In March 2008, the topic of the People Speak Global Debates considers whether water is a national property (including both government control of water and privatization) or whether water is part of the global commons with no ownership at the nation-state or corporate level.
The People Speak.org (TPS) is an initiative of the United Nations Foundation to engage young people on the global issues that will shape their future. Global Debates are organised for U.S. and international high schools (grades 9-12). Students research and prepare arguments for a public debate held in their school and all students who attend the debate vote for the side they felt was most compelling. The final results from all participating schools are published on the TPS site.
The Global debate “Resolved: Water should be considered national property” runs from 1-24 March 2008.
Debatepedia has set up a wiki for the 2008 Global Debate topic.
In the opening of 7th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 3 March 2008, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maxime Verhagen, announced that the Netherlands is to recognise the right to water as a human right. Verhagen called on the Human Rights Council to make haste in reaching consensus on the right to water. He said that recognising the right to water as a human right would not solve the pressing issue of illness and high mortality rates, but was certain that it would be a powerful incentive to increase access to water for the poor. With the recognition of the right to water as a human right, the Netherlands will be able to point out to the governments of developing countries that they must do everything in their power to fulfill their people’s right to water.
Last year, on World Water Day, 22 March 2007, Minister for Development Cooperation, Bert Koenders, announced that he wanted the Netherlands to play a prominent role in getting the right to water recognised as a human right. Koenders said that this is necessary to make water a political priority and that he wanted Dutch embassies to push for the right to water at country level.
Read more: Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 3 March 2008
ScienceDaily (Feb. 29, 2008) — Brent Christner, LSU professor of biological sciences, in partnership with colleagues in Montana and France, recently found evidence that rain-making bacteria are widely distributed in the atmosphere. These biological particles could factor heavily into the precipitation cycle, affecting climate, agricultural productivity and even global warming. Christner and his colleagues published their results on Feb 29 in the journal Science.