Saturday, December 24, 2011

Water Sharing worries the Arab world due luck of Data management system- almasryalyoum

Data-sharing is part of the answer to the Arab region’s water challenge
<p><br /><br /> A local sailboat, known as faluka, sails in the River Nile on the outskirts of Cairo on May 18, 2010. Four African countries signed on May 14 a new treaty on the equitable sharing of the Nile waters despite strong opposition from Egypt and Sudan who have the lion's share of the river waters.</p>
Photographed by AFP
Water is potentially a matter of conflict and death as well as life in the Arab region, which is why it is such a sensitive subject on the ground and in negotiations for United Nations conferences such as the Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi (12–16 December) and next year’s Rio+20 meeting in Brazil.
Negotiators for the countries in the region have many concerns, but it almost always comes back to water, they say.
Fittingly, water was selected as one of the Eye on Earth’s "special initiatives" that the meeting recommends should be taken to Rio+20.
Arab world concern with water is not surprising, because the region is one of the driest in the world. A report by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development, based in Beirut, says that more than 70 percent of the land is dry and rainfall is sparse and poorly distributed. And it’s likely to get worse: "Climate change will exacerbate the situation," says the report.
It quotes climate change models that suggest that by the end of the century Arab countries will see a 25 percent reduction in rainfall, and a similar increase in evaporation rates: "As a result, rain-fed agriculture will be threatened, with average yields estimated to decline by 20 percent."
Bringing the message home to the Eye on Earth participants, the secretary general of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED), Najib Saab, said, "Almost three years from now, the average share of renewable water in a UAE will be 26 cubic meters a day for every person ... and the annual per capita share in the Arab world will be less than 500 cubic meters, which is below one-tenth of the world’s average of 6000 cubic meters."
This is a real and growing crisis. One of the responses is a feeling that the challenge can be met only by the sharing of data and cooperation. No country can face this alone.
Public awareness
This is the view of most delegates from the region at Abu Dhabi. But agreeing on a regional approach is not always easy.
There is another problem, too: Water professionals are concerned that public awareness of the full extent of water problems, present and future, is limited.
In a panel discussion during the Eye on Earth Summit, Mohamed al-Madfaei,deputy manager of environmental strategy and policy coordination at the Environment Agency — Abu Dhabi, identified the lack of a regional approach to awareness of water problems as key.
People don’t know how to use water carefully, he said. "Water awareness programs seek to create a global network to support coordination, and they seek to educate people."
He cited the examples of the Heroes of UAE campaign, which focuses on educating children on environmental issues, including water, so that they can influence their families, Clean-UP UAE, and the country’s national Paper-Less Day on 3 June.
And awareness is not simply a top-down matter. "Governments need some awareness too," Najib Saab told SciDev.Net.
Governments could take responsibility by establishing policies to encourage greater efficiency in the use of water resources. This would send a strong message to the public that using water costs money.
Bad decision-making
Policy is also a concern of Rachael McDonnell, a Dubai-based water specialist with the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture. She told SciDev.Net that a "limited policy development process" was part of the water scarcity problems in the Middle East and North Africa region: governments, she said, thought mainly in terms of short-term policies.
She also pinpointed the problems that inevitably arise when it comes to sharing data.
"There are big difficulties in getting water data or sharing it, even within the same country, and this leads to bad decision-making,” she said. She summed up the problem: “Scarce data in a water-scarce region."
There are good examples of sharing, however. "Our water data are available online," declared Madfaei. "We don’t hide any of them."
Nevertheless, Madfaei told SciDev.Net that he agreed that "with water security, it is very difficult." In the Gulf, he said, countries tend to cooperate, and there is no water conflict. The problem occurs mostly between countries that share water, such as Egypt and other countries along the Nile.
"A lot of countries have conflicts with regards to water, and with quotas and water-sharing as well. Maybe that’s a challenge but in the end it is up to people's political will to try to find a compromise," he said.
Faris Sayegh, senior consultant at GPC Global Information Solutions (GPC-GIS), "a global network of information professionals," said that some countries took national security as a reason to hide water information, but it was a wrong approach: information could help solve, rather than exacerbate, water conflicts.
"The conflict between Egypt and Ethiopia over the waters of the Nile is a good example of how sharing data is important," he explained.
"Egypt claims that new Ethiopian dams will significantly affect its water share, and Ethiopia is underestimating the impact of building the dams. So in this case, sharing data with independent institutions capable of analyzing the statistics could help solve this conflict."
It sounds promising. But, as already indicated, the path to sharing and cooperation is never straightforward. Mohamed A. Dawoud, manager of the water resources department at Environment Agency–Abu Dhabi, injects a note of reality: "Making all the water data available is not correct. Countries should allow access only to relevant data."

