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THE WATER MANIFESTO Arguments for a World Water Contract

Riccardo Petrella, author of The Limits to Competition

In 20 years time, some 3 of the 8 billion people on earth will, if present trends continue, lack access to sufficient drinkable water. Already, half that number do not and another two billion lack clean water generally. The rest of humanity faces a degradation in the quality of fresh water supplies because of agricultural and industrial pollution. And we lack a body of international law regulating the right and access to fresh water supplies.

Riccardo Petrella analyses the reasons. He shows up the obstacles in the way of an adequate response, focussing on those with power -- including those corporate interests in the water industry who build the dams, control the catchment areas, and distribute what were previously publicly owned water supplies. And he sets out a cogent critique of a market-oriented system that sees water as a commodity rather than a precious community resource and fundamental human right.

In an urgent call to action, his book calls for a world water contract which would enshrine fresh water as an essential good to which all people have a right. It should be controlled by communities in the public interest, and with international rules for its equitable management and distribution. He also calls on citizens, NGOs and parliamentarians all over the world to mobilize around these demands, as well as for an immediate programme of fresh water provision for the rural and urban poor.

Contents Acknowledgements

The Role of Politics: A Preface Mario Soares

1. Achieving the First Revolution of the 21st Century

More than a democratic reconquest of information: The road to financial disarmament The basic meaning of the 'water revolution': A right to life for all We don't have time to wait until the year 2030 The fundamental questions

2. The Obstacle: The Lords of Water

Warlords Money lords Technology lords

3. Building a Different Future: A World Water Contract

The World Water Contract Three major critical situations Towards the World Contract The founding principle Principal objectives Priority targets Means and instruments of targeted action

4. Conclusions

The Water Manifesto: A Summary



Riccardo Petrella is perhaps best known in the English-speaking world for his path-breaking book, The Limits to Competition. This book, widely seen as the 1990s counterpart to the Club of Rome's Limits to Growth report of the 1970s, was first published in 1995 while Riccardo Petrella was President of the Group of Lisbon. It soon became an intellectual bestseller in the United States and has been now translated and published in ten languages.

Born in 1941, a social scientist by background, Riccardo Petrella became a leading member of Jacques Delors' team at the European Union when it was trying to deepen the social content of the EU as a political project to which the ordinary man -- and woman -- in the street could relate. Committed to a vision in which humanbeings rather than the market become the centrepiece for a new global social contract which can provide renewed hope and optimism for the future.

Riccardo Petrella's new book is an important development of certain ideas first outlined in The Limits to Competition. He is currently teaching at the Catholic University of Louvain.

Farouk Sohawon

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