Evidence From Space: Study for the European Space Agency on the Use of Space-Derived Earth Observation Information and Evidence in Judicial and Administrative Proceedings

Sunday, December 9, 2012


The London Institute for Space Policy and Law completed its study on Earth Observation (EO), commissioned by the European Space Agency (ESA). The study, released this April, explored several scenarios where EO is used as an evidence in judicial proceedings. The study also anticipate how future water disputes may utilize EO as evidence. Mr. Al’Afghani is honoured to be cited. Download here.

Dam Infrastructure: Do Not Let Them Just Become Monuments

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"A memorandum of understanding had to be made because several regencies do not yet have RTRW", Hasan said. As of October 2012, there are only 205 regencies/cities, out of a total 498 regencies/cities, that have completed RTRW. Of the 33 provinces, only 14 provinces have finalised their RTRW.

Mohamad Mova Al 'Afghani, a doctoral candidate at the UNESCO Center for Water Law Policy at the University of Dundee, Scotland, says that it is more appropriate for RTRW to follow "water planning". "Thus, we bring people, bring farmers to the water, instead of water to the people", he said.



Source: Indonesia Infrastructure Initiative (Indii) website

KOMPAS, 23 November, 2012, Page 35, Section: Fokus Ketahanan Pangan
By Haryo Damardono


"I have a message even to workers, so that workers would contribute their energy to the fullest for the implementation of this project. Remember, this project does not belong to a single capitalist, but this is a project of the state, a project for the people, a project for all of us", said Ir Soekarno, when visiting Jatiluhur Dam Project, 19 September, 1965.

From his speech, the strong desire of Ir Soekarno - the proclaimer [of Indonesian independence] - could be felt, that Jatiluhur Dam should be quickly completed. This is because Jatiluhur was key to increasing agricultural productivity, in addition to controlling floods and meeting the needs of raw water.

Initiated by irrigation expert WJ van Blommestein in 1930, Jatiluhur was originally designed to irrigate an area of 517,240ha. However, when President Soeharto inaugurated it on 26 August, 1967 the remaining area was only 240,000ha. Much reduced, but still it was categorically large in size and the condition continued to be excellent.

Not surprisingly, Mohammad Hasan, Director General of Water Resources of the Ministry of Public Works, expressed disappointment when he witnessed the conversion of land [that had taken place] in Bekasi, especially when he observed the land use conversion in the West Tarum Parent Channel. Its inspection road has even been transformed into Kalimalang public road.

Due to its strategic location, the Bekasi - Cikarang corridor has become a magnet for industrial estate and housing developments. Businessmen have long telescoped potential profits there. From the centre of Jakarta, Cikarang is only 24km away, while from the Port of Tanjung Priok it is 35km away.

The glittering gold in Cikarang is demonstrated by publicly listed company PT Bekasi Fajar Industrial Estate, Tbk (BEST), which recorded revenue of Rp 661.97 billion as of the third quarter of 2012, up 88.50 percent compared to revenue in the third quarter of 2011.

Meanwhile PT Lippo Cikarang, Tbk, has also armed itself with a new toll gate at KM 34 + 700 in Jakarta - Cikampek Toll Road. Lippo will soon transform 3,000ha of land into industrial estate and residential area.

Chairman of Indonesian Water Resources Network (SDA), Sudar D Atmanto, noted the importance of a strong will to stem land conversion. "The fact shows that population growth in Citarum River region has been recorded at 1.7 percent, while the entire West Java has registered growth of 1.2 percent. This is an example of how attractive the river banks are as places of domicile, so that the land will increasingly be annexed", he said.

Another fact is that, each year, there are 110,000ha of agricultural lands being converted. The modus may be illegal or legal, in line with spatial planning revisions. In the context of Jatiluhur’s presence, is food agriculture in the Citarum region, and Java, still the focus?

Is there really a future for agriculture in Java, which has recorded a planting index (IP) of 1.9, with productivity of 5.5 tonnes per ha? These numbers glaringly show imbalance, given that the national IP is 1.4 and the average productivity is 4.6 tonnes per ha.

