For Immediate Release: October 21, 2008
Washington D.C. – Maude Barlow, board chair of the U.S. advocacy group Food & Water Watch, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians and founder of the Blue Planet Project, has been appointed as the first Senior Advisor on water issues by Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd session of the United Nations.
Barlow, reacting to the announcement, says she is honored to be working with someone of President d'Escoto's caliber. "I am excited for the year ahead, and am pleased to note that President d'Escoto has already adopted the call for water to be recognized as a human right."
In his letter to Barlow, confirming her appointment as Senior Advisor, President d'Escoto says, "One of the priority issues for my Presidency is the need to achieve the goals of the United Nations Decade "Water for Life" (2005-2015)… Given your outstanding experience, your creativity and your leadership in water issues, I would like to appoint you as my Senior Advisor for this 63rd session of the General Assembly."
"This is a wonderful opportunity to advance a more democratic and transparent method of policy making around water at the global level than now exists," says Barlow, in reference to her new role. "Water is a public trust, and a human right."
"I firmly believe that our Assembly, as the most representative and democratic global political body, is the right forum to debate policy, affirm principles and provide answers for the global water crisis that you have worked so hard to put on our agenda," continues d'Escoto in his letter. "I am looking to leaders like you, who combine humanitarian vision with a practical approach to problem solving, to help me."
"There has been growing momentum in the international community for water justice," adds Barlow. "I also plan to take this opportunity to get the United States and Canadian governments to change their shameful positions, and to finally join the international community in recognizing water as a human right."
"Water is not a commodity to be bought and sold on the open market," d'Escoto said in his Inaugural Address to the 63rd General Assembly. "Those who seek to derive economic advantage, even from the worst of human tragedies, are pursuing the privatization of water, thereby denying peoples a human right as basic as the air we breathe."
"Maude has spent her life effectively fighting the forces that seek to put water under the control of giant corporations," said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch. "She has written 15 books and contributed to many more about the right to water, democracy, and the looming threats from continuing with the global corporate economic model. But it is water, the right to water and the need to keep it out of private hands that inspires Maude. She is a driving force in the continued quest to break private control of water where it now exists, prevent the moneyed interests from controlling water in the future, and, perhaps most importantly, ensuring that we enshrine water as a human right for everyone, everywhere."
President d'Escoto's letter appointing Maude Barlow as Senior Advisor on water justice can be read in its entirety at: www.canadians.org
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