Global Manifesto for
Public Services

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Africa Week of Action Against Water Privatisation

Climate-saving, gender-transformative, democratic public services are possible 


Public services are crucial in responding to the world’s multiple crises. The COVID-19 pandemic has cast into stark relief the consequences of decades of privatisation and commercialisation of public services that form the bedrock of our socities. This is a crucial moment to build public services as part of a just recovery and transition to a more sustainable and resilient economy and society. Join the growing movement, sign the Manifesto.

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214 Organisations

As of 14 September 2022

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The Manifesto

The Future is Public: Global Manifesto for Public Services was developed collectively by dozens of organisations and actors to serve as a rallying cry for public services for civil society, providing a concrete alternative to the dominant neoliberal narrative that has failed to ensure a dignified life for all. The manifesto positions public services as the foundation of a fair and just society and of the social pact that implements the core values of solidarity, equality and human dignity. It advances a series of ten principles for universal quality public services in the 21st century, and outlines how funding universal quality public services is possible.

“The manifesto is very timely and, I will say, necessary, so it’s very welcome. In this time, it’s very relevant to highlight the importance of the public sector in the era of neoliberalism where many people are advocating for the replacement of the State by the market.”

– Léo Heller, former UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation

“The manifesto is really a great initiative which captures the current consciousness, the current consensus and indeed expectations of a wide segment of society in terms of the kind of world, the kind of societies that we would like to live in.”

Solomon Ayele Dersso, Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Numbers at a glance

PPP schemes

Public health services

The Audit Chamber of the Autonomous Community of Madrid has found that health services delivered in PPP schemes are six times more expensive than health services delivered by the public sector.

This represents an excessive cost to the local Government, and as a consequence public authorities have demanded the revision of the PPP agreements with private entities.

IMF austerity cuts in 15 countries have blocked the recruitment of over 3 million nurses, teachers and other essential public sector workers.

In just those 15 countries, the recommended IMF cuts add up to nearly US$ 10 billion – the equivalent of cutting:

(The Public Versus Austerity report, October 2021)



other public sector workers

Gender and public services

Childcare – hours per week

women 62
men 36

Housework – hours per week

women 23
men 15

Women within the European Union spend on average 62 hours caring for children and 23 hours doing housework per week, compared to 36 hours and 15 hours for men.

Since the pandemic has put further pressure on public health systems that were already strained due to privatisation and austerity measures, women had to fill in the gaps for the lack of these services (to which dependent family members no longer have access). Even before COVID-19, women have traditionally been in charge of care responsibilities concerning sick family members. This was the case of the Zika crisis in the Dominican Republic, where women were solely responsible for caring for ill in in 79 per cent of the cases. UN Women’s rapid assessment surveys suggest that these trends have persisted during COVID-19 crisis.

(From the brief ‘Women and Public Services’, March 2021)

Children out of school due to COVID-19

Only 10% of children defined by the Government as vulnerable attended school or early years education during the first lockdown.

(From the brief ‘Women and Public Services’, March 2021)


Nine organisations began collaborating in 2020 with the aim of establishing a collective vision that could mobilise a strong broad-based movement to demand public services: ActionAid, the East African Centre for Human Rights, Eurodad, the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights, Oxfam, Public Services International, the Society for International Development, and the Transnational Institute.

Two key events were held in 2020:

  • A public roundtable discussion bringing together the UN special rapporteurs across six different mandates, to reflect on the impacts of privatisation and on building renewed momentum and strategies for the public provision of ESCR-related services.
  • A two-day civil society workshop bringing together over 80 participants from all around the world to start building a global civil society strategy against privatisation and for reclaiming public services.

A key outcome of the civil society workshop was the idea of developing a collective narrative to unite and mobilise a broad-based movement to challenge privatisation and demand public alternatives for the provision of services that ensure the realisation of human rights. A working group was formed, bringing together representatives from 25 organisations from various sectors and regions.

This group met regularly from January to June 2021 to develop a draft manifesto. Input was then sought through a series of regional workshops and online consultations held from June to September, with the feedback being integrated into a revised draft by the working group.

The final version of the manifesto incorporates the comments and inputs received from hundreds of civil society organisations and actors throughout the world. It aims to establish a clear, unifying vision on public services that can be used as a basis for advocacy and campaigning in different contexts, at the local, national, regional and global levels.


‘Enough is Enough: The Future is Public’ is an annual event that was organised for the first time in October 2020, and again in October 2021, that gathers current and former UN human rights special rapporteurs to discuss the importance of public services, and the alternatives to failing commercialisation models.

The October 2021 event was attended by over 500 people. It brought together for the first time nine global and regional human rights representatives to reflect on the crucial role of public services in building a more sustainable, inclusive, socially-just and resilient economy and society.

Highlight of the event

This event built on a similar very successful discussion in 2020 with eight current and former UN mandate holders on privatisation and public services. To find about more, click here.

