NBI Policy Paper | The Water Page

The Nile is one of the world’s greatest riches and is of inestimable value for its peoples – a resource which needs to be held in trust for future generations. Sustainable development and management of the Nile Basin presents a great challenge and there remain many opportunities for growth and development for the future, bringing the promise of regional harmony and economic development. At the heart of this challenge is the imperative to eradicate poverty. Without action today, the riparian countries will face many problems including famine, extreme poverty, environmental degradation and rapid population growth. This is a clear challenge for the peoples of the Basin and calls for vision and leadership.The purpose of this brief document is to set out policy guidelines for taking the strategic action which is necessary to realize the potential of the Nile for the good of all. The time has come to move from planning to action.The objectives are:To develop the water resources of the Nile Basin in a sustainable and equitable way to ensure prosperity, security and peace for all its peoples.To ensure efficient water management and the optimal use of the resources.To ensure cooperation and joint action between the riparian countries, seeking win-win gains.To target poverty eradication and promote economic integration.To ensure that the program results in a move from planning to action.To achieve sustainable socio-economic development through the equitable utilization of, and benefit from, the common Nile Basin water resources.The strategic action program comprises two complementary sub-programs. These promote the Shared Vision and realize the vision through action on the ground.While the Shared Vision is being developed and promoted at the basin-wide level, building commitment and clear goals, it needs to filter down to the country and local level. However, the Shared Vision cannot stand alone; it has to be nourished and fed by actions on the ground – actions which meet the needs of the people and build trust and confidence amongst the riparian countries. Action on the ground will take place at local, national and sub basin levels, and will integrate upwards within a basin-wide framework. Program for the NileThe “Shared Vision Program” comprises a limited range of essential but effective activities to create a coordination mechanism and an “enabling environment” for the implementation of the shared vision through action on the ground.”Subsidiary Action Programs” plan and implement action on the ground at the lowest appropriate level, taking into account benefits and effects of planned activities on other countries.The main task of the shared-vision program will be the creation of an enabling environment for investments and action on the ground, within a basin-wide framework. This program will promote the shared vision through a limited, but effective, set of basin-wide activities and projects.The “Shared Vision Program” illustrated in Figure 2 (and further explained in Annex 1), comprises 5 broad themes, as follows:Cooperative Framework (Project D3, ongoing) [B]Confidence building and stakeholder involvement [C]Socio-economic, environmental and sectoral analyses [D]Development and investment planning [E]Applied training [F]The Shared Vision (A) will be underpinned by a cooperative framework (B). The ongoing Cooperative Framework Project D3, supported by UNDP, is building such a regional framework. Supporting this ‘roof,’ are four major basin-wide tasks (C-F) which are the ‘pillars’ of a basin-wide shared vision program. Other activities will be added as they are needed and agreed upon. All activities within these tasks have a major capacity building component and contribute to human resources development within the basin – this provides the ‘foundation’ of the proposed program (G)Water Supply & SanitationIrrigation & Drainage DevelopmentFisheries DevelopmentHydropower Development & PoolingWatershed ManagementSustainable Management of Wetlands & Biodiversity ConservationSustainable Management of Lakes & linked Wetland SystemsRiver RegulationFlood ManagementDesertification ControlWater Hyacinth & Weeds ControlPollution Control & Water Quality ManagementWater Use Efficiency ImprovementsInfrastructure:Regional energy networks, including power interconnection and gas pipelinesTelecommunication developmentRegional transport, including: railway and road networks; river and marine navigation; aviationTrade and Industry:Promotion of trade (including border trade)Industrial developmentRegional tourism developmentPromotion of private investment and joint venturesMarketing and storage of agricultural productsForest crop harvestingMalaria and other endemic diseases controlProtection of wildlifeEnvironmental managementDisaster forecasting and managementMaintaining riparian dialogueThe Council of Ministers of Water Affairs of the Nile Basin (NILE-COM) is the main policy and guidance forum for Nile Basin cooperation. The NILE-COM has established a Technical Advisory Committee (Nile-TAC) as an inclusive, transitional institutional mechanism to coordinate joint activities, pending the successful completion of the Cooperative Framework Project D3. The Nile-TAC will establish working groups to undertake specific tasks (see below). High priority will continue to be placed on strengthening the process of consultation in order to build trust and confidence. Other fora, such as the Nile 2002 series of conferences (supported by CIDA) will continue to be valuable mechanisms for the exchange of views.Shared Vision Program preparationThe Nile-TAC will be responsible to the NILE-COM for the preparation of the shared vision program, which will be coordinated and implemented at the basin-wide level.Subsidiary Action Program identificationTo help with identifying subsidiary action programs, Nile-TAC will promote the establishment of working groups of concerned countries. The Subsidiary Action Programs that will evolve will be within the Shared Vision and its framework developed at the basin-wide level. The sole responsibility for these programs will then rest with the involved riparians – with all affected countries being able to participate. Figure 5 illustrates how country activities will take place within possible sub-basin frameworks (with many smaller sub-basins within the two larger sub-basins illustrated), which themselves will be within a basin-wide framework. This basin-wide framework will itself be within an ‘international discourse’ to promote international support for sustainable Nile water development and management.The NILE-COM has requested the World Bank and its partners to organize and host a consultative group – the International Consortium for Cooperation on the Nile (ICCON). The objective of the ICCON is to seek coordinated and transparent support for cooperative water resources development and management and other related projects in the Nile Basin. Within this forum, Nile riparian countries will seek funding pledges for projects from bilateral, multilateral and possibly private funding agencies.On the basis of the Shared Vision for the Nile Basin and the arrangements outlined in this document, the Council of Ministers is committed to foster cooperation and sustainable development of the River Nile for the benefit of all.