NBI should be mandated to conflict resolution
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The Kagera River near Rusumo Falls forms part of the upper headwaters of the Nile River (Photo by Ludovick Kazoka).

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NILE Basin Initiative (NBI), an international partnership of ten Nile Basin countries, should be mandated to resolve conflicts in order to enhance cooperation to member states in the region.

NBI member states are Tanzania, Egypt, South Sudan, The Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Eritrea participates as an observer.

During a regional media training in Kigali last December, the NBI’s Senior Advisor, Dr John Rao-Nyaoro, said the NBI member states should emulate other regional bodies to enable NBI solve conflicts, citing an example of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in such role.

SADC, which Tanzania is one its member states, has recently received the top position in a global comparison of indicators of Water Cooperation prepared by international think-tank Strategic Foresight Group.

The regional body has scored 100 in the Water Cooperation Quotient, which examines active cooperation by riparian countries in the management of water resources using 10 parameters, including legal, political, technical, environmental, economic and institutional aspects. High performance in the Water Cooperation Quotient also means low risk of war between countries in the concerned river basin.

Dr Rao-Nyaoro, who is the former NBI Executive Director, says it was high time the regional body mandated to conflict resolution in order to enable it to iron out differences likely to be ensued among member states on issues pertaining to water in Nile Basin.

NBI consist of three main programmes namely the Shared Vision Programme (SVP), the Eastern Nile Subsidiary Action Programme (ENSAP) and the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Programme (NELSAP).

SVP focuses on building institutions, sharing data and information, providing training and creating avenues for dialogue and region-wide NBI should be mandated to conflict resolution networks needed joint problem solving, collaborative development and develop water resources in a sustainable way. ENSAP seeks to develop the water resources of the Eastern Nile Basin in a sustainable and equitable way to ensure prosperity, security and peace for all its peoples.

It’s managed by the Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office (ENTRO) based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. NELSAP is an investment programme under NBI with mission to help reduce poverty, promote economic growth and reverse environmental degradation.

NELSAP programmes fall under two broad programmes areas: Natural Resources Management and Development and Trade. As for Natural Resources Management and Trade, the programme includes the Kagera Trans boundary Integrated Water Resources Management launched in December 2005. The project is shared between Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda.

The Mara Trans boundary Integrated Water Resources Management and Development project in the Mara and the Serengeti national parks launched effective January 2006. It is shared between Tanzania and Kenya.

NBI began with a dialogue among the riparian states that resulted in a shared vision to achieve sustainable socioeconomic development through the equitable utilization and benefit from the common Nile Basin water resources. It was formally launched in February 1999 by water ministers of nine countries that share the river.

The nine countries are Tanzania, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as well as Eritrea.

The goals of NBI are to develop Nile Basin water resources in a sustainable and equitable way to ensure prosperity, security and peace for all its peoples and to ensure efficient water management and the optimal use of the resources as well as to ensure cooperation and joint action between the riparian countries, seeking winwin gains.

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