In his book titled Infrastructure Management and Regional Development (2012), Bambang Susantono, said that the economic corridor of Java is focused more on the food and beverage, textile, machinery, and spare parts industries. So, where is the location of food agriculture of the future? The Government's vision turns to the Sulawesi corridor and the Papua - Maluku corridor, with its Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE). Some 1.2 million ha of land is allocated for MIFEE, although it is not monopolised for rice, but it may include sugarcane and palm oil.

Spatial Layout

With regard to the conversion of agricultural land, Hasan chooses to speak of the future. "The commanders are indeed the spatial layout plans (RTRW). Without them, Public Works will no longer build any water infrastructures," he said.

On 7 November, for example, Public Works gave its agreement to build Batang Asai Irrigation Area, which covers 6,210ha in Sarolangun Regency, Jambi. The development [process] begins after regional leaders and local communities sign an agreement on sustainable development of agricultural area.

"A memorandum of understanding had to be made because several regencies do not yet have RTRW", Hasan said. As of October 2012, there are only 205 regencies/cities, out of a total 498 regencies/cities, that have completed RTRW. Of the 33 provinces, only 14 provinces have finalised their RTRW.

Mohamad Mova Al 'Afghani, a doctoral candidate at the UNESCO Center for Water Law Policy at the University of Dundee, Scotland, says that it is more appropriate for RTRW to follow "water planning". "Thus, we bring people, bring farmers to the water, instead of water to the people", he said.

In the midst of the many problems on the sustainability of agricultural land, Director General of Infrastructure and Facilities of the Ministry of Agriculture, Sumardjo Gatot Irianto, remains optimistic. The ministry’s main weapon is Law no. 41/2009 on Protection of Sustainable Food Agricultural Land.

"We are also currently conducting an audit of agricultural fields with a target completion in December 2012", said Gatot. He also urged local governments to not allocate lands for purposes of just meeting their food needs.


Ministry of Agriculture deals with [sizes of] land areas, while Ministry of Public Works ensures continuous construction of infrastructure. Of the 7.23 million ha of irrigated rice/agricultural fields in Indonesia, only 11 percent have guaranteed supply of water from reservoirs or dams. Hasan gave an indication that, in 2013, some 13 dams will be built, from an inventory of 100 units of potential dams.

The best solution to minimise land conversion needs to be quickly found, then determination of RTRW should be encouraged, at least making sure that the land area for food production remains preserved. It should not happen that the reservoirs and dams will be mere monuments. Understandably, they cost trillions of rupiah to build. Even, the construction cost of irrigation per ha already reaches Rp 30–40 million.

Then, what is no less important is rehabilitation of the irrigation networks. Especially because, based on a technical audit (rapid assessment) of the irrigation system in 2010, in fact 55 percent of the irrigation facilities are in damaged conditions. Most of these are under the local governments’ authority.

The problem is, about 4.8 million ha of rice/agricultural fields are under the authority of the local governments, with special allocation fund (DAK) of "only" Rp 1.4 trillion. Those under the central government’s authority involve 2.4 million ha of land, with funding of Rp 2 trillion.

"The money for the regions may be used up on personnel expenditure. They have no money", said Hasan.

Sudar has a different view. When calculated from the state budget (APBN) allocation worth Rp 1,300–1,400 trillion per year, funding needs for irrigation at the local level account for only 1.8 percent of the total development budget allocation of the regions.

"That’s peanuts (small), nothing. Regional/local governments should compensate it from their respective personnel expenditure. It has to be. If not, no matter how big the DAK is, it would never be enough", he said.

The land has been maintained, the dams are built, while the irrigation networks are rehabilitated. All for the sake of food security. But what if in the end land conversion has continued to take place?

"Well, it is difficult. The stages are indeed from agrarian to industrial, it cannot jump directly to services", said Mova.