Friday, December 23, 2011

Egypt and Sudan still want to Keep their colonial share of the Nile waters according to the Sudan Vision

Egyptian-Sudanese Nile Water Authority to Meet in Cairo Tuesday

The Joint Nile Water Permanent Technical Committee is to convene its meeting in Cairo during the period December 20-22 this year.
The Sudanese delegation will be headed by the minister of water resources, Dr. Salah Yousif, and his Egyptian counterpart, Dr. Hisham Gandeil.
The meeting will discuss the latest development in the cooperation mechanism of coordination with other Nile Basin countries.
In addition, the meeting will discuss the latest development in the technical cooperation and water development projects in South Sudan which was reached according to a memorandum of understanding signed with the government of South Sudan for implementing a number of development projects under a $26.6 million Egyptian grant.
The meeting will also discuss the position of flood this year and indictor of next year flood.
According to MENA, Gandeil told reporters yesterday that the most important issues that will be discussed in the meeting will be the unification of the visions of both Egypt and Sudan in advance of the extraordinary meeting of Nile Basin ministers of water to be held in Burundi in January next year as regards the framework agreement and how to preserve the historic rights in Nile water of both Egypt and Sudan.
At the Burundi meeting, the Sudanese side will be headed by the chairman of Nile Water Authority, Engineer Ibrahim Saleh, while the Egyptian side will be headed by chairman of Nile Water Authority at the Permanent Technical Authority meeting, Dr. Mohammed Abdel Atti.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Boutros Boutros-Ghali,Ex-U.N. head says Egypt's big problems being ignored | Reuters

(Reuters) - Egypt's new politicians must shift focus from winning votes at home to securing support abroad if they are to solve pressing problems of an economy in tailspin, a looming water shortage and population explosion, a former U.N. chief said on Sunday.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, an Egyptian who was the United Nations secretary general from 1992 to 1996, said his nation's problems were being ignored by the new political class, including Islamist parties which have taken an early lead in parliamentary elections.

"The problems of Egypt cannot be solved in Egypt. They need the cooperation of other countries," he told Reuters, adding that Cairo's position at the heart the Middle East would force its new leaders to look outwards.

Following the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak in February, Egypt is inching towards a new era of democratic rule, with the Islamists emerging from decades of repression as a powerful force in mainstream politics.

"My opposition to the fundamentalist (Islamist) movement is not to the movement in itself. It is the fact that they will close the doors and isolate themselves," the 89-year-old said.

"There are problems that no one is talking about, and these are the urgent ones," he said, speaking from the offices of the Egyptian National Council of Human Rights, a body he heads.

One headache is the fading economy, with tourists and investors staying away because of the unrest. Another is the difficulty of having to support an extra 1 or 2 million people a year, in a country already 80 million strong.

A water crisis also looms, with African states further south looking to make greater use of the Nile at Egypt's expense.

"Public opinion is paying more attention to what is going on in the West Bank and Gaza ... rather than paying attention to what is going on in the African countries where you have the source of the Nile," Boutros-Ghali said.

"If you read all the slogans used by the revolution since January 25 there has not been a word about foreign affairs," he added, criticising groups across the political spectrum which have sprung up since the protest movement began early this year.


