Water Justice at Copenhagen (or Lack Thereof)

Daniel Bachhuber
On the final day of the COP15 climate negotiations at Copenhagen, leaders have reportedly reached a final deal, though one that insufficiently deals with emissions reduction targets, timelines, accountability, compliance, and the question of who's responsible for adaptation and mitigation action and funding. Water justice - the belief that every human being deserves the right to access clean water to meet their basic needs - is another issue that has largely been glossed over by delegates these past two weeks.

Over at the Klimaforum, global water activists attempted to rectify this by hosting a Water Day on Tuesday, which included a water panel with water warriors from Bolivia, Brazil, Italy, and the Philippines, as well as the former Senior Advisor on Water to the UN, Maude Barlow. International Rivers and our Turkish partners from the Ilisu Dam campaign were also invited to speak on the linkages among dams, water and climate change. In fact, unlike traditional water justice discussions, which tended largely to center on water privatization, this forum brought together issues ranging from green design, dams, and climate justice in the context of water justice to show their interconnections.

Water activists also worked to raise awareness of water justice and its inextricable link to climate justice through actions at the main Bella conference center and through short interviews with conference attendees. Excerpts from some of these responses are below. As it's becoming clear that the climate negotiations will extend well into next year (possibly in Mexico City for COP16), water justice activists will continue to bring the issue of water into the forefront of the global climate change negotiations. You can add your voice to the water justice cause by signing their petition here.