To PSI Participants at WWF5 Istanbul
Getting our Messages Across
One of our main objectives at WWF5 is to change policies of governments, in their local, national and international decisions. We have succeeded in making changes, these are incremental, so we must build on past successes. We may choose to make the World Bank and the regional banks our main targets, as they continue with a privatisation agenda, despite all of the signs of failure.
One main target of our messages will be the media. We expect over 1,000 media and we will target them specifically. We have a small team of people who have registered as media and who will have access to the media center. We hope they will be able to get us coverage, mainly through interviews. In order for them to do this work, we need to provide them with information ahead of time (this week). We will also try to speak from the floor in a number of sessions.
PSI’s main message will have many national and local faces, but should be all contained within the same group or family of messages. There will be two main axes :
1. the financial crisis is evidence of the failure of the privateers in water
2. the strengthening of public operators is the best way forward
Media will pay attention to the financial crisis, so we should prepare some disaster stories. This can include examples of the failures of the privateers or the new restrictions on government spending that the IFIs continue to impose.
But we should be prepared to make the case that public infrastructure is not only a strong way to deliver economic stimulus, it actually will create the basis for more jobs later on (sustainable economic recovery).
And we must also include the warning that the privateers will try to grab all of the money that governments will make available through their economic recovery packages. Or that governments won’t be allowed to borrow for long-term capital investments. (see the PSIRU paper on the financial crisis and PPPs).
Strengthening Public Operators
Our main case is the public-public partnerships (PUPs), which is a concept that PSI has heavily pushed and is getting attention. (see the joint paper on PUPs)
We can fit a number of issues under this heading, including workforce training, new jobs, labour-mgmnt cooperation...
We insist on Transparency, Accountability and Participation of our public utilities (which have often been captured for cynical, self-serving political purposes of elected officials).
We demand appropriate financing tools for public services, including an end to tax havens and tax evasion. (see PSIRU paper on Finance)
We need to hammer these messages in as many workshops and seminars as possible. We don’t need to talk for hours. Prepare brief speeches – perhaps two minutes only – to catch the attention of the audience and the media.
Our goal is to get the whole of the delegation to speak – and to be interviewed. May be it’s not possible, but we want to prepare as if it was possible.
Tasks for all Delegates to WWF5
PSI needs a brief presentation of each delegate to get an impression of what’s possible to get in the media.
- What is your position in the union and in your water operator?
- Do you have any strong experiences on privatisation?
- Do you have any positive experiences on PUPs?
- Do you have any other positive experiences on public water?
- Is there any other important legislation or other water issues in your country/region?
We want to have as much media attention to our ideas and interventions as possible. Would it be possible to have assistance from your union’s media people? It’s not necessary for them to go to Istanbul, but would it be possible to give us e-mails to your information officer so that we could agree on publication/translation of our messages from WWF5? On the PSI web you will find a water blog where we will post all news from WWF5. Information for local web pages can be taken from this blog – or you could link to stories on the blog.
Prepare a short and to the point speech for one of the seminars. You can do that before you leave your country. Pick a seminar where you believe you can fit in. (If you don’t know what seminar, we will have meetings in the delegation and discuss where to go and what has happened the last day).
Send messages to your government and your local media about issues that will be presented in Istanbul. For government, note the statement from the government of Uruguay which should be of interest to all government delegations.
We welcome all comments on both our main points and on our media strategy. Will it be realistic to expect that all participants could take part in at least one debate?
PSI’s main media contact is Rolv Hanssen, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel +334 50 40 11 66, mobile +47 99 37 67 26. Others will assist us as much as they can.