Fw: Your Paper Makes SSRN Top Ten List

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sent from BlackBerry® on 3

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Subject: Your Paper Makes SSRN Top Ten List

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Opportunities and Challenges in Integrating Community-Based Water Services into the Legal Framework: An Indonesia Case Study

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Mohamad Mova Al'Afghani

University of Dundee - Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science
November 14, 2012

Attempt to regulate community-based watsan services in the legal framework faces considerable challenges. The first is the problem of defining and delienating the boundaries between “community-based” versus the so called “institution-based” (corporate water services). Second is the ambiguity of the concept of “community” and the lack of acknowledgement on community’s rights and previleges under national legal framework. Third, also related to the first challenge, is the potential of overlap between the regimes of corporate water utilities and that of the community based, where inevitably, one might be sacrificed at the expense of another. Fourth is the problem of sanction attached to the by-laws, such as in criminalizing open defecation. The Fifth is the problem of assets types and ownership. There appears to be unclarity on community assets ownership and this could mean that such assets are ownerless which renders it vulnerable to taking or confiscation from third parties. Finally, there is a problem with the national legal requirement to determine a “minimum service standard”.


Number of Pages in PDF File: 18

Keywords: water, governance, sanitation, law, legal, infrastructure, environment, public health, policy

working papers series


Download Link at SSRN Page.

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The new governor and Jakarta’s drinking water problem

Saturday, October 20, 2012



(Img credit: The Jakarta Globe)


Mohamad Mova Al’Afghani


The Jakarta Post, Paper Edition | Page: 7 Opinion | Sat, October 20 2012


During the recent Jakarta gubernatorial election, observers and opponents argued that the scale and complexities of the capital city’s urban problems were in no way equivalent to small cities such as Surakarta, where newly installed Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo used to serve as a mayor. When Jokowi later has to deal with Jakarta’s drinking water situation, he will realize that there is a grain of truth in this argument.


While his predecessor Fauzi Bowo seemed to be focused more on technocratic “grand strategies” to solve the overall water problem, to my knowledge, Jokowi does not have any sophisticated plan. From media interviews we can tell that Jokowi’s emphasis on Jakarta’s drinking water problem will be on quality and affordability i.e. a pro-poor approach. One of Jokowi’s promises during his campaign was to provide access to water for low-income citizens of North Jakarta, either at an affordable rate, or even for free.

But, how can he deliver on such a promise? I shall explain the complexities below.
First, water provision is a natural-legal-monopoly. What this means is that people cannot just extend pipes to a community outside the existing network because the cost of duplicating networks is high. As a result, there are usually only one or two companies serving a particular region. The monopoly is not only in terms of economics, but also a legal one. Every new entrant or operation may have to gain permission from incumbent companies.

Second, there is a trade-off between service levels and network expansion. Suppose that the companies agree to expand the network, with constraints on bulkwater sources, pressure and continuity of supply other areas might be affected. Thus, a part of Jakarta that is currently well-served might become compromised unless the government finds a new bulkwater source.

Third, there are significant costs associated with network expansion to the poor. In addition to capital expenditure on long-term assets, collection rates will become a major issue. Expanding services to low-income citizens means risking either non-payment or increased debt for suppliers. Various researches indicate that the poor have both the willingness and capacity to pay for water services. However, low-income consumers require flexibility in the form of payment-in-arrears or in installments.

Aside from the above points, unless appropriately addressed, the current governance structure of Jakarta’s water services could impede Jokowi’s pro-poor water plan. As we are aware, there are at least three main regulatory actors in Jakarta’s drinking water services: the city-owned waterworks company PAM Jaya, the concessionaires (Palyja and Aetra) and the governor.

The concession works in such a way that PAM Jaya must purchase the volume of water sold by the concessionaire to the consumer. Thus, from the concessionaire’s point of view, aside from constraints on bulkwater sources, they have no objection at all to serving the poor since they will be paid no matter what.
However, PAM Jaya may have objections to expanding the network to the poor, because if the revenue from tariff collection is not enough to cover the cost, then PAM Jaya will have to borrow money to pay the concessionaire. This means that if the poor cannot pay or can only pay in arrears, PAM Jaya will be in debt to the private sector. It is worth noting that at the moment, PAM Jaya already has huge debts with the private sector.

Another consequence of the above system is that PAM Jaya’s debt would reflect upon the concessionaire’s balance sheet and affect its overall financial health. Put simply: connecting to the poor may affect the collection rates, low collection rates means that PAM Jaya would be in debt to the concessionaire and in turn PAM Jaya’s debt to the concessionaire means higher account receivables in the concessionaire balance sheet. If the concessionaires only have high account receivables but lack cash, how can they have enough funds to invest in further network expansion and finance the existing operations and maintenance?

