The Fourth World Water Forum currently taking place in Mexico City (March 16-22) is being held at a time when negative experiences with water privatisation in many countries are causing cracks in the neoliberal monoculture that has long dominated the international water debate. This will undoubtedly be visible inside the Forum and even more so elsewhere in Mexico City, where civil society groups from around the world have prepared an impressive range of anti-privatisation activities, including demonstrations, tribunals and counter-conferences such as the International Forum in Defence of Water.

One of the key demands is that Northern governments, led by the EU, end their push for water services to be liberalised through the WTO's GATS negotiations and other international trade talks. The new CEO briefing "Water almost out of GATS?" http://www.corporateeurope.org/water/gatswater2006.pdf (written by Christina Deckwirth) shows that civil society pressure is having an impact, but that the battle is not yet won.

For information about the International Forum in Defence of Water (March 17-19th) and the Symposium on Improving Public Water Delivery, go to http://www.comda.org.mx/ A discussion paper on the issues to be raised at the forum can be found at http://www.tni.org/water-docs/pubwaterforall.pdf