[ssf] More water

Chris Malins c.malins at sheffield.ac.uk
Mon Mar 21 12:46:48 GMT 2005

In the spirit of world water day, from an article about EU demands on 
Least Developed countries to liberalise water and sanitation under the 
GATS, in exchange for concessions on agricultural issues. Note that even 
business is not asking for GATS commitment of water provision:

Agreeing to the EU's request would give stability for companies looking 
to become involved in developing markets, said Mr Jennsen (of DG Trade). 
"It is a guarantee against sudden policy reversals", he said.

But his views were countered by an unlikely combination of development 
NGOs and multi-national water utilities already operating in the 
developing world, saying that giving access to foreign companies bound 
by a multilateral agreement would not help developing countries.

"I don’t think opening up developing countries’ water services under 
GATS will achieve what needs to be done", to help poor regions gain 
access to drinking water, said Richard Aylard, head of corporate 
development and external affairs for RWE Thames Water, the German-owned 
utility that serves the London area.

"When we were analysing the agreement, we couldn’t find any real 
benefits for companies or developing countries. Water is a local issue 
but trade negotiations are handled by national governments. There is 
often a disconnect between the national level and local needs and 
applications", said Mr Aylard.


More information about the ssf mailing list