What the above shows is that there are structural disincentives in connecting to the poor. The concessionaire might be able to resort to outside financing for cash that would support a pro-poor program but for PAM Jaya this could be perceived as a liability that put strains on its balance sheet. A direct interventionist approach will also not work in Jakarta because it is legally impossible. Jokowi will soon find out that the governance of Jakarta water services is a complex web of various actors and interests, not only local and national, but also international. The nature of private sector participation with foreign investment means that the corporations investing in water services are backed by international treaties.

Any disputes could provoke intervention not only from the central government, but could also take place through diplomatic channels. This has already occurred in the past.

All of these challenges should not discourage Jokowi from his initial plan to provide services to the poor. There are several things that Jokowi could do to advance his water-for-the-poor program.

He should first address the lack of incentives from regulatory actors in connecting to the poor. Next, he should consult the poor on how they want to be connected to the network. The poor, together with companies and other actors should sit together to discuss the issue. Finally, Jokowi should try to reform the existing legislation which penalizes the poor for late payments.

As I have said, low-income citizens require flexibility in payments but the current legislation restricts this. In order to achieve all this, of course, he needs sufficient support from the Jakarta City Council.

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Disclosure of Government Contracts in Indonesia

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A paper titled “Perjanjian Badan Publik Dengan Pihak Ketiga: Anotasi Pasal 11 ayat (1) (e) Undang Undang Nomor 14 Tahun 2008” is available for download (only in Bahasa Indonesia). The paper annotates Article 11 (1) (e) of the Indonesian Freedom of Information Law which mandates the transparency of contract. Nevertheless, the paper conclude that Article 11 (1) e does not clearly mandates “active disclosure”. The article also discusses the problem of breach of contract which may arise due to a Public Body’s compliance with a disclosure request made under the FoI Law.


English version of the article will be available soon.


See also a related working paper:

Does Regulation by Contract Decreases Transparency? - Evidence from Jakarta's Water Services Sector”.

IWWEF 2013: Legal Aspects of Water Services Provision (Mark The Date!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

IWWEF 2013: Legal Aspects of Water Services Provision
Thu, 17 January 2013, 08:30 GMT+07:00
44 people invited
Meet Dropbydrop at IWWEF 2013. More info here.  

Anti-blasphemy tool a diplomatic blunder

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The following is my op-ed piece in today’s Jakarta Post.



At the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) called on world leaders to “enact an international instrument to effectively prevent incitement to hostility or violence based on religions or beliefs”. These words are a verbatim citation of SBY’s speech.

Thus, SBY – in his official United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) speech — did not state that he demanded the international community enforce an international blasphemy law. The term “blasphemy” is found nowhere in his speech. What he officially pushed for is the enactment of an international instrument that could prevent incitement to hostility or violence.

This is where the move constitutes a blunder. First, there is a big difference between a blasphemy law and a law that punishes incitement of hostility. Second, laws which restrict incitement and hate speech are actually part of international law and have been practiced in by international courts. Third, the Innocence of Muslims movie, which SBY also referred to in his speech, may not necessarily qualify as an “incitement to hostility or violence”.

Let us now discuss the first blunder. The media have quoted statements from ministers and other government officials who hinted at Indonesia’s quest for an international blasphemy law, which contradicts SBY’s remarks at the UNGA forum. So what exactly is Indonesia’s diplomatic position concerning blasphemy? Does it seek to restrict free speech which incites hostility or violence or does it aim to enact a blasphemy law?

A blasphemy law protects religion, although in practice this usually translates into the “dominant” religion and its symbols. Thus, irrespective of whether something is intended to provoke violence or not, to the extent that it is considered denigrating of religion and religious symbols it can be restricted and punished.

Such an international blasphemy law would be absurd and inconceivable. Every founder of a new religion has been accused of blasphemy by the society they served. Thus blasphemy is required for a religion to exist. The Indonesian Shiite cleric Tajul Muluk, for example, has been convicted of blasphemy and jailed for it.

It would thus be unthinkable for diplomats from predominantly Shiite Iran to sit together with their Indonesian counterparts and agree on an international blasphemy provision as it would mean that they approve of persecution of Shia followers.

