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WTO Think-In

Water is already defined as a tradable "good" in both NAFTA and the WTO; once the tap is turned on, it cannot be turned off without violating corporate rights established in these agreements.

The world is poised to make crucial, perhaps irrevocable, decisions about water. Today, thirty-one countries are facing water stress and scarcity and over a billion people

lack adequate access to clean drinking water. By the year 2025, as much as two-thirds of the world's population will be living in conditions of serious water shortage or absolute water scarcity.

Some in the private sector have identified water as the last great untapped natural resource to be exploited for profit. Their goal is to render water a private commodity, sold and traded on the open market and guaranteed to the use of private capital through global trade and investment agreements.

Already Alaska promotes the export and privatization of its state waters. And there is a multi-billion-dollar NAFTA challenge from a California company because British Columbia banned water exports. Under Article 11 of the WTO, a new sector called "environmental services" is being negotiated. If the US government is successful in putting this item on the table, the privatization of water services and delivery will be enforced by the WTO. It will also place the ecological responsibility for the Earth's water systems beyond the reach of governments and beyond the rule of law.

The time to act has come.