KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - Sudan on Saturday celebrated the annual Nile Day with a series of events ranging from official addresses, conferences to open air and indoor arts and sports festivities.
The Nile Day commemorates the establishment of the Nile Basin Initiative, and is celebrated annually on the 22nd of February across the Nile basin countries.
The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) is a partnership among the Nile riparian states that “seeks to develop the river in a cooperative manner, share substantial socioeconomic benefits, and promote regional peace and security”. The NBI began with a dialogue among the riparian states that resulted in a shared vision objective “to achieve sustainable socioeconomic development through the equitable utilization of, and benefit from, the common Nile Basin water resources." It was formally launched in February 1999 by the water ministers of nine countries that share the river: Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as Eritrea as an observer. The World Bank has a mandate to support the work of the NBI, as a lead development partner and as administrator of the multi-donor Nile Basin Trust Fund.
The Nile Day celebration’s motto “Joint Investments on the Nile for Regional Transformation” is in congruency with what Sudanese are looking for in economic renaissance via agricultural investment.
In commemoration of the Day the Sudanese Ministry of Water and Irrigation has convened a conference on ‘the Water Sector’ it held in cooperation with the UNICEF and a group of voluntary NGOs.
The Conference has discussed working papers on the challenges facing the country’s water and irrigation sectors and Sudan’s projects in these areas.
A number of renowned experts in water and water resources had attended the event, presented scientific papers or worked out programs for water management.
In an opening address Water and Irrigation Minister Yasir Abbas said his Ministry would count on the Conference outputs in planning its future drinking water and irrigation projects during the transitional period and after.
“The water sector had suffered quite a lot during the defunct regime and it is now our imperative to lay down a national water plan in collaboration with our partners in the water sector,” said Prof. Abbas
Unicef Representative Abdallah Fadl has urged for “strong and effective cooperation between the partners and the Irrigation Ministry.” He voiced the Unicef’s “complete support to the Conference outputs.”
Deputy Director of the technical organ for water resources, Dr. Hassan Abulbashar, has appreciated the participation of representatives of the Nile Basin Initiative in Sudan’s celebrations.
He said 84 investment projects were prepared by the Nile Basin Initiative. They seek to boost food security, energy and water resources at an estimated total cost of $6.5 Billion. “The new Sudan is open towards regional cooperation and looks forward for gaining from these projects,” he said.
He said some scientific means were also devised within the initiative. These means will be promoted in a manner that helps take decisions on the utilization of common water resources.
Meanwhile, after long years of talks between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, on the requirements for operating the Grand Renaissance Dam (Gerd) Ethiopia is building on the River Blue Nile, promising news came out of Washington that three parties are about to reach an agreement on how to fill the ensuing lake and how to control the river water for the benefit of the three neighbors.
The talks that used to rotate between Addis Ababa, Khartoum and Cairo have of late added Washington when the US accepted an Egyptian request to moderate the situation. Together with Washington, the World Bank has also entered the talks.
In a recent statement in Addis Ababa US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the parties are nearing an agreement.
He said a lot more needs to be done “but I am optimistic we could reach an agreement in the coming months.”
He said the objective of the US is to reach a compromise solution and said he thought that was the objective of the three parties.
The Nile Basin is one of the Globe’s strategic areas. It overlooks important waterways: the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, the Red Sea the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean to the West. In addition, the Basin overlooks the banks of the River’s many tributaries and mainstreams. This permits the creation of hydroelectric projects that can be used to generate electricity and launch major industrial ventures. The area is also rich in underground and surface waters.
In addition, the region receives a lot of rainfall, which in addition, can help exploit vast expanses of fertile land for agriculture. The area is also endowed with a lot of livestock and fish potential.
However, the Nile Basin countries are facing spates of droughts and environment hazards that dictate upon them the need to work together and maintain the existing water agreements and advance them further.
The parties are also required to watch the river banks for possible pollution with human, animal and industrial refuse that lead to infections with waterborne diseases.
E N D