Wednesday, July 17, 2024
NewsEthiopia urges formation of Nile River Basin Commission, fast regional integration

Ethiopia urges formation of Nile River Basin Commission, fast regional integration

 The third edition of the Annual Forum on Regional Integration and Reasonable Utilization of the Nile (AFRIRUN III) was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on June 15, 2024, under the theme “Shared Resources for Shared Future and Prosperity: Cooperation and Regional Integration through Equitable and Reasonable Utilization of the Nile.”

The Forum was organized by the Institute of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia (IFAE) in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and the Ministry of Water and Energy (MoWIE) of Ethiopia. It brought together senior Ethiopian government officials, diplomats, researchers, academicians, and other stakeholders from Nile Basin countries.

Jafar Bedru, the Executive Director of IFAE, stated these forums have helped identify key challenges, leverage potential advantages, and provide actionable recommendations to transform the immense potential of the Nile for regional integration and cooperation based on the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization of the Nile River.

The director also highlighted advances in the Nile Basin, including the growing number of countries ratifying the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement. However, he mentioned structural constraints that continue to hinder progress, such as the delay in forming the Nile River Basin Commission and the slow pace of regional integration. The exchange of insights and experiences to address key challenges and harness the Nile’s potential for cooperation, regional integration, and prosperity is the prime agenda of the third AFRIRUN Forum.

Ambassador Mesganu Arga, State Minister for MoFA, remarked that the Nile River Basin holds enormous potential for fostering regional cooperation, economic development, and environmental sustainability. Realizing this potential necessitates that countries along the Nile River Basin forge partnerships grounded in mutual respect, trust, and a shared vision for the future.

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He further expressed that Ethiopia is finalizing the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) founded on the principles of equitable and reasonable utilization of the Nile, adding that the dam promotes and fosters cooperation and regional integration.

Ambassador Mesganu also called for concerted efforts to establish the Nile River Basin Commission, which requires the ratification of the CFA by an additional riparian state. The formation of the Commission would enable basin countries to respond to common challenges.

He underscored that the Green Legacy Initiative, championed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, demonstrates Ethiopia’s leadership and commitment to addressing environmental challenges and sets a powerful example for the region and beyond.

Sultan Wali, State Minister at MoWIE, underscored the need for more energy interconnection projects among the riparian states and the acceleration of the CFA’s implementation.

Dozens of water engineers, academicians, communication experts, and lawyers presided over four panel discussions focused on the sustainable management and governance of shared resources, the imperative of strategic communication on the fair and reasonable utilization of the Nile River, the factors delaying the swift implementation of the CFA, and the political commitment and legal actions expected from Nile River basin countries for the accelerated entry into force of the CFA. The discussions also emphasized the necessity of cooperation on the use of the Nile River to foster regional integration.

The panel discussions underscored that the establishment of the Nile River Basin Commission will enable the countries to jointly address challenges and ensure effective, reasonable, and efficient usage of the Nile River for a shared future of prosperity and regional integration.

(MoFA)

[speaker]
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