UNESCOPRESS reported yesterday from Paris where the ceremony launching the International Year of Water Cooperation took place. UN-Water Chair Michel Jarraud emphasized UNESCO efforts “in favor of water diplomacy as an essential instrument of dialogue and cooperation to create a more peaceful world.” Others, including Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians President, warn that the UN Water agenda is at risk of being hijacked by big business, reports IPS News. “We don’t need the United Nations to promote private sector participation under the guise of greater ‘cooperation,’” she said, “when these same companies force their way into communities and make huge profits from the basic right to water and sanitation.”
Rebels Seize Largest Dam in Syria
Al Jazeera reports claims that the Taqba Dam on the Euphrates near Damascus in Syria has been seized by anti-government rebels yesterday. If confirmed, this would be the third dam on the Euphrates taken by the rebel group. The hydroelectric dam is the largest in Syria, and is both a crucial infrastructure stronghold and a symbol of the Assad family’s legacy and power. However, with power and water supplies scant and unreliable in the civil war-torn nation, the implications of the dam’s seizure by rebels is expected to have little effect on the electrical supply there.
Water Anti-Privatization Petition in EU Grows Support
Over one million signatures have been added to a petition run by the “Water as a Human Right” organization which seeks to prevent the privatization of water infrastructure, reports Bloomberg. The organization is hoping to collect sufficient number of signatures from at least seven of the EU’s 27 member states to then move toward drafting the petition as formal legislation.
Allison Voglesong is an editorial intern for Circle of Blue based out of Traverse City, Michigan. She holds a BA in International Relations from Michigan State University's James Madison College. Her interests include water pricing, environmental economics and policy, and conflict mediation.
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