Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tigrai Online March 08, 2013
The Nile Basin Countries celebrate Nile Day every year and this year it took place at Bahr Dar, a rapidly developing city on the shores of Lake Tana, and theTiss isat Falls where the Blue Nile/Abay River emerges. It is an area of economic growth with water resource development as a driving engine, and the Bahr Dar region hosts a number of Nile Basin Initiative projects, including the recently inaugurated power transmission connection between Sudan and Ethiopia, the Flood Prevention and Early Warning Project, the Eastern Nile Watershed Management Project, and the Tana-Beles Integrated Watershed Management Project.
The celebrations commemorate the launch of the Nile Basin Initiative on February 22nd 1999, and this year the theme was "Land Degradation and Climate Change address shared threats, sustain Nile Cooperation."Participants include Ministers in charge of Water Resources in each Nile Basin country, development partners, officials from various ministries working on Water, Energy, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, Transport, Members of Parliament, Researchers and representatives of civil society, youth organizations, the media and the people of the Nile Basin.
The objective is to enhance public awareness about the Nile and its potential for promoting regional cooperation as well as its vulnerability from the impact of growing demand, utilization and climate change. The program is designed to engage the Nile Basin public by providing them the opportunity for participation, emphasizing the role the River Nile can play in enhancing collaboration and cooperation to manage the shared water resources. Such events help to promote Basin-wide cooperation and encourage the riparian states to improve water management and development for people’s livelihoods.
Ethiopia’s participation in the Nile day and the NBI in general underlines its well-grounded belief that cooperation on the Nile is indispensable for the shared vision among riparian states to ensure sustainable and equitable utilization of the River and implement natural resource management to maintain the ecology of the basin. All riparian states drink from the same water, their destiny is inextricably linked and there is no alternative to cooperation to guarantee the benefits for the people of the Basin. Ethiopia has always stood behind NBI and the common projects for the benefit of all riparian countries. Equally, Ethiopian policy towards other Nile Basin countries is grounded on perpetuating the historical relationship between the countries linked through the natural chord of the Nile, and resting on fraternal relations based on the principles of equitable and reasonable utilization.
As a result, Ethiopia has played a key role in the drafting and signing of the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) and it has subsequently taken measures to build the confidence of the downstream countries to bring them onboard as signatories of the CFA. One notable measure in this regard was its decision to delay ratification of the CFA until a new government was put in place in Egypt. Indeed, the obvious conclusion to draw from the launch of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was that it underlines Ethiopia’s commitment to the equitable utilization of the Nile waters. The Renaissance Dam will have major benefits for downstream countries including regulation of water flows, of enormous value for the agriculture downriver, significant limits to siltation, and above all, a major reduction in evaporation and a consequent increase in the amount of water available.