chapter  16
24 Pages

Commons versus commodities: political ecologies of water privatization

ByKAREN BAKKER

The World Water Forum – a global gathering held every three years to debate the world’s most urgent water issues – is intended to be a solemn affair. But protests invariably disrupt the proceedings. The meeting in the Dutch city of The Hague in March 2000 was typical: as Egypt’s Minister of Public Works and Water Resources began to give his inaugural speech, two audience members – one male, one female – suddenly appeared on stage. In full view of the audience of dignitaries and government ministers, the protesters approached the presidential table, removed their clothes and handcuffed themselves together. Strategically scrawled on their bodies were the words “No to Water Privatization” and “Yes to Water as a Human Right.”