In 2022, the Our Future is Public Conference will gather social movements and civil society organisations from all over the world in Santiago, Chile for a 4-day Conference aiming at developing strategies and narratives to strengthen public services for the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights and tackle the effects of climate change. The first two days will be devoted to sectoral meetings on health, education, agriculture, economic justice and social protection, energy, food systems, housing, transportation, waste and water; while the final two days will bring together all movements and organisations participating in the conference for a collective discussion on cross-cutting themes including the climate emergency, gender equality, economic and tax justice, and democratic public ownership. Pre-registration for this event is open! Click here to pre-register.

  1. The manifesto has been signed by the following organisations:

  1. A 11 – Initiative for Economic and Social Rights, Serbia
  2. All for Education! National Civil Society Coalition, Mongolia
  3. All U. P. Workers Union
  4. ActionAid International
  5. Aeopas – Spanish Association of Public Supply Operators
  6. African Palliative Care Association
  8. Agora Association, Turkey
  9. AHTELAB-C Asociación Hondureña de Técnicos en Laboratorio Clínico, Honduras
  10. Akina Mama wa Afrika
  11. Albanian Coalition for Education
  12. All Pakistan Labour Federation
  13. All U.P. Workers Union – Philippines
  14. Amis des Étrangers au Togo (ADET)
  15. Aqua Publica Europea
  16. Arab Campaign for Education for all
  17. Art and Global Health Center Africa
  18. Asamblea Social del Agua Solidaridad, México
  19. Asamblea Social del Agua, Mexico
  20. Asemuch
  21. ASPBAE – Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education
  22. Asociación Generaciones de Paz (ASDEPAZ), El Salvador
  23. Asociación Nacional de Trabajadores/as de Agua Potable y Saneamiento del Ecuador (ANTAPS)
  24. Association Marocaine des Droits Humains ( AMDH )
  25. Associação Nacional de Pesquisa em Financiamento da Educação, Brazil
  26. Association pour le Développement Économique Social Culturel Quartier Las Palmas, Mauritania
  27. Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
  28. Association pour la défense des droits à l’eau et à l’assainissement, Senegal
  29. Athens Solidarity Social Clinic/Pharmacy
  30. Azerbaijan Trade Union of Cultural Workers
  31. Banka BioLoo Limited, India
  32. Beacon Teachers Africa
  33. Blue Planet Project
  34. Both ENDS
  35. Brazilian Campaign for The Right to Education
  36. Bring Back British Rail, the UK
  37. CADTM France
  38. Campaign of Campaigns
  39. Canadians for Tax Fairness
  40. CEDAW People’s Tribunal, the UK
  41. CEE Coalition
  42. Centar za mirovne studije I Centre for Peace Studies
  43. Center for Economic and Social Rights
  44. CeVI – Centro di Volontariato Internazionale, Italy
  45. Civil Association for Equality and Justice (ACIJ), Argentina
  46. Civil Society Network for Education Reforms, Philippines
  47. CIVISOL : The Civicness and Solidarity foundation for Systemic Change
  48. Coalition Education
  49. Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE), Liberia
  50. Coalition pour l’Education Pour Tous Bafashebige, Burundi
  51. Comité Cerezo México
  52. Comitê Nacional em Defesa das empresas Públicas, Brazil
  53. Comité pour l’abolition des dettes illégitimes – Afrique (CADTM Afrique)
  54. Comité pour l’Annulation des Dettes Illégitimes (CADTM) France
  55. Commons Network
  56. Community Medicine Practitioners and Advocates Association
  57. Confederación Nacional de Servidores Públicos del Ecuador (CONASEP)
  59. Cooperativa RÍOS
  60. Coordination Nationale des Enseignants d’Education aux Droits de l’Homme et à la Citoyenneté
  61. Corporate Accountability
  62. Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa
  63. Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)
  64. Counter Balance
  65. CROSOL – Croatian Platform for International Citizen Solidarity
  66. Debt Observatory in Globalization
  67. Diálogo Institucional Assessoria e Análise de Políticas Públicas, Brazil
  68. E-Net Philippines(Education Network)
  69. Earth Thrive
  70. East African Centre for Human Rights (EACHRights)
  71. Eau Secours 62
  72. EnaBanda
  73. Enginyeria sense Fronteres
  74. Equidad de Género: Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia
  75. Estudio Jurídico Freiler, Argentina
  76. European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU)
  77. European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad)
  78. European Water Movement
  79. Fagforbundet, Norway
  80. Federación de sindicatos de la hidrológica de Venezuela
  81. Federación Nacional de Asociaciones Judiciales del Ecuador (FENAJE)
  82. Federación Nacional de Trabajadores del Agua Potable y Alcantarillado del Peru (FENTAP)
  83. Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging (FNV)
  84. Federatie Nederlandse Vakvereniging sector Overheid (FNV Overheid)
  85. Feminist Hiking Collective
  86. FIAN International
  87. Firelight Foundation
  88. FNV
  89. Food & Water Watch, USA
  90. FOA, Denmark
