Photograph: World Social Forum press

“Joining the struggles that exist around the world on the issue of water grabbing and making this phenomenon more visible”

This was the main objective of the workshop Stop Water Grabbing organized by COSPE at the World Social Forum 2015 on 26th March. If  there’s already a shared struggle and also a clear definition for the land grabbing, the water grabbing phenomenon is perhaps  less obvious than land grabbing but it is just as strong, just as harmful and it is manifested in many forms: water grabbing means the use of water for unsustainable agriculture, an invasive agriculture which replaces the small farmers one, for example with intensive crops like sugar cane or corn, productions whose consumption does not leave water to the people. Water grabbing includes also the militarization of the water (as in the Middle East, particularly in Palestine, in Iraq, Amazon etc …), privatization, pollution and contamination from metals mining.
In general we have water grabbing whenever the water becomes a commodity or a financial asset and this happens more and more often. Surely it’s not a natural event and it depends mainly on the liberal policies that govern the world. Comparing the experiences and testimonies from around the world present in Tunis, from Colombia to Swaziland, from Ghana, Iraq and Turkey, it is even more clear how the phenomenon is global and multifaceted: entire populations forced to migrate , to move, to leave their lands and whole areas of our planet destroyed or damaged irreversibly, activists arrested around the world, or persecuted, opposed both by private interests but also by institutions and by the states themselves.

The struggles against this new form of exploitation result a struggle for the right to water, food, but also a struggle to express human rights. In all interventions there is a first output urgency: to give visibility to this phenomenon.
The site watergrabbing.net, launched last October in Italy by COSPE, was created with this intention. Along the lines of other experiences implemented successfully for land grabbing, the platform was created to share experiences, information, research and report cases and also the struggles of small local movements.
The objective is to be able to put more and more the water grabbing to the international attention. Is it not enough but it is a first concrete start and a big motivation for advocacy actions. And it is from here that could share many associations and activists gathered in Tunis.