Attending World Water Week for the first time is to begin with a rather bewildering experience. Getting to know who is who and what’s what really does requires keeping your eyes and ears well and truly open, asking a multitude of (often simple and silly!) questions and checking name badges wherever and whenever you can. A key tenet to getting to grips with the dominant policy agenda, scope and objectives of any such conference is to know who the attendees and sponsors are, to attend as many meetings as possible and to check out the subject areas and themes of meetings. Using all of the above has helped me quickly familiarise myself with the worrying corporate direction and programme of the Stockholm Water Week
But, getting up to speed with this hectic environment is helped primarily by having friends here - both the more experienced and inexperienced and those who you have known from before and those you haven’t. The help and solidarity amongst the activists here has manifested itself into an infectious enthusiasm and energy. This enthusiasm is helped by the knowledge of course that we have right and evidence on our side. Right in that the world’s resources ‘belong to us all yet also belong to no-one’. That liberalisation and property rights of the worlds natural resources do not, and have not, resulted in the invisible hand of the market ensuring that people receive their fair share. That market solutions have in no way made any impression on the MDG targets. That multitudes of people are still scandalously dying because of inaction, lack of political will and, frankly, not giving a shit about this hourly and daily genocide. We are though coming up with positive alternatives. For instance, that a more concerted and co-ordinated approach utilising all available skills and talents across the world – using a well financed and resourced PUPS/WOPS scheme – and based on solidarity and social progress, rather than profit, is a good place to start. We await to hear if this message is being heard.