The second blunder is that SBY’s call for a restriction of free speech that incites violence is already part of the existing international law. The Civil and Political Covenant provides clauses that restrict freedom of expression on the grounds of public health, public order and morality. Now, why would SBY say that we need such a law when we already have one?

Third, SBY relating the international uproar surrounding Innocence of Muslims to the requirement for “an international instrument” to effectively prevent incitement to hostility or violence based on religion shows a level of disconnect. The movie does not directly incite hostility or provoke violence. Rather, hostility and violence are an indirect result of the movie.

There is a clear line separating these concepts. In order for an act of expression to incite violence, it must provoke people to commit violence. In the famous case of Radio-Télévision Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM) in Rwanda, it is clear that the radio incited Hutus to kill the Tutsis. Thus, the RTLM was held responsible for its role in the genocide. The Tutsis were therefore the direct victims of RTLM hate speech.
The RTLM case is different from the Innocence of Muslims movie. The latter does not contain any incitement for people to physically hurt Muslims and indeed no Muslims have been killed or hurt as a result of the movie’s provocation. What happened is rather the contrary. Some people — who happen to be Muslims — got angry and then killed others or got themselves killed in the process.

Undoubtedly, the movie is indeed disparaging and could lead to wrong perceptions about Islam and Muslims. However, to argue that such incorrect perceptions cause physical violence to Muslims would be too far-fetched. Because of this, SBY’s argument linking the recent uproar caused by the movie to his proposal for an international instrument to prevent incitement to hostility is unsound. Recently reports have abounded that Indonesia will lead the formulation of a roadmap towards a so-called international anti-blasphemy protocol. Whosoever gets involved in the process of drafting such roadmap will have to deal with these blunders.

Perhaps Indonesia is trying to play its card as the world’s largest predominantly Muslim nation to gain sympathy from the Organization of Islamic Conference countries. Or perhaps, this is a maneuver to send a signal to the UN Human Rights Council that Indonesia’s bad marks on the freedom of religion have some “roots” in the international arena.

Nevertheless, this whole anti-blasphemy protocol, instruments and road map is a waste of Indonesia’s diplomatic resources. This manuevering does not present a good image to the world of Indonesia as a moderate Muslim nation that succeeds in reconciling democracy and human rights with Islam. It also does not send a good signal to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries because there are inconsistencies in Indonesia’s diplomatic stance. It appears to me that Indonesia doesn’t really know what it wants.

OECD Regulatory Review on Indonesia

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Background reports which supports recent OECD’s review on Indonesia can be downloaded using the following links from OECD’s website.


Economy: Indonesia should improve governance, productivity and tax collection to promote inclusive growth

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

OECD  - Paris, 27 September 2012

Indonesia should improve governance, productivity and tax collection to promote inclusive growth

Indonesia has improved its macro-economic and structural policies over the last 15 years. Its economy, with strong and stable growth rates of 5-6.6%, is catching up with other countries in the region and allowing it to focus on a development agenda.

To reach the objective of becoming one of the world's 10 largest economies by 2025, the government's next step must be to move ahead with reforms that will take full advantage of this progress and unlock the country's full potential, says OECD 2012 Economic Survey: Indonesia.

"Indonesia has made substantial economic, institutional and social progress. It has weathered the economic crisis quite well and poverty has come down markedly," said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. "The government's challenge now is to boost productivity, reduce energy subsidies and raise tax collection to finance key infrastructure, social and environmental programmes. Investing in an effective social safety net and improving education and skills will make higher living standards accessible to all and ensure that future growth will be inclusive and sustainable."

Investing in innovation and boosting productivity, particularly in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should be a priority. They employ 97% of the workforce but produce only 57% of value-added. This could be achieved through comprehensive reforms, including facilitating the formalisation of economic activity, easier access to finance and expanding the pool of qualified workers. The Survey suggests that policy reforms could focus on improving banks' access to information on the creditworthiness of potential clients and developing alternative financing sources, such as venture capital or micro-finance.

Regarding labour markets, the Survey suggests a balanced approach: easing regulations to make the formal labour market more attractive and aligning minimum wage increases to productivity growth in provinces where it is already high; while at the same time introducing unemployment benefits, coupled with individual unemployment-insurance accounts, and investing in people's skills.

