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Municipal Services Project Blog

July 12, 2012
Walking down the streets of Cape Town with hundreds of global health movement activists from over 90 countries, it all looked so familiar. Twelve years ago, we had come together in Bangladesh, and had marched down the streets of Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, giving rise to the People’s Health Movement. At our Third Assembly in July 2012, activists were full of purpose and resolve, at the same time as celebratory and forward-looking. Held in the somber backdrop of the global crisis, it served to consolidate the movement’s advances and to envision a different future for the countless people being consigned today to leading a life that is unfulfilling, unhealthy and lacking in meaningful opportunities for human development.
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June 21, 2012
After a wave of water privatizations in the 1990s, activists started to push back with using rights and litigations to reverse private deals. To understand what’s been going on we’ve looked at some of the most interesting legal struggles from around the world, six of which have captured the international water movement’s imagination. Citizen-backed referendum campaigns and civil society-led litigation appeared to be favourite tactics in the legal arsenal to (re)claim water.
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May 7, 2012
I’d known for some time that some public pension funds had been investing in privatized services but I hadn’t realized how pervasive it was or what the potential was to do something more progressive with this money. And we are talking about trillions of dollars generated by public sector employees and employers, and money produced from natural resources or trade surpluses in the case of sovereign wealth funds. A mere 1% of such funds' current assets could generate $100 billion to kick-start an ‘infrastructure bank’ that could finance basic public services worldwide.
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April 27, 2012
It took a month before the Alternative World Water Forum (FAME) organizers released the final declaration of the participants last week, a far cry from the pre-drafted statements we normally get out of official forums. After heated debates, most concerns and issues were incorporated. Importantly, the declaration criticizes the market-based approach being promoted by the idea of the 'green economy' put forward for Rio+20, which assigns private property rights to nature, including water. Participants emphasize not only the collective resolve to rethink the dominant market-driven model of water management and governance but also propose a new vision to achieve the “future we want”.
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January 18, 2012
After 10 years of being critical of privatization it was time for a change. It can be depressing being negative all the time, and it felt like the debate on public versus private services was trapped in a stalemate. I also knew there were hundreds of remarkable examples of innovative new forms of public service delivery all over the world, and decades’ worth of successful ‘old style’ public services. The problem was that these stories weren’t getting the airtime they deserved.
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