NILE BASIN INITIATIVE: working for sustainable socioeconomic development through the equitable utilization and benefit from Nile Basin water resources

By: Ahmed Alhaj (Site Admin)

ENTEBBE, Uganda (sudanow.info.sd) - Jinja district in Uganda will host this year’s Regional Nile day celebrations, held every 22 February. The Vice President of the Republic of Uganda,   Edward Sekandi will officiate at the celebrations, under the theme of ‘Water, Energy, and Food: Importance of Nile Cooperation’.

Nile Day is a celebration of the establishment of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) in 1999 by the Nile Council of Ministers in charge of Water Affairs in the Nile Basin countries namely Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Nile Basin Initiative is dedicated to equitable and sustainable management and development of the shared water resources of the Nile Basin.

Nile Day affords Nile Basin governments and citizens the opportunity to focus on stimulating region-wide awareness regarding the development, protection, conservation and sustainable management of the River Nile Basin and its resources for the benefit of more than 230 million people who live within the Nile basin and expect benefits from the management and utilization of its shared water resources. In Uganda, 33.6 million people out of a total population of 33.8 million, live within the Nile basin.

The two-day event (21-22 February) is organized in collaboration with the government of Uganda. Jinja district was selected by the government of Uganda for its historic reference as the source of the River. It is also the location for the new Bujagali hydro power Dam being constructed along the River Nile by the government of Uganda.

Celebrations will kick off with a brass band led procession from the Busoga Square to Jinja public market followed by cleaning of the market and handing over of dust bins to Jinja Municipal Council. Other activities include; an awareness raising session based on the theme of the celebrations, tree planting, a football tournament as well as cultural performance.

The celebrations have attracted high level participation including Ministers in charge of Water Affairs in Nile Basin countries, Members of Parliament, Ambassadors, Development Partners, Water specialists, Environmentalists, agriculturalists, Economists, Researchers, Civil society, Private sector, Media and the general public in Jinja.

At the same time, National celebrations will take place in the rest of the Nile Basin Initiative Member States and these will be organized by the Ministry in charge of Water Affairs.

Both the Regional and National Nile Day celebrations are organized in partnership with the Nile Basin Discourse (NBD), a civil society network operating in the riparian states that share the River Nile. NBD has since 2003 been facilitating civil society engagement in Nile Basin development processes within the Nile Basin Initiative programs.

Inaugural Regional Nile Day celebrations were held in Kigali, Rwanda in 2007; followed by Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2008; Bujumbura, Burundi in 2009; Kabale, Uganda in 2010 and Goma, DR Congo in 2011. Note to the Editor:

Despite the basin’s natural and environmental endowments and therefore tremendous opportunities for growth, its people face considerable challenges including increasing water scarcity, deteriorating water quality, lack of access to electricity, climate change and its potential impacts (such as droughts, floods, wetland degradation) as well as uneven levels of economic development.

Cooperative management of the common Nile basin water resources will enable NBI Member States to overcome the challenges thus bringing a vast range of benefits including increased hydropower and food production, better access to water for domestic use, improved management of watersheds and reduced environmental degradation, reduced pollution and more control over damage from floods and droughts. NBI is the only platform through which Nile basin countries can meet and discuss the cooperative management of the common Nile basin water resources.

Nile Basin Initiative Core Functions is to:

-Facilitating Cooperation

The NBI convenes the Nile Council of Ministers and provides a platform upon which Member States can discuss issues of water management and development.

-Water Resource Management

The NBI provides analytic tools and a shared information system that enables Member States to monitor and sustainably manage the basin.

-Water Resource Development

 The NBI assists Member States to identify development opportunities, prepare projects and seek investments. Development programs are focused on power trade and generation, agriculture and river basin management.

-The Nile Basin Initiative has got three centres:

 The Nile Secretariat, the Eastern Nile technical regional Office and the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program Coordination Unit.

The Nile Secretariat (Nile-SEC) is the executive arm of NBI responsible for the overall corporate direction as delegated by the Nile Council of Ministers. It is also the lead center for NBI’s two core functions, namely ‘Facilitating Cooperation’ and ‘Water Resource Management’. Nile-SEC is based in Entebbe, Uganda.

The Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office (ENTRO) is the executive arm of the Eastern Nile Subsidiary Action Program taking the lead in Water Resource Development in the Eastern Nile sub-basin (Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan). ENTRO is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program Coordination Unit (NELSAP-CU) is the executive arm of the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP) taking the lead in Water Resource Development in the Nile Equatorial Lakes sub-basin (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda). NELSAP-CU is based in Kigali, Rwanda.

The NBI’s development partners include African Development Bank, Canada, Denmark, European Commission, Finland, France, Germany/GIZ, Italy/FAO, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United Nations Development Program, United States of America, World Bank.



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