Before Mubarak resigned, Ethiopia and five other Nile Basin states agreed a new treaty which would reduce Egypt's share of the waters. Egypt gets almost 90 percent of its needs from the river and its demands will grow as the population surges.

"For Egyptians the Nile is an Egyptian river," said Boutros-Ghali, who regretted that Mubarak had also failed to address such issues through deeper international dialogue.

Boutros-Ghali comes from Egypt's minority Coptic Christian community, but he dismissed fears from some quarters that the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and ultra-conservative Salafis might lead to inter-religious violence or rights violations.

"For 2,000 years there have been ups and downs," he said. "They have lived together, co-existed together ... there are no ghettos," he added.

"That is not the case of the Tutsi and Hutu in Rwanda," he said, alluding to the 1994 genocide in the central African state.

Boutros-Ghali said everyone should accept an Islamist victory, regardless of political allegiance.

"You have to if you believe in democracy. You must hope they will act with moderation," he said, adding that he looked forward to a "peaceful coexistence" with more liberal forces.

Muslim Brotherhood leaders have suggested they might put Egypt's landmark 1979 peace deal with Israel to a referendum and other politicians have talked about renegotiating the accord.

Boutros-Ghali served as minister of state for foreign affairs in the late 1970s and helped negotiate the pact. He did not expect any new Egyptian leader to undermine the deal, hinting that the powerful army would prevent such a move.

"The army knows very well where its interests are. They have enough problems, not to add a new one," he said, laughing.

(Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Ben Harding)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ethiopia invites Egypt and Sudan to discuss Nile dam - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

November 11, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) - Ethiopia has officially invited Egypt and Sudan for talks over a controversial dam project the horn of Africa country intends to build on the Blue Nile river.

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The Nile Rivers (Wikimedia Commons)

The invitation on Tuesday comes few weeks after Sudan has agreed to join Ethiopia and Egypt for the establishment of a tripartite technical committee that will assess to concerns raised from down stream countries that construction of the massive dam project will reduce water flow.

The ministers responsible for water management in Egypt and Sudan have been invited to Addis Ababa this month for further consultation on ways of jointly fostering future cooperation based on common interest.

According to the Egypt State Information Service the joint meeting “aims to discuss ways of overcoming the crisis between the Nile Basin countries and to restore dialogue and negotiations on points of contention in the Framework the agreement of countries around the Nile”.

The tripartite technical committee comprises of experts drawn from the three countries as well as international experts.

The Addis Ababa meeting is expected to arrange and decide how and when the joint technical committee begins its research over the impacts of Ethiopia Grand Millennium Dam.

Ethiopia says it has the right to execute development projects on the Blue Nile and further argues that construction of the dam will benefit Egypt and Sudan, who under a colonial treaty have control over most of the Nile’s water resources and are able to veto the execution of dam and irrigation projects in upstream countries.

Ethiopian experts say construction of the dam will benefit Sudan and Egypt as it will regulate the flow of water, thus reducing the situation that threatens their dams and controls possible flood risks.

The 4.8 billion dollar project was officially launched on April, 2011 and upon completion Ethiopia has plans to export electricity to Sudan, Egypt, Kenya, South Sudan and other countries in the region. The country has recently begun exporting power to neighboring Djibouti.

South Sudan seeks membership of Nile Basin Initiative

In September the newly independent Republic of South Sudan announced it was seeking full membership of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) two months after it became independent on 9 July.

The acting minister of Information, Madut Biar Yel, said South Sudan had already been enjoying an observer status in the organisation as a semi-autonomous region before independence, under the umbrella of the then national government in Khartoum.

NBI is an inter-governmental organisation dedicated to equitable and sustainable management and development of the shared water resources of the Nile Basin. Its member states include Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda with Eritrea also as an observer.

It was established on February 22, 1999 in Dar es Salaam, by ministers responsible for water affairs of each of the nine member states. Its objectives include developing the Nile Basin’s water resources in a sustainable and equitable way to ensure prosperity, security, and peace for all its peoples.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Water needs desperate in Ethiopia

Ethiopia (MNN) ― Famine continues in the Horn of Africa. While food is important, so is water -- since that's what caused the famine in the first place. This situation is desperate.

