Nile Basin cooperation is a mandatory, not an option: Ministry

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Addis Ababa, 25 February 2014 (WIC) - Water, Irrigation and Energy State Minister Kebede Gerba said: “Fifteen years of Nile Basin cooperation has yielded results. But we still have a long way to go to completely relieve the community from the burden of poverty. It is therefore self-evident that Nile Basin cooperation is mandatory, not an option.”
The 8th National Nile Day was celebrated with a theme: “Access to Water and Energy National Challenges, Trans-boundary Solution,” here yesterday.
He also said that future generations will benefit only from win-win outcome achievable through sustaining engagement and working together. “Building enduring regional cooperation and availing all the necessary technical, institutional, organizational, financial requirements takes time. Building trans-boundary cooperation and institution requires patience and working through disagreements.”
In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald, Egypt Ambassador Mohamed Edrees said: “The significance of this cooperation is not something new or impossible. All the countries cooperated and Egypt was also instrumental in this process. We have to always remember to continue this path of cooperation. Cooperation is our common path. And win-win is our shared goal.”
The Nile Day also regionally celebrated in Uganda, Entebbe in the presence of Ministers in charge of Water Affairs in the 11 Nile Basin countries, diplomats, development partners, and government officials.
It is an annual celebration of the establishment of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) on 22nd February 1999, by Ministers in charge of Water Affairs in the Nile Basin countries.
South Sudan Ambassador Arop Deng at the occasion said: “History reveals that civilization and socioeconomic activities of our people is track back to changes in the levels of Nile waters, giving them opportunity to migrate and move across territories beyond the current borders.”
As to him, it becomes a moral duty and responsibility as governments of the Nile Riparian States to facilitate this socioeconomic development and cooperation of people.
Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister Geo Information and Information Technology Director Wubeshet Demeke also said that if properly planned in a cooperative manner the resource base of the basin can adequately support the well-being of the entire people of the basin and enables meeting the growing demands.
Despite this fact the basin is known to have six of the ten poorest nations of the world. Obviously this needs to change and the responsibility falls in our shoulder: we the people of the Nile Basin, he said.
He also said that Ethiopia's move towards fulfilling the national energy demand and stretching to offer power trade opportunities for regional economic integration in the Nile Basin countries and beyond need to be appreciated and deserves the support of all.
“In order to take advantage of cooperation there is a need to leverage on existing efforts. Through cooperation the benefits that can be tapped from the Nile will be much larger,” Wubeshet added.
The Nile Basin remains the only region on the African continent without a functional regional power grid with very insignificant volumes of power traded among the countries. Nile Basin Initiative is the first and only all-inclusive regional platform for the Nile Riparian countries to discuss with trust and confidence the joint management and development of the common Nile Basin water and related resources.
According to the Ethiopian Herald, the Nile Day was attended by government officials, diplomats, members of parliament, researchers, development partners, civil society and school children.

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