Panel stresses need for sustaining public GRD support

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Addis Ababa, 3 April 2014 (WIC) - A panel organized by the Addis Ababa Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Public Participation Mobilization Coordination Office stressed the need for sustaining public support for the construction of the GRD.
On the occasion, scholars briefly explained the current status of the project and the country's diplomatic effort with regard to the Dam.
In his presentation Water, Energy and Irrigation Ministry Joint Formation and Information Technology Director Wubshet Demeke said that over the past decade the country's economy has been registering double digit growth. However, there are challenges one of which is energy shortage. The country is thus, has given attention to utilizing its hydro-power potential to generate electricity and sustain economic growth as well. Among the hydro-power projects, GRD is the biggest believed to boost power supply.
Ethiopia launched the construction of the Dam after conducting thorough scientific, environmental and hydro-logical studies and asserting that it causes no harm on lower riparian countries. All studies show that the dam will benefit Sudan and Egypt as well as Ethiopia.
Misguided by false assumptions that they have exclusive rights to the Nile waters, the Egyptian government has continued taking the case to different governments and international organizations, like Russia, Italy, EU, Gulf States, and Tanzania, he said. However, Wubshet said that all these actions won't stop Ethiopia from building the dam, as the construction is being carried out through local financial capacity.
He further pointed out that Egypt's position so far does not emanate from the technicalities of the GRD but because of the deeply rooted claim of so-called 'historic right'. But the bottom line must be adhering to win- win approach which is the only option to avoid misgivings, he added.
Panel participants indicated that Ethiopia has sovereign right to exploit its resources as long as it has no impacts on other countries.
According to the participants, no one could and would put pressure on Ethiopia to stop or slow down the construction of the dam. So far, Egypt and Sudan have been solely utilizing the river Nile denying the right of other riparian countries. This has changed as all Ethiopians stand together for the construction of the dam which has significant contribution to end poverty and ensure the country's renaissance.
They further said that the Ethiopian people have been providing all-embracing support including finance and labour for the realization of the dam.
The participants also underlined the government should sustain the momentum in mobilizing the public to step up support. They also reaffirmed readiness to do everything they can for the successful completion of the dam.
As to the participants, the government should be vigilant against any Egyptian move either politically or diplomatically.
Participants drawn from governmental offices, public institutions, religious organizations and city residents, among others, took part in the panel. (EH)