To finance wider coverage of its social security system and develop its infrastructure, Indonesia should increase its unduly low  12% tax-to-GDP ratio, by removing tax exemptions on employer-provided fringe benefits, many VAT exemptions and tax holidays for specific sectors or investment projects. It should also increase taxes in the resource sector. Improving tax compliance of high-income individuals could increase public revenue and raise the fairness of the tax system. Overall, increasing tax revenues can best be achieved through broadening tax bases and improving tax administration.

OECD's first Review of Regulatory Reform for Indonesia looks at the changes to the regulatory framework which will be necessary to implement the development and growth agenda of the Indonesian Government, including the recommendations of the Economic Survey.

The report recommends that the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs implements a government-wide policy to strengthen institutions, optimise co-ordination among ministries and improve regulations, based on international best practice. In particular, measures to further develop the Indonesian market and increase private investment in infrastructure need to be fostered by coherent policies.

All new regulations, the Review stresses, should serve the public interest and not restrict trade, particularly in the priority areas of major infrastructure investment in the ports, rail and shipping sectors.

The 2012 Economic Survey and the Regulatory Reform Review of Indonesia have been developed through policy dialogue between OECD committees and officials of the Government of Indonesia.

To receive a copy of OECD's Economic Survey: Indonesia and Review of Regulatory Reform for Indonesia, journalists should e-mail news.contact@oecd.org or telephone: + 331 45 24 97 00. For further information, please contact Helen.Fisher@oecd.org


Review on Indonesian Regional by Law on Community-based Water and Sanitation

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mr. Al'Afghani has recently completed a review of a draft by-law on community-based watsan. The review is a collaboration between dropbydrop, Watsan Working Group of the East Nusa Tenggara Province, UNICEF and the Sikka Regency.

Most of the challenges found are due to ambiguities of the legal framework at the national level. The review highlighted the lack of acknowledgement towards community based watsan in national legislation.

Assets ownership is one of the major issue during the review. Neither the national policy nor the national legislation provide clarification as to the actual owner of the assets. There is a general understanding that the assets "belong to the community" but what "community" actually means is not clear in the legal framework.

One of the aspirations that develops during the review is that the assets should be owned by villages but operated by the communities. The review provide recommendation as to how this could be translated into provisions in a regional by law and also provide solution for ownership arrangements for entities other than villages.

The lack of clarification on assets ownerships would affect the sustainability and security of community based watsan, which is developed mostly through fundings from the World Bank, AusAid and various other institutions.

Some of the findings from the review is currently being discussed at the national level.

For further information please contact dropbydrop's senior water lawyer Mohamad Mova Al'Afghani: mova(at)alafghani(dot)info

Right to Water: Learning from Indonesia’s Struggle

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

By Jackie Dugard, Katherine Drage and Madeleine Bélanger Dumontier – July 28, 2012

The privatization of water services over the past 30 years has generated a counter-wave of popular resistance that is still growing strong, with activists at times invoking rights or using litigation to reverse private deals and fight for public provision. On the second anniversary of the United Nations recognition of the right to water, many will put down their swords for a moment to take stock of the efficacy of such legal battles in challenging privatized water services.

The Municipal Services Project research Shields and Swords: Legal Tools for Public Water finds that their success has been mixed, with some legal actions managing to get the right to water written into law or banning private water provision altogether, while others have met with partial success. Among others, it analyzes at length the campaigns that unfolded in Indonesia and draws lessons for other water movements around the world.

Indeed, in 2004-2005 a group of legal aid foundations and NGOs lodged a request for a judicial review of Indonesia’s Water Resources Law widely seen as advancing water privatization, and as contravening the Constitution which establishes that the water sector shall be controlled by the state. Although the Constitutional Court rejected the petition, the litigation did establish various water service regulatory safeguards and conditions, thus creating some space for future action by civil society.

The decision was silent on pre-existing private water concessions, however, which remains a vexed issue.

