Addis Abeba – Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, called on all the Nile Basin riparian states to “expedite the coming into force of” the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA). The CFA “outlines principles, rights and obligations for cooperative management and development of the Nile Basin water resources.”
FM Demeke made the remark at a three-day first regional high-level conference of the Nile Upper Reparian Countries cooperation conference, which kicked off in Addis Abeba today, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Minister of Water and Energy, Habtamu Itefa, State Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Tesfaye and Ambassador Birtukan Ayano, Deputy Mayor of Addis Abeba City, Zantirar Abay, as well as delegates from Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and South Sudan, and representatives from various water institutes and high-level guests are attending the conference.
The Nile river, which supplies livelihood to millions of people who live along its banks in Ethiopia alone, and accounts for two-thirds of the country’s surface water, Demeke said. However, Nile River is “confronted with both man-made and natural issues that affect sustainable use of the river, exacerbate water stress in the region, and cause tensions over the utilization of the available water.”
Explaining the issues preventing the sustainable use of the Nile river, demeke added that “on the one hand, threatened by the ever-increasing water demand due to population growth, environmental degradation, and climate change, among other things.”
Furthermore, the “tendency to assert hegemony over the shared water resource, on the other hand, continues to be a barrier to the equitable and sensible utilization of the Nile waters,” Demeke emphasized.
He recalled the actions taken by the upper riparian nations on the Nile in the past years, saying that “riparian states have sought to address these challenges and have made modest strides to conserve the shared resource while trying to ensure fairness in its utilization.”
“Unfortunately, a pure development project with clear targets for clean energy production has been subjected to undue politicization and pressure, even though it does not entail any significant harm to any riparian country,”
These efforts have culminated in the launching of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) in 1999 and the opening for signature of the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) in 2010, following a decade-long negotiation process, he added.
Among other aspects, Demeke also stated that, “in addition to this collective effort that we are making to ensure fair and equitable use of our shared resource, the government of Ethiopia has, in the framework of the CFA, supported basin wide development and restoration.” He also briefed about the developments of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Green Legacy Initiative launched by the Government of Ethiopia under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
“Unfortunately, a pure development project with clear targets for clean energy production has been subjected to undue politicization and pressure, even though it does not entail any significant harm to any riparian country,” he said, further adding: “this is yet another indication of why we need to expedite the setting up of a basin wide legal and institutional framework.”
In this regard, I would like to seize this opportunity to call on riparian states to expedite the coming into force of the CFA, which would undoubtedly address problems in a lasting manner, he added. AS/MoFA