Defending the Human Right to Water as Key Fight to Securing Water for Our Future


14 April 2015 – Participants of the 2015 Daegu Alternative World Water Forum

In Solidarity with South Korean Civil Society

We, water justice movements in Asia, express our solidarity with South Korean trade unions, civil society groups and social movements who are gathered in Daegu for the Alternative Forum—Water for All in Korea on April 13-14 in a common struggle to defend and realize our human right to water and keep water as part of the commons.

We stand with the Korean Government Employees’ Union (KGEU) in challenging the water privatization and corporatization model that is being imposed on Korea’s public water system and those of many other Asian countries. Already proven as flawed and anti-people, this model of governance that privileges the private sector has continuously been pushed by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other international financial institutions (IFIs), and adopted by governments in pursuit of neoliberal agenda. The very same neoliberal model has led to violations of the right to water and sanitation in many developing countries, transformed water into a commodity, made the market as the arbiter of value and allocator of resources and contributed substantively to deepening the multiple crises of water, food and energy.

We join their voices in exposing and resisting the “Green Economy” championed by the Korean government and its corporation, K-Water. An expression of warped, capitalist logic, the Green Economy believes in putting a price on nature and its functions as a way of safeguarding them, with little or no concern for people’s access, especially impoverished communities, and the water cycle and its interconnections. The wide support this has so far garnered from big business warns us of the deeper economic, social and environmental inequities and crises that this usher. It will only intensify the corporate capture of water and subordinate our societies and nature to financial markets. This model will not provide access to water and sanitation for all and will not support a sustainable world.

We also support the campaigns of KGEU and other Korean water movements in instituting the right to water and sanitation in policy and practice. We remain committed to sharing and strengthening links between and among our experiences against various forms of on-going water privatization projects, such as so called Public-Private Partnerships and corporatization measures under the banner of “New Public Management” in Nagpur, Manila, Osaka, Cebu and other major cities.

We join the fight to defend and reclaim public water through de-privatization and public-public and public-community partnerships and to build democratic models of water service provision, resource management and watershed protection. Water is a vital resource, without which all life on earth would perish. For this reason, water must remain in the public domain.

Our struggles and movements in Asia are slowly turning the tide of privatization. In Indonesia, citizens’ movements persisting in education, organizing and mobilization efforts, succeeding in pressuring the annulment of an 18-year World Bank-imposed water law policy and declare water as part of the commons. In India, the newly elected government in New Delhi committed to the provision of free basic water for the city’s residents, issued its own declaration recognizing water as a human right and rejected private for-profit services.

With these and many other gains, we will continue to advocate and campaign together with our South Korean and Asian counterparts, as well as water justice movements in other regions for democratic public control over water services and resources, targeting in particular, the IFIs the multinational corporations and colluding neoliberal states.

Through resolute and sustained actions, we will continue to steadily make strides forward in truly securing water for our future, based on the principles of human rights, gender equality, social justice, peoples’ participation, transparency, accountability and democratization of water governance.

IFIs, MNCs out of water! Water in people’s hands! No to commodification and privatization of water resources and services! Respect, protect and fulfill the human right to water!

Signed by:

  • Advocacy and Monitoring Network on Sustainable Development (AM-NET), Japan
  • Alliance of Government Workers in the Water Sector (AGWWAS), Philippines
  • All Nepal Peasants Federation (ANFPA), Nepal
  • Aniban ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA), Philippines
  • Focus on the Global South (Thailand, Philippines, India and Cambodia)
  • Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
  • Globalization Monitor, Hong Kong
  • KRUHA, Indonesia
  • Jagaran, Nepal
  • Jubilee South- Asia Pacific Movement for Debt and Development (Asia-wide)
  • Nadi Ghati Morcha, India
  • Our Rivers, Our Life – Philippines
  • Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Philippines
  • Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), Philippines
  • Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA), Thailand
  • ZENSUIDO, Japan

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