  91. Free Trade Union Development Center (FTUDC)
  92. Free Trade Union Development Center Sri Lanka
  93. Freelance
  94. Friend of the Earth International
  95. Friends of the Disabled Association (FDA), Lebanon
  96. Friends of the Earth International
  97. Gender and Development Network (GADN)
  98. GenderCC SA
  99. Genel-İs, Public Services Employees Union of Turkey
  100. Get Glasgow Moving
  102. Global Campaign for Education
  103. Global Campaign for Education, USA
  104. Global Colaition for Social Protection Floors
  105. The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  106. Global Policy Forum
  107. Global Social Justice
  108. Guyana Public Service Union
  109. Hope of Africa (HOFA), Cameroon
  110. Human Rights Research Documentation Center (HURIC)
  111. Human Rights Research Documentation Center (HURIC), Uganda
  112. Hydroconseil
  113. In the Public Interest, USA
  114. Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER), Uganda
  115. Institut za političku ekologiju
  116. Institute for Economic Justice
  117. Institute for Economic Research on Innovation
  118. Instituto de los Gobiernos Locales, Universidad Abierta de Recoleta, Chile
  119. Inter Pares
  120. International Alliance of Inhabitants
  121. International Network of Scholar Activists
  122. International Transport Workers’ Federation
  123. Iraqi journalists rights defense association
  124. Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers
  125. Josoi Care Association, Uganda
  126. Kamwenge secondary School, Uganda
  127. Kisumu Social Rights Association
  128. KnowPolicy
  129. Koalisi Rakyat untuk Hak atas Air (KRuHA – people’s coalition for the right to water), Indonesia
  130. Land Sea Maldives
  131. Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE)
  132. Lithuanian Non-Governmental Development Cooperation Organisations’ Platform
  133. Madhira Institute
  134. Medicus Mundi Mediterrània
  135. Mesopotamia Ecology Movement, North Kurdistan, Turkey
  136. Microgeographies
  137. Miroir Vagabond
  138. Mkaazi
  139. Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos (MNDH) Brasil
  140. Municipal Services Project
  141. National Campaign for Education Nepal
  142. National Campaign for Sustainable Development Nepal
  143. National Education Union, UK
  144. Naturefriends Greece
  145. Nawi – Afrifem Macroeconomics Collective
  146. Network of Public Interest Lawyers, Uganda
  147. New Hope New Winners Foundation, Tanzania
  148. Nigerian Women Agro Allied Farmers Association
  149. NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark
  150. OIKO.POLI.S
  151. Organisation pour la Démocratie le Développement Economique et Social (ODDES), Côté d’Ivoire
  152. Oxfam India
  153. OMEP- World Organisation for Early Childhood Education
  154. Pamoja Trust
  155. PAPC
  156. People’s Health Movement (PHM), East Africa
  157. People’s Health Movement (PHM), Europe
  158. People’s Health Movement (PHM), North America
  159. Personal, Educador
  160. Phenix Center, Jordan
  161. Plataforma contra la privatización del Canal de Isabel II, Spain
  162. Plataforma de Acuerdos Público Comunitarios de las Américas (PAPC)
  163. Platform, the UK
  164. Power For The People, the UK
  165. Pressenza International Press Agency
  166. Public Services International (PSI)
  167. Quepo, Sccl, Catalonia
  168. Red Agua Pública, Spain
  169. Red de Información y Acción Ambiental de Veracruz (RIAAVER), México
  170. Red del Agua Pública de Aragón
  171. Rede Latino Americana e Africana de Pesquisadores em Privatização da Educação
  172. Regroupement Education Pour Toutes et pour Tous (REPT), Haiti
  173. Right to Education Initiative
  174. Salut Drets Acció / Health Rights Action
  175. SANIDAD
  177. Share The World’s Resources
  178. Sindicato de las Empresas Municipales de Cali (SINTRAEMCALI)
  179. Sindicato de trabajadores del Hospital Universitario San Ignacio
  180. Sisters of Charity Federation
  181. Society for International Development
  182. Solidarité Laïque
  183. Solidarité Laïque Antenne Régionale Afrique de l’Ouest
  184. Sosyal Haklar Dernegi
  185. State Employees Federation, Mauritius
  186. Synafen
  187. Syndicat des Professeurs du Sénégal (SYPROS)
  188. Syndicat National Autonome de l’Enseignement Secondaire
  189. Syndicat solidarité
  190. TEACH Côte d’Ivoire
  191. Teso Anticorruption Coalition, Uganda
  192. The Center of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
  193. The Democracy Collaborative, USA
  194. Transnational Institute
  195. Tripla Difesa Onlus Guardie Sicurezza Sociale e Eco Zoofile odv
  196. Tunisian Observatory of Economy
  197. Uganda Peace Foundation
  198. Uganda Society for Disabled Children
  200. UILPA
  201. Union of Kenya Civil Servants
  202. VHS Berlin-Mitte
  203. Vigência, Brazil
  204. Viva Salud
  205. We Own It, UK
  206. Wemos
  207. Widener University Commonwealth
  208. Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO)
  209. Xúquer Viu, Spain
  210. Young Men Action for Education
  211. Young Professionals for Development, Kenya
  212. Youth Concern on environment and development (YCED-Ntungamo)
  213. Za Zemiata (Friends of the Earth Bulgaria)
  214. Zukunftskonvent Germany