Press release / 20 March 2023

A Transformative Water Pact : A radical response to the global water governance crisis

Academics and civil society representatives from around the world came together to articulate an alternative vision and framework for water governance, in the run-up to the UN Water Conference 2023 in New York. The Transformative Water Pact was developed in response to the continued exploitation of nature, neglect of human rights and the extreme power-imbalances that characterize contemporary water governance throughout the world. It details an alternative vision of water governance based on the tenets of environmental justice, equality and care.

Murtah Shannon, Both ENDS: "Mainstream policy continues to offer more of the same when it comes to tackling the global water crises; more technology, more data, more finance, more markets. But the water crisis is an environmental justice crisis and as long as the underlying power imbalances remain unaddressed, such called "solutions" will continue to reinforce the status quo at the expense of people and nature".  For decades, environmental justice advocates have been drawing attention to the injustices produced by water related policies and interventions such as the construction of large-scale dams in rivers, industrial water extraction and land reclamation near coasts, as well as to the many indigenous practices and community innovations that offer a glimpse of a better future. "So far, however, there has not been a concerted effort to consolidate these diverse movements under a shared vision of water governance. With this pact, we hope to take a first step in that direction".

Urgent need for systemic change

The Transformative Water Pact was developed through several online round-tables by a coalition of more than 40 water environmental justice advocates from around the world, most notably the global South, all of whom work on a variety of water-issues. They all recognize that the world is in urgent need of a systemic change towards sustainable and equitable water governance.

Nadine Sander, IHE-Delft: "The Pact not only consists of a set of key principles that all participants agreed on, but also provides a tangible and concrete framework for action to guide decision-making for transformative change in water governance. It's aimed at all actors – mainly within the area of water governance - that support these principals and are committed to incorporating them in their own area of expertise and sphere of influence, such as policy-makers, private sector, government organizations, NGO's, academics and community groups.

Suppport and endorsement

The Transformative water pact is available in 8 languages and can be found and endorsed on this website. To gain attention and support, it will be promoted during the coming months, starting with an online event on March 23rd in collaboration with Latin-America based network Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) and the Colombian Government.

More information:

Website Transformative Water Pact

Online event 23rd of March: Towards just water governance in Colombia; a dialogue on the Transformative Water Pact

AIDA network

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