Some lessons from recent water forums in France

Activists stage a protest in central Marseille during the 6th World Water Forum held in France. Photo by: International Rivers / CC BY-NC-SA

How and where should decisions on development policy and solutions to pressing global challenges be made? Is it during big, international conferences or through public consultations with civil society groups and other stakeholders? Or perhaps on the streets through protests?

The Guardian’s Claire Provost raises these questions in a post on the newspaper’s Poverty Matters’ blog. The context: the recently concluded World Water Forum and the activists-hosted Alternative World Water Forum held in France.

A key takeaway fom these events, Provosts says, is that there is a change in perspective on how water policy should be shaped and how future services are managed and delivered.

Provost explains the alternative forum, along with other movements outside France, shows a “growing discontent, for example, with the centralized power structures in which ‘solutions’ are often proposed and top-down, one-size-fits-all, blueprints devised.”

Future conferences, particularly the upcoming Rio+20, should take note of this, she adds. 

“Will Rio+20 be another game of ‘show and tell’ or will we see a bit more of that unruly ‘democracy-of-action’?”

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About the author

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.