Jakarta’s resounding call for public water
Some lasting civil society networks emerged from the struggle and continue to mobilize around the right to water and public control over this essential service. On June 10, the Jakarta Globe told the story of the People’s Coalition for the Right to Water (KRuHA)’s year-long effort to access information on Jakarta’s water management, as guaranteed by law. The citizen group is asking for disclosure of data used to calculate water tariffs, such as capital and operational expenditures as well as financial projections.

KRuHA’s request set the scene for a theatrical exchange between private providers and publicly owned PAM Jaya, eachtrying to make the other carry the can for the release of the key documents. PAM Jaya is supposed to be publicly accountable for the concession contracts but has been hiding stubbornly behind a “confidentiality clause” that protects “all commercial and technical information” to justify its hesitancy.

So the citizen group launched legal action in late 2011 to end the deadlock through Indonesia’s Public Information Commission (KIP). In early June 2012, the process entered adjudication. And KRuHA will keep up the pressure.

Legal avenues for reform

In short, litigation campaigns have proven to be an effective way to tap into widespread public opposition to reverse or challenge privatization and, as a counter-strategy, appear to be growing in popularity around the world. Where they have been less successful is in defining alternative models of public water services; this next step will be crucial to ensure that sustainable models fill in the vacuums left by private providers.

These cases demonstrate that privatization can be challenged on its own legal terms, exposing it to closer public scrutiny. But using or creating a new law is only the first step in what must be a longer political struggle to provide genuinely democratic forms of public water provision. As such, legal campaigns must also strive toward building frameworks for regulating, maintaining and monitoring progressive management of services after they become public. For that reason dedicated and committed activism is more critical to the success of campaigns than the legal tools themselves.

Finally, whether or not ‘rights’ frameworks are invoked, pro-public activists derive authority, legitimacy and solidarity in their legal campaigns from the international recognition of the right to water of July 28, 2010. From leftist perspectives there is much debate about whether this vision of law can ever be useful for radical social and economic change, many arguing it is ideologically biased toward the status quo and private interests; as such, legal tools are seen as potentially harmful to radical movements.

Notwithstanding, our research shows that the right to water can be viewed as an enabling framework that, although potentially friendly to privatization, can be used along with other laws to build, mobilize and legitimize campaigns opposed to privatization.

Two resounding victories in Berlin and Italy – two other cases explored in our study –are marking the right to water’s first anniversary at the UN. In Berlin, the city administration recently announced it was buying the shares of private company RWE in the water utility, raising its stake to 75.05% from 50.1%. In February 2011, Berlin residents had voted by a margin of 98.2% after a Berlin Water Table campaign to pass a draft bill to force the municipal administration to disclose secret agreements on the partial privatization of the city’s water services. Some months later, hopes for remunicipalization are coming true.

In Italy, after the Berlusconi government went ahead with its privatization agenda despite a citizen-led referendum that rejected by 96 per cent the proposed privatization of the country’s water supply in June 2011, the Italian Constitutional Court ruled this month to uphold the people’s will to keep water in public hands. The unrelenting efforts of the Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l’Acqua have no doubt gone a long way to safeguarding what had been gained from hard mobilization work.

Let’s keep building on these foundations, everywhere.

Jackie Dugard is Executive Director of the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) and visiting Senior Fellow, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand.

Katherine Drage is a former Intern at SERI and is currently an articled clerk at Withers LLP (London).  

Madeleine Bélanger Dumontier is Communications Manager for the Municipal Services Project (MSP), a global research initiative that explores alternatives to the privatization and commercialization of service provision in the electricity, health, water and sanitation sectors.

Call for candidates Summer School on Women, Peace and Security 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

[Attachment(s) from Faisal Akbaruddin Taqwa included below]

Tapping the water market? The US Water Partnership

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A few days ago Secretary Clinton announced the formation of US Water Partnership. Details are sketchy at the moment but we all know that state’s involvement in water networking is nothing new. Netherlands are quite active through their alliance with the world bank (BNWP), French through Coalition D' Eau/World Water Council and Stockholm through their World Water Week.


It seems that the US are now joining those list of states which mobilizes their resources on the water sector. From any angle, politics, economics and technology, the potential is huge. Read more here.



