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September 21, 2021
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Nile Basin countries urged to embrace coordinated, harmonized efforts to avert conflict over water

The Nile Council of Ministers is expressing concern over a widening gap between water availability and water demand, which could lead to increasing water conflict within and between countries.

Speaking at the close of the just concluded 6th Nile Basin Development Forum dialogue forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the ministers noted that dealing with this challenge requires Nile Basin countries to embrace a nexus approach to ensure the coordinated planning and implementation of investments in the water supply, food, and energy sectors.

“The challenge also requires Nile riparian countries to increase coordination in the planning of future water use, and cooperatively take action to implement measures to help bridge the gap between water availability and water demand in the Basin,” they said

In a joint communique, the ministers indicated that consensus on the Nile is possible but urged the countries concerned to commit to ‘continue cooperating in good faith and working together to find peaceful solutions to differences and identify mutually acceptable solutions to the challenges facing the Nile Basin.’

“Countries also need to renew efforts to bring back Egypt into the fold of cooperation on the Nile,” The ministers said in the communiqué.

Even as it called on the Nile member states to speed up preparations for a second Nile Heads of States and Governments Summit, the council noted that “it is important to have Heads of States and Governments engaged in championing regional investments that confer a basket of benefits to all riparian communities.”

NBI Secretariat ED Prof Seifeldin Hamad Abdalla and Dr. Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s Minister of Water at the 6th Nile Basin Development Forum. PHOTO / ELIZABETH AGIRO

Those who attended the forum include ministers in charge of water and foreign affairs in Nile riparian countries, other senior government officials, parliamentarians, water resource managers, river basin organizations, economists, environmentalists, development planners, academics, researchers, media practitioners, civil society, local and international NGOs, UN agencies, and private individuals and corporations.

The Nile Basin Development Forum (NBDF) is a high-level regional event convened every three years by the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) in collaboration with its 10 Member States and in partnership with development partners.

The event is a science-policy dialogue that provides an opportunity for sharing the latest information, knowledge, and best practices, expand networks, build a common understanding of the development challenges and opportunities of the basin, and provide suggestions for a common course of action for the sustainable management and development of the basin for the benefit of all the riparians of the Basin.

The objectives of the Forum are to build a common understanding on the status of the water and natural resources base of the Nile Basin among stakeholders, examine the shared complex challenges and, exchange perspectives on the solutions for addressing these challenges.

The NBDF event that was held this year 2021 was the sixth edition of this event. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this event was held mostly virtually. Preceding this closing event, the NBI organized 30 webinars that were attended by 824 persons from 55 different nationalities from around the world. The webinars were used to discuss a wide range of topics on the Nile under the overall theme of “Re-thinking regional investments in the Nile Basin”.

The Nile Basin Development Forum was organized with support from the Federal German Government through GIZ as well as the World Bank and Cooperation in International Waters in Africa. It was hosted by the Government of Ethiopia.

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