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Published on 20/04/2021

Water for life, not for profit!

Statement of Coalition Eau signed by 530 civil society organisations for World Water Day

On 22 March 2021, the United Nations celebrates World Water Day. The official theme of this day is “Valuing Water”, a title that should ring alarm bells: there is only a short step between the idea of value and the idea of price! Yet, ascribing nature a financial value is a growing phenomenon, which has just culminated in the listing on the stock exchange of the most essential element for humanity and life: water.


Listing water on the stock exchange: a crime against life!

On 7 December 2020, the world’s largest financial derivatives exchange, CME Group, launched the first water futures market. […] In theory, futures contracts should make it possible to combat price volatility and provide security for farmers. In reality, the opposite is true. […]

Pollution, overexploitation, commodification, grabbing, disruption of cycles… All these pressures are already exerted on aquatic ecosystems, because of our development models.  In the context of this widespread water crisis it is becoming an ideal financial investment for speculators, because everyone needs it to live and nothing can replace it. […]

But water is the source of life, it cannot be considered a commodity, nor a financial investment or object of speculation. Given the threats posed by the pandemic and climate crisis worldwide, we must urgently realise this. Allowing the markets to dictate the way water is distributed and managed undermines people’s human rights and is grossly irresponsible given the world’s perilous ecological and health situation.

Let’s protect water, our common good

While the UN recognised the human right to water more than ten years ago, a wake-up call is now necessary. To make the right to water a reality for everyone, we must reject this purely economic and utilitarian vision of water. […] Across the world, people are becoming organised to have their right to water recognised and demand their full participation in policies relating to watersheds. Numerous collectives are denouncing control of water by private interests and resisting projects endangering water in their locality. […]

That is why, this World Water Day, associations and collectives from all countries, in all our diversity, are uniting to remind people that water is a human right and a common good. […]

We assert that a human right is not conditional on people’s ability to pay. We assert that a common good must not be managed and controlled by market laws.

We are calling for public authorities to fulfil their responsibilities, oppose the commodification of life and take the necessary measures to make listing water on the stock exchange illegal.

We are also calling on all people to claim their right to water, to refuse control by financial stakeholders of this vital element, to safeguard this common good for life, and to contribute to its protection for current and future generations.

Read the complete opinion piece here