EWP at the Alternative World Water Forum
Following our call for applications in last month’s newsletter, we have selected seven members to sponsor to attend the Alternative World Water Forum in Dakar from 22-25 March.
Our delegation will use this opportunity to connect with fellow water justice activists across the globe, to share knowledge and to learn from others. The People’s Forum offers a broad programme with sessions on gender, lessons from the pandemic, resistance to water privatisation, and the future of democratic water ownership.
As well as supporting members’ participation in the People’s Forum, we hope to convene a session titled ‘Expanding civic space – state repression of water rights claiming’ on Wednesday 23 March at 2pm UTC. We will send a separate newsletter invite with more details in the next week.
What about the official World Water Forum?
Alongside the People’s Forum, the official World Water Forum will be hosted 30km outside Dakar from 21-26 March. Although extortionate registration fees prevent proper civil society participation, we look forward to supporting members’ engagement online. While some members have self-funded their travel to Dakar, others have submitted global policy demands and lobbied for a more inclusive Forum through The Butterfly Effect, an international civil society movement that promotes local solutions to improving water and sanitation access.
World Water Day
Making Rights Real published two interviews with End Water Poverty’s secretariat in February. Our international coordinator Alana Potter spoke about realising rights through legal activism. When asked for an example of legal activism in practice, Alana cited a case study from the Socio-Economic Rights Institute’s Claiming Water Rights series in which residents of Marikana informal settlement litigated against the City of Cape Town to secure their homes alongside services like water and sanitation. Alana ended by offering hope to civil society working in countries that do not recognise the rights to water and sanitation in domestic law: “Don’t feel defeated. Yes, legal reform is possible, yes continue to advocate to domesticate international human rights law using all the invited & formal participatory mechanisms available.”
In a separate interview our engagement officer Sam Taylor discussed all things Claim Your Water Rights: our aims, our tactics, our members’ achievements. Sam emphasised the need to embrace diverse campaign approaches: “The more varied the tactics, the better. We support whatever tactics members decide is the best for their context. This includes unconditional backing to members who see confrontation as an effective way of achieving their advocacy aims.” Sam ended by sharing success stories – from legislative reform to communities successfully claiming their rights through media pressure and threats to lodge complaints.
We are grateful to Making Rights Real for providing a platform to share our coalition’s remarkable work.