Int’l Panel of Experts on Renaissance Dam to hold 4th meeting in Addis later this month

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Addis Ababa, November 16 (WIC) – The International Panel of Experts (IPoE) that assesses the impact of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on downstream countries will hold its fourth meeting in Addis Ababa later this month.

The meeting will be held from November 26 to 30 in Addis Ababa, Fekahmed Negash, director of boundary and trans-boundary rivers affairs directorate at the Ministry of Water and Energy (MoWE), told WIC. IPoE officially launched its activities in Addis Ababa on May 8, 2012.

The panel, which consists of two experts each from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan and four international experts, convened its third meeting in Addis Ababa in October 2012.
Fekahmed said the experts have been evaluating ‘relevant’ documents and discussions have also been held. The experts also paid two visits to the construction site in Benishangul Gumuz region. 
The establishment of the panel was the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s initiative as a “goodwill gesture” to build trust among riparian states. It was set up following Ethiopia’s decision to build Africa’s biggest hydroelectric dam on River Nile, the longest river in the world, which sparked tension in down stream countries.

“Sudan’s major concern is dam safety, which is also our concern while Egypt is concerned about possible reduction in the flow of water,” Fekahmed told WIC. “Hence, the individuals they elected for the panel are experts in these areas.”

Environmental impact of the dam and its socio-economic benefits, if any, will also be addressed by the experts, Fekahmed said.

The five billion dollars dam, which is being fully financed by Ethiopia, is expected to generate 6,000 megawatts of power.

The panel is expected to come up with a unanimously agreed upon findings in four months’ time, “with a possibility of extension”, to the governments of Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt.