Monday, May 29, 2023
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Partnerships: a goal for peace and progress

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Ramiro Aurín. Civil Engineer from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia

Of the 17 goals for sustainable development that the UN has proposed for 2030, the first 16 are themselves measurable intentions on specific topics -Eliminate poverty, provide water and sanitation.....-, but 17 is the only strategy turned into a target for the achievement of sustainable development: the instigation of multidirectional alliances. The confluence of those who represent the citizens, not always democratically, with organisations and public or private individuals who can help develop skills, technologies, and financing processes, among other things, for the achievement of each and every one of the goals for sustainable development, and this confluence, this general alliance between all players of human society, as its foundation and key stone, cooperation as the first and last condition of a truly human progress and peace.

Faced with this approach to thinking and to global strategies to advance towards solving the world's problems and building a fair, robust and transcendent in time human civilization and, why not, in space, is between us a kind of millenarian regression according to which all public, that is ultimately the incarnation of power and its administrators, is beatific and salvational, and all private, that is ultimately the incarnation of what is marginal enough as to be changed, discovered and innovated, is demonic and evil and is not intended for anything more than access to power in any form, preferably economic.

Even as a gothic tale, it would be simplistic and ridiculous if it were not because Savonarola, a Dominican monk, would have to write it, and the Inquisition convert it into an article of faith. So the European Law Initiative for public water management, which is nothing other than a corporate initiative lobby of German workers of public companies for water management to avoid having to compete to provide better and more efficient service to citizens. This initiative, supported by 75% of German companies and 25% by all other EU countries, is a trend that may end up seriously damaging provision of services, and delaying the development of our cities into the smart city model that is emerging in the future as the one that best provides for its inhabitants, because it is the most productive and generates more economic and personal opportunities. And this is because we want this anti-capitalist reaction, which is fundamentally anachronistic and anti-progress. You can call this movement "The Reaction", given that its classical meaning is anti-progressivism.

Innovation requires transparency mechanisms

On the 6 and 7th June, a high-level forum on how science, technology and innovation were the key drivers to achieve the Goals for Sustainable Development was held in New York, at the headquarters of the UN. It is important to remember that innovation includes, and not as something minor, legislative development, of control and social participation that create the conditions that make the goals feasible. Innovation and technology transfer needs transparency mechanisms, which are also an innovation. Perhaps in no other area is the absolute necessity of cooperation and cross alliances so evident as in science and technology, and thus it was shown in an environment where prejudice is not above the objective, which is globally improving peoples' living conditions.

If we focus on the issues of provision water and sanitation, such collaboration between the spheres and the interests of the public and private sectors, it has been more important to define which cities took the lead in modernization and industrialization. Even today, "Mina Aguas de Terrassa" is the oldest surviving Spanish company. Created in 1842 to develop the textile industry in the municipality, meant a formidable challenge for the city and county from the beginning, which became one of the engines of momentum in Catalonia. But as competition is healthy, in Sabadell, a competitor for the textile industry and the capital and county leadership, in 1843 another group of industrialists in Terrassa's slipstream another company was created to ensure the provision of water to citizens and businesses.

In 1857 in Barcelona, initial attempts failed because of financial problems and it was not consolidated until 1867 when the Liege Society Aguas de Barcelona was constituted to supply the incipient expansion of Cerdá. In Madrid, it is the state itself that takes control, given the inability of the council and the absence of private capital, constituting the company Canal Isabel II, which was established by popular subscription -the queen was the first subscriber- but particularly it inherited the robustness of the Ministry of Development, which has led it to compete as a private company again, without prejudice to outsourcing everything others do better, or have high enough water rates for the service to be sustainable technically and economically, a singular attitude among the Spanish public.



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