Call for Applicants: Ewha Global Empowerment Program 2012 Summer


Ewha Global Empowerment Program (2012 summer)
"Asian Feminisms and Transnational Activism"
July 5 - 18, 2012
Asian Center for Women's Studies, Ewha Womans University
Seoul, South Korea
The Asian Center for Women's Studies at Ewha Womans University is calling for applicants for the Ewha Global Empowerment Program (EGEP) 2012 summer. EGEP is a two-week program that will take place twice a year (January and July). It aims to empower women working in non-governmental public sectors and to nourish the next generation of women leaders in Asia and Africa. EGEP 2012 summer (July 5-18, 2012) is designed for women activists in non-governmental public sectors in Asia, with the theme of "Asian Feminisms and Transnational Activism."

Program Goals
On completing this program, participants of this program will have:
           - improved their theoretical knowledge and practical capacities from a gender perspective;
           - broadened their understanding of women's lives, women's issues, and women's rights in              
             Asian context; and
           -strengthened their leadership capacities to build women's solidarity and cooperation in local,
             national, and transnational contexts.
With minimum three years of experience, women activists working in international and national non-governmental public sectors in Asia, such as NGOs, NPOs, civil society organizations, including individuals working independently are encouraged to apply for this program.

Number of Participants: 20~25

While a more specific EGEP curriculum will be provided separately, the following is the major activity that participants may expect from the program:
            -EGEP open forum
            -EGEP workshop
            -Action plans
            -Study tours to Korean NGOs
            -Cultural and social events

English is the official language of the EGEP.

Application Requirements
            -Application Form
            -Statement of Purpose
            -Letter of Recommendation
            -Curriculum Vitae
            -A Scanned Copy of Passport
※Application requirements should submitted via online ( http://acws.ewha.ac.kr ).
Submission Date: April 2 ~ 15, 2012 (Korean local time). Late applications will not be considered.
※All forms are downloadable at the Asian Center for Women's Studies ( http://acws.ewha.ac.kr ).
Selection Criteria
The selection committee will evaluate the applicants based on the following criteria:
 field experience                                                                         25%
 expertise in women's issues                                                       25%
 potential as next generation of women leaders                            25%
 contribution to the community                                                    25%
※Successful candidates will be informed individually via e-mail on May 14, 2012.
Ewha Womans University provides the funding to cover fees for the tuition, dormitory including a two-week allowance for all the participants. Funds for airfare will be awarded only to the participants from Korean ODA beneficiary countries.
For more information, please visit our website at http://acws.ewha.ac.kr
or contact us via email at egep@ewha.ac.kr

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Asian Center for Women's Studies Ewha Womans University http://acws.ewha.ac.kr FAX: +82-2-3277-2577

Watercourses Convention Global Symposium ­ Call for papers extension to 29th February 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Global Symposium

The 1997 UN Watercourses Convention – What Relevance in the 21st Century?


5th – 8th June 2012, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK


Call for papers


The IHP-HELP Centre for Water Law, Policy & Science (under the auspices of UNESCO) and WWF will co-organise a symposium on the 1997 UN Watercourses Convention.  The aim of the symposium is to gather together a wide and diverse range of viewpoints from academia, government, international organisations, and civil society,  to debate the existing and potential relevance of this global framework instrument. 

Towards this endeavour the convenors of the symposium are inviting papers on a range of topics related to the UNWC. The organisors would be particularly keen to receive abstracts that explore,

·      the value of a global framework/ regime for the governance of international watercourses,

·          the lessons that could be learnt from the experiences of entry into force and implementation of other global or regional treaty regimes (e.g. Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Wetlands), and

·      the mechanisms that should be in place to ensure that watercourse conventions are implemented and complied with at the national level.

Paper abstracts of no more than 500 words should be sent to Dr Alistair Rieu-Clarke (a.rieuclarke@dundee.ac.uk) or Ms Flavia Loures (Flavia.Loures@WWFUS.ORG) by 29th February 2012. Abstracts will then be reviewed by a scientific steering committee, and participants will be notified no later than Friday 30th March 2012.

For more information: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/water/unwc/.

The UNWC Global Initiative Symposium will precede the Annual International Law and Transboundary Freshwaters Workshop, which will run from 11th – 14th June 2012 – see http://www.dundee.ac.uk/water/workshop/.  

The University of Dundee is a registered Scottish Charity, No: SC015096