Water- the perfect commodity

Climate & Natural resources,Food Security27 Jun 2011Jojanneke Spoor

Maryann Manahan, researcher with Focus on the Global South, discusses the issue of water grabbing at the TNI Fellows Meeting 2011.

How does this knowledge about water grabbing influence your work with local partners in the Philippines?

The discourse needs to be more comprehensive – not only looking at the changes in land use and land regulation. Other resources like water, need to be taken into consideration. We’re trying to link the different issues, and communities are aware of water grabbing, especially in areas where biofuels are produced. One of the areas we work in was heavily impacted by climate change, both by flooding and drought. The production of biofuels further complicates issues. Communities are aware of this. We are trying to build a campaign based on the voices of these people, striving for a balance between contextualizing their struggles within a global context and at the same time putting emphasis on their own experiences.

Many advocacy groups only work on one issue – either land or water – because of limited resources. Focus on the global south is trying to bring different groups together, to build something more dynamic to be able to influence and reverse some of the policies that national government is pushing.

We haven’t been able to include environmental groups yet. The social justice component of this issue of land and water grabbing is very strong. But the impact of biofuels and the reduction of greenhouse gas emmisions has not yet been included.