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Protesters arrested at World Water Forum in Istanbul

Article published on the 2009-03-17 Latest update 2009-03-17 16:57 TU

Protesters were jailed for holding this banner at the forum in Istanbul.(Photo: Longston James Goree VI)

Protesters were jailed for holding this banner at the forum in Istanbul.
(Photo: Longston James Goree VI)

The fifth World Water Forum, currently being held in Istanbul, Turkey, is expected to shape future global water policy. But it has already sparked controversy. On Monday two protesters were jailed and then deported from Turkey.

Two members of the International Rivers group were detained and deported after unveiling of banner at the forum on Monday which read "No more risky dams".

Critics say the agenda is largely shaped by the industry and international financial institutions.

Peter Bosshard(Photo: International Rivers)

Peter Bosshard
(Photo: International Rivers)

Peter Bosshard is the policy director for International Rivers, an international environmental and human rights organisation. He says the forum is essentially a trade fair.

Despite the forum claiming to be democratic and open, the public is often unable to express its views due to the high costs of attending, Bosshard says.

Comment: Peter Bosshard, policy director of International Rivers


Dams are a key issue in future water policy being discussed by the 28,000 participants. A new assessment of the planet’s freshwater resources by the UN says that population growth, rising living standards, changes in food consumption, and the use of hydropower are all contributing to water shortages.

The OECD released a report Tuesday that said 3.9 billion people, nearly half the world's population, could be living in severe water stress by 2030.