Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon: Global

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon: Global

Article excerpt

Although much overshadowed by the war in Iraq, environmentalists, businessmen and charity workers met at the World Water Forum in Kyoto last week to discuss why 1.2 billion people still have no access to clean water. The United Nations has set a target of reducing this by half by 2015. But Michel Camdessus, the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, warns that the target will not be met because only $80 billion a year is being invested annually in the global water supply against the required $180 billion. Returns are too low thanks to corruption and mismanagement in the Third World.

Part of the problem is that Western anti-globalisation lobbyists, who themselves enjoy clean water, have been preaching a message that water and profit do not mix. A Canadian pressure group, the Blue Planet Project, has persuaded many charities to sign its `indigenous declaration on water', claiming water to be a `global common' which should be freely available to all, like `air and our own genetic code'. …

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