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Karunananthan speaks at 'People, Planet and Water' conference

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We are at the People, Planet and Water conference, a "meeting for international civil society propositions," one of several progressive gatherings prior to the corporate-dominated World Water Forum in Marseille.

At this moment, there is a gathering for the presentation of the book, The Human Right to Water and Sanitation at the United Nations: Victory and Challenges for the World’s Peoples. Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow authored a key chapter in this book.

On a panel now discussing the themes of the book are Elizabeth Peredo (Solon Fundacion), Cristian Villarroel (Chile Sustentable) and Meera Karunananthan (Council of Canadians/ Blue Planet Project).

Elizabeth spoke about the struggle to have the United Nations General Assembly recognize the human right to water and sanitation, while Cristian discussed key water issues in Chile, including pension funds (like the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan) owning once-public water utilities and how this limits the realization of the right to water and sanitation.

Meera highlighted that the global movement for the right to water has the momentum now, while attendance at the corporate World Water Forum has dramatically declined. She noted too that we need to make the recognition of the right to water real by implementing it in national legislation, as was done in Uruguay. She noted too that governments have been asked to step outside of the World Water Forum and meet with civil society to work toward a UN conference on the implementation of the right to water and sanitation. And she identified Canada as one of the countries that pushed to remove right to water language from the ministerial declaration associated with the World Water Forum.

For more on the People, Planet and Water conference please see www.france-libertes.fr.

Brent Patterson, Political Director, The Council of Canadians

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