful governments, for being exclusive and antidemocratic. For these reasons we reject the legitimacy of these organizations which ignore the demands and the real needs of the people and which, on the contrary, continue seeking new forms of commercialization of water, disregarding the extremely high human, social and ecological costs of this neoliberal model.


Onall organizations, social movements, governments and parliaments to includethese principles in local, national and international laws and regulations.

Onall citizens of the planet to develop collective actions to unite, organize, andrealize proposals for change through the articulation of a global water movement.


Theexclusion of the WTO and of all international, multilateral and bilateral freetrade agreements from water.

Theabolition of the International Center for International Centre forSettlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), considering theexperiences of Cochabamba and other localities that want to restore thesovereignty of their common resources to public control.

Therestoration and promotion of the public, social cooperative, participatory andholistic management of water.

Wedemand that every human being have access and the right to water of good qualityand in quantity sufficient for hygiene and good nutrition and that, in placeswhere there is potable water delivery service, the minimum necessary amountshould be allocated free of charge regardless of any differences, whether ofculture, society, religion, geography, economy or gender. We reject any doublestandard. No corporation, government or international institution can stop waterservice in domestic uses for lack of payment.

Industriesand corporations responsible for contamination of water resources must repairany damage, whether environmental, human, or economic, that they have caused.


Forillegitimate all demands for profits and indemnities by transnationalcorporations.

Anyfinancing from International Financial Institutions that is conditional on theliberalization and privatization of water services.

Nationaland regional legislation that invites the process of privatization andcommercialization of water.

Thepredatory and unsustainable model of water management based on megaprojects,dams, port construction, mining exploitation and bottling water.


Topromote the development of high-quality public water management services thatfunction democratically and by way of the equitable exchange of skills andknowledge, sharing all knowledge whether it be technical, capacity-building, orinvolving financing schemes and proposals for a model that is public, social,cooperative and participatory.

Topromote education and community organization about the responsible andsustainable use of water.

Toshare and make known experiences of the development of solidarity funds for thefinancing of public, social, cooperative and participatory water management.

Thecreation of international and regional observatories as meeting points forsocial organizations, movements and cooperative networks in order to exercisesocial control over the activities of transnational corporations andinternational financial institutions, and which will also involve parliaments,local governments and democratic institutions.

Toadvance the demand that governments and businesses repair the damage they havecaused to human populations through contamination and lack of access to waterservices.

Tostrengthen existing international tribunals and to promote the formation ofadditional such tribunals in diverse regions of the world.


Topromote a global action plan to continue the process of the construction andmobilization of solidarity networks in the defense of water.

Topromote, from the base of local struggles, a solidarity platform on a globallevel that will strengthen and unify a global water movement.

Tovalue the contribution of women, indigenous and aboriginal peoples, youth andall people incorporating the defense of their rights in the development ofmodels that show that another form of water management is possible.

Tocontinue this process and to enrich it with all possible contributions in thesucceeding gatherings that our movements will organize around the world, fromthe EncuentroEnlazando Alternativas Unión Europea-America Latina in May in Vienna,the Gathering of the Community of South American Nations in Bolivia in Septemberand the Assembly of Citizens for Water in Brussels in December.

Underthese conditions the world water movement commits to realizing three collectiveactions:

  1. A simultaneous, collective, global action between September and October of 2006.
  2. To take up a common slogan for all of our activities: The right to water is possible: public participatory management.
  3. This declaration will be made public through press conferences in each locality upon returning to our homes as a collective statement of the global water movement.

Signedon this 19th day of March, 2006, in Mexico, Tenochtitlan, by theorganizations from more than 40 countries participating in the InternationalForum in the Defense of Water

Apreliminary list will be ready shortly. If you wish to sign this declarationplease send an email to comdainfo@hotmail.comindicating your country.