March 20, 2012
Lani Alo, a program staff member at the Goldman Prize, is reporting from the Alternative Water Forum in Marseilles, France. The forum, set up as an alternative to the World Water Forum (also taking place in in Marseille), focuses on developing sustainable solutions to the global water crisis.
Alo reports that the World Water Forum is seen by many environmentalists as a “corporate trade show where private and state companies come to look for clients in order to build huge infrastructure projects like dams.”
Conversely, the primary focus of the Alternative Water Forum is to reaffirm that access to clean water is a human right, as declared by the United Nations in 2010. Special attention is also being directed to outlining a clear list of demands to present at this summer’s Rio +20 conference in Brazil.
Most of the forum’s workshops and presentations emphasize the importance of local, grassroots initiatives in solving the water crisis. Such grassroots efforts are well understood by Goldman Prize recipients like Pedro Arrojo Agudo, Juan Pablo Orrego (pictured above) and Oscar Olivera, all of whom participated in the forum.