We are writing in relation to the court case in which Mexico City citizens are seeking access to the contents of the agreement between the World Bank and the Government of Mexico City, announced by the head of Mexico City’s government, Miguel Angel Mancera, on November 20 and 21, 2015. More precisely, we are sending this letter as Friends of the Court, in the hope that our expertise might prove relevant to informing decisions on such delicate and important matters.
The signatories to this letter have an established track record of providing policy advice to international organisations, national and local governments, and other policy participants in relation to the realisation of the human right to water and sanitation. For the past 20 years, the Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU), Business School, University of Greenwich, UK, has conducted empirical research on the process and outcome of water service reform in the global North and South. This includes the impact of privatisation, Public-Private Partnerships and other forms of private sector participation, on access to water and sanitation services.
It is with concern that we read of the recent agreement between the World Bank and the Government of Mexico City, on extending access to water in Mexico City. A cause for concern is the governmental decision to involve the private sector in the realisation of a multi-million investment programme without the prior evaluation of public sector options. This is concerning because the international experience demonstrates that the private sector is good at making enticing promises of efficiency, effectiveness, and innovative technical solutions, but has a poor track record of delivering on these very promises. Another cause for concern is the lack of transparency surrounding the governmental decision to involve the private sector in this ambitious investment programme. This is concerning because the international experience shows that the private sector has in many cases used lack of transparency, including corruption, to secure lucrative deals at the expenses of water consumers and/or taxpayers. Such deals systematically result in unsustainable tariff increases and the cancellation or postponement of agreed investment projects, thus undermining the realisation of the human right to water and sanitation.
We wish to conclude by emphasising that the international experience calls for the following actions if the human right to water and sanitation is to be realised in Mexico City. First, Mexico City citizens should be provided full access to the contents of the agreement between the World Bank and the Government of Mexico City, and to related governmental decisions. Second, Mexico City citizens and civil society should meaningfully participate in the decision making process on the implementation of such agreement. Third, the decision making process on the matter should thoroughly consider the social, economic and environmental implications of all feasible and alternative arrangements for the realisation of the human right to water and sanitation in Mexico City.
Professor David Hall
Dr Emanuele Lobina
Public Services International Research Unit
University of Greenwich
London SE10 9LS, United Kingdon
Principal Lecturer, PSIRU
Business Faculty, University of Greenwich
London SE10 9LS, UK
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.psiru.org
Tel: +44-(0)208-331-8476 Fax: +44-(0)208-331-8120
University of Greenwich, a charity and company limited by guarantee, registered in England (reg no. 986729). Registered Office: Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, Greenwich SE10 9LS.
University of Greenwich, a charity and company limited by guarantee, registered in England (reg. no. 986729). Registered office: Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9LS.