How Privatisation Undermines the Human Right to Water and Sanitation

Access to safe water and sanitation has long been internationally recognised as a basic human right, essential for life. But when water becomes a marketable commodity rather than a public good, it is inevitable that human rights are undermined.

End Water Poverty has consistently highlighted the importance of accountability to achieving the human right and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on water and sanitation. This raises a fundamental question: What happens to the human right to water and sanitation when a government hands accountability to a private corporation?

In September 2018, the United Nations released a groundbreaking report highlighting the detrimental effects of privatisation on human rights and the poorest in society. Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights criticised the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the UN for aggressively promoting the widespread privatisation of basic services, and governments for undermining human rights.

Read more on the website of End Water Powerty

Hydropower projects on the Vjosa: Bern Convention opens case-file against Albania

Strasbourg, Radolfzell, Vienna - December 3, 2018

The Bern Convention decided to open a case-file and called on the Albanian government to halt the hydropower plant projects on the Vjosa River. Instead, the government should prepare appropriate strategic environmental impact assessments and additional studies to evaluate the environmental impacts of the projected hydropower plants. The Vjosa is one of the very last unspoilt rivers of Europe. As part of the campaign “Save the Blue Heart of Europe”, environmental NGOs EuroNatur (Germany), Riverwatch (Austria) and EcoAlbania fight to protect the Vjosa.

The Bern Convention is among the most important nature conservation agreements in Europe. Accordingly, the decision is a moment of joy for EcoAlbania, who had filed the complaint. “The Vjosa river network is really unique and of pan-European value. Now we and the representatives of the Bern Convention have to keep a very close eye on what steps the Albanian government will take to implement the twelve recommendations adopted by the Standing Committee”, says EcoAlbania CEO Olsi Nika.

Read more on the website of Save the Blue Heart of Europe

Social agreement for water in defense of our rivers and for public water

March, 22, 2018

A wide range of (Spanish) civil society organizations and entities agree that we are facing a really decisive moment to recover and maintain the good state of conservation of our aquatic ecosystems, not only to comply with the Water Framework Directive and other commitments. Europeans in this area, but to adapt to the reality imposed by climate change, reduce our vulnerability to the growing risks of drought and floods and ensure sustainable use of water, with demands adapted to the resources actually available. On the other hand, we face privatization pressures, both in terms of the commodification of water rights and the privatization of water and sanitation services and even irrigation management.

The unsustainable growth of water demands, both in irrigation and urban-industrial uses, is currently one of the main problems to achieve a sustainable use of water and the good ecological status of our ecosystems.

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Spain fined €12 million for failing to treat urban waste water

26 July 2018

Nearly 18 years after deadline expired, nine municipalities still lack proper collection or treatment systems.

The European Court of Justice on Wednesday ordered Spain to pay a €12 million fine for prolonged failure to comply with a European directive on urban waste water collection and treatment.

In an earlier judgment issued in 2011, this court had found that there were still 43 agglomerations with a population of 15,000 or more that failed to meet EU standards, even though member states were supposed to have adequate collection and treatment systems in place since 2001.

Spain was given a 2013 deadline to comply, but the deadline expired and 17 localities were still discharging their waste water without proper treatment.

In 2017, the EU Commission brought new action, and the Court of Justice has now fined Spain a lump sum of €12 million, plus a penalty payment of €11 million for every six-month period of delay in getting the remaining municipalities up to speed on their water treatment standards.

As of today, there are nine Spanish municipalities that still fail to meet EU urban waste water regulations: seven in Andalusia (Matalascañas, Alhaurín el Grande, Isla Cristina, Tarifa, Coín, Nerja and Barbate), one in Asturias (Gijón Este) and one in the Canary Islands (Valle de Güímar).

Read more on website of El País

Over 120,000 petition development banks to Save the Blue Heart of Europe and drop destructive hydropower in the Balkans

21 june 2018

London, Prague, Radolfzell, Vienna  – Representatives from the Save the Blue Heart of Europe campaign to save Europe’s last remaining wild rivers handed in a petition endorsed globally by more than 120,000 people, calling on international development banks to rein in financial support for hydropower projects in the Balkans.

Delivered to the London headquarters of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the petition targets the funding of the EBRD, the World Bank and the EU’s European Investment Bank, which together have funded at least 82 hydropower plants across the Balkans – of which 37 are located in protected areas – with EUR 727 million in total investments.

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