United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Workers & Trade

Comments from David Boys
Public Services International
Thank you madame chair.
Can I just say that we welcome the strengthened role of UN Water.
I would like to contribute an implementation mechanism on monitoring and evaluation,
involving local, national and international actors, regarding private sector participation, or
I hear in this room that there is still much confusion as to appropriate role for the private
sector, with promises of investment, efficiency, good governance, etc.
There is confusion as to what the private sector really is ? SMEs, SSIPS, MNCs or MNEs.
There is even confusion, for example within the IFIs as to the role of public or private
borrowing for capital investments versus paying for O+M.
Chair, as you remember, these issues were debated at the Bonn Freshwater Conference in
2001, and there was agreement that it would be useful to have a multi-stakeholder dialogue
to review the issues linked with privatisation?
A number of groups have been working on this review of PSP, including local and
international private sector, public water utilities, consumers, labour, environmental and
service delivery NGOs.
After much work, the group have arrived at a concrete proposal that now needs donor
support. It will be rooted in national multi-stakeholder review processes, similar to that
underway in Brazil, which seeks to improve national policy-making.
The global review will encourage and support up to ten national reviews of PSPs, and will
develop mechanisms to integrate these findings into the regional and global policy arena.
Chair, the issue is still relevant, is still causing bad policy and causing controversy, which are
contributing to the frustration in reacing the MDGs.
Delegates have a brief report of the Global Review of PSP on their desks, and we suggest
that the chair give serious consideration to this proposal as a means to resolve the
continuing controversy around the issue of PSP. Governments that are bold enough to
engage a multi-stakeholder review can contact the project coordinator. As can governments
and donor agencies interested in supporting the review, as I am convinced this review will
help reach the MDGs.
Chair, we have also heard time and again speak of the lack of qualified personnel. I will
make an intervention later that calls for this body to recognise the fundamental role of
workers and trade unions at all levels of WSS and human settlements.c