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Nile basin

The Entebbe agreement; history in the making

Outlining principles, rights, and obligations on the use and development of the waters of the Nile, the Nile riparian states have declared the start of the dawn of a new era as of May 14, 2010.

The new dawn marked by the signing of the Cooperative Framework of Agreement (CFA) aka the Entebbe agreement is the result of a decade and plus years of negotiation among the Nile riparian states. Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda have ratified the Entebbe agreement while Kenya, Burundi, and South Sudan are processing the ratification at their respective legislature. The latter three countries ought to accelerate the ratification to enable lasting cooperation to take roots in the region, so told experts to The Ethiopian Herald.

The experts say the three countries signed the Treaty which is an intermediate step by which countries indicate their willingness to ratify the document. The document comes to force within 60 days when six countries ratified it and put the instrument of ratification at the African Union.

Any two signatory countries shall bring the CFA to life sooner than later, the experts urge.

Fekahmed Negash, Executive Director of Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office (ENTRO), said ratifying the CFA amounts to opening a gateway to lasting development of the states using the waters equitably. It will usher the states in catalyzing economic growth, reducing poverty, facilitating regional integration, and promoting regional peace and stability among Nile basin states, he added.

“Now three countries namely Kenya, South Sudan, and Burundi are processing the ratification.”

Eng. Tefera Beyene, Trans-boundary Water Affairs Advisor with the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy notes the fact that Ethiopia played a paramount role in bringing the basin countries to a round table.

The agreement assures not only equitable utilization of the waters but it also increases the flow of the waters as it promotes integrated environmental protection works.

Every state of the Nile should sign and ratify the agreement-that promises development and peace for the current and forthcoming generation of the Basin, hints the advisor.

The CFA has been designed in line with the 1997 UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses.

The genuine instrument of speeding up the pace of the ratification is a continued diplomatic engagement, and Ethiopia has to keep on the encouraging job in this regard, says Dr. Yacob Arsano.

He further indicated that bringing the CFA to force is tantamount to sealing basin-wide cooperation to conserve, manage and develop the waters of the Nile.

It is over two decades now since the negotiation started and it has reached a decisive stage with four of the seven signatory countries ratifying the document. It is incumbent upon the basin states to proceed through diplomatic engagements to bring the document to force and see the final outcomes, improving the lives of the millions of their people using and developing the waters of the Nile.


Source: The Ethiopian Herald