Experts Call for Revival of Nile Basin Initiative

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Experts Call for Revival of Nile Basin Initiative
Experts Call for Revival of Nile Basin Initiative

Africa-PressEthiopia. s Ababa October 8/2014 /ENA/ Ethiopian water experts have called on Nile Basin countries to revitalize their participation in the Nile Basin Initiative and strive for mutual benefits from the Nile River.

The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) is an intergovernmental partnership of 10 Nile Basin countries, namely Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, with the objective ‘to achieve sustainable socio-economic development through the equitable utilization of, and benefit from, the common Nile Basin water resources.’

The water experts, who called for renewed participation of the seven countries in the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), said the divergence to tripartite negotiations on the Blue Nile between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt has partly limited the progress made by many of the NBI countries to participate in the initiative.

They urged South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and DR Congo to renew their commitments and take actions that help to effectively implement the initiative.

Hawassa University Water Supply and Environmental Engineering lecturer, Mihret Dananto said the seven countries have to revitalize their participation in the initiative and revive the waning NBI.

According to him, the countries need to transform the initiative into a council to scale up its executive mandates and get international recognition instead of relying on mere initiations.

The platform in that way could encourage inclusive discussion on mutual obstacles and administer the transboundary river effectively.

Mihret pointed out that the initiative’s capacity to implement its objective is not effective and all the countries in the NBI should participate and collaborate in administering River Nile.

Ethiopia should not fight alone, the water expert noted, adding that agreements reached with Egypt and Sudan could also directly impact the rest of the countries in the Nile Basin Initiative.

“Silence of the seven countries is not helpful to Ethiopia in particular while the country is in fact fighting for their interests,” the expert pointed out, adding that “so the countries have to actively engage and defend their respective interests.”

Hawasa University Irrigation and Water Resources Engineering Department member, Moltot Zewdie said working in collaboration within the Nile Basin Initiative would benefit all the countries in the basin.

The failure of progress in the Nile Basin Initiative has diminished cooperation and funding, he noted, adding that departure to the tripartite negotiations might have hampered the progress of the participation of the countries in the initiative.

The expert commended Ethiopia’s readiness to cooperate with the NBI member countries to develop and use the water resource.

However, Moltot noted that developing the basin requires huge cost and needs support of the lower riparian countries for mutual and sustainable benefits.

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