The World Water Forum is another tool in the corporate move to shift policy debates to opaque, elite forums insulated from broad democratic participation, asserting market assumptions as a starting-point for water policy. Since its 1997 inception, the WWF has been a lightning-rod for international protest, as a prime example of corporate interference with water governance. Organized by the private trade association, the World Water Council, in conjunction with host governments, this year’s Forum will be held in France, the home of the two largest water corporations, Suez and Veolia. While the movement to reclaim public control of water has made major strides in France in recent years, most notably with the 2010 transition of the Paris water utility back to public control, the Forum location of Marseille remains a stronghold for the private water industry, and the home turf of the World Water Council.
As the World Water Forum gathers in Marseille, France, for its 6th meeting since 1997, water rights activists are criticizing the corporate-led, profit-motivated gathering as a move for global control of water.
Shayda Naficy, senior organizer of Corporate Accountability International's Challenge Corporate Control of our Water, slams the forum as a platform for corporations to push their privatization efforts: