Friday, July 31, 2009

Upstream and downstream on the Nile

A long, history-packed piece by Reem Leila in Al-Ahram (Egypt): The sharing and management of the River Nile waters has put officials of the Nile Basin in a bit of hot water. Talks between the water ministries of Egypt and those of the Nile Basin countries ended on Tuesday night after the two sides agreed to form a technical committee to attempt to solve pending issues between the upstream and downstream countries. Nile Basin water ministers started crucial talks during the two-day 17th Nile-COM meeting in the coastal city of Alexandria on 27 July. Entitled "Nurturing our Partnership for Prosperity" the conference's aim was to draft a new water sharing agreement which is hampered by Egypt's refusal to reduce its share of the world's longest river, the 6,670km long Nile.

…Speaking on behalf of the Development Partners, David Grey of the World Bank pleaded for the inclusiveness of all the Nile Basin countries in the water resource management of the River Nile. "As we look into the future, with growing populations and economies and consequent water demand, and with climate change already a fact, not a conjecture, the world needs to ensure that cooperation and not conflict is the path that will be followed by co- riparian nations," Grey said.

…The River Nile, the longest trans-border artery linking 10 African countries, has become a major challenge for the nations that share its waters. The distribution of the Nile's waters has been a source of dispute and strained relations for many decades. According to the NBI, at the Nile-COM meeting, members emphasised the importance of a "United Basin" approach to managing the River Nile to ensure the most effective development of the river for the people of the member states….

The Aswan High Dam from space, shot by NASA

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