Executive Director of Lifewater International Joe Harbison is in Ethiopia. "For three years in a row their rainy season has failed. They have no water. And those rains have only recently come back."

According to Harbison, water is their expertise. "Lifewater is pretty much focused on water. We're looking at wash water, sanitation, and hygiene. And we find that we're pretty much a perfect fit for our partner here because of the situation of water. They either have too much or too little, it seems."

Lifewater is working through Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Development and Social Service Commission. Harbison says, "We're finding that water actually gives us a tremendous avenue of entry point into communities that would otherwise never have access to the Gospel."

According to Harbison, Lifewater sends teams to work through local partners to begin the training process. "We actually have everyday people from around North America who come and are trained by us; they actually come overseas and train trainers to do that and multiply that gift into hundreds of communities. That way we have a multiplying effect."

They also teach good health through good water sanitation and hygiene practices.

Lifewater also installs wells. It costs about $3,000 to put a good well in an area.

While it has rained in recent days, Harbison says that doesn't instantly bring back their livestock. "It still takes months for a calf to be born and to be producing milk and for there to be food for the family, so this isn't an instant recovery."

In the meantime, Harbison is asking you to pray for their work in and around Ethiopia.

If you'd like to help Lifew

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ethiopian Melese Zenawie plays to delays Nile treaty until Egypt's election to over come his own short of financial asset and expertise

Ethiopian Melese plays  to agree in  delaying  the  ratification of a treaty that strips Egypt of rights to survive  depending on the Nile water  her only  source of  sweet  waters until it has elected a new government.  the truth of the matter is that the Ethiopian Dictator is  short of financial  asset and expertise that delays  not for Egypt's sake at any cost .    Egypt has been at odds with upriver nations over changes to colonial-era treaties that gave it veto power over dam projects. Six Nile basin countries, including Ethiopia, have now signed the deal, effectively stripping Egypt of its veto.Egypt, threatened by rising temperatures and a growing population, is almost entirely dependent on the Nile for its water and has been nervously watching hydropower dam projects take shape in upriver nations.An Egyptian team of 48 politicians and activists visited Addis Ababa this week as part of a charm offensive to try to push for a compromise. The visit was coordinated with Egypt's Foreign Ministry. A delegation visited Uganda last month."They met the prime minister on Monday and requested that Egypt be given time until it sets up a new government," Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti told Reuters.

"The prime minister has agreed to their requests and also offered to allow a team of Ethiopian, Sudanese and Egyptian experts, as well as international scientists, to see the benefits of the new dam," he said.

Egyptians are expected to vote for a new leader in December after popular protests toppled Hosni Mubarak in February.

Ethiopian dictator announced last month it was building a $4.78-billion death dam along its share of the river and that it had not informed Egypt about the project.

"The Ethiopian premier comments are very positive and reflect the new spirit Egyptian ties to Nile basin countries are now witnessing," said  the lolled Egyptian Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Hussein el-Atfi trusting the words of worst than Mubarak dictator Melees Zenawie who is trying to dominate the region though mega death dams.

"Egypt is keen to not oppose any project that would be in the interests of Ethiopia and the rest of the Nile basin countries, as long as it does not hurt Egypt's own water interests."

Since Mubarak's fall, the military-backed interim government has not openly criticized the new treaty, instead focusing on diplomatic ties in the search for a compromise has given Melese Zenawie unprecedented power showing the Egyptian weakness in the time of democratic revolutionary transition.

Some members of the Egyptian team in Addis Ababa, which included three presidential candidates and a former diplomat, blamed Mubarak's foreign policy for the Nile problems, saying he had neglected relations with other African states, forgetting the positive role played by the Egyptian deadly dictator in stopping Zenawie from building death dams on the Nile which will eventually dry out...

The newly  cheated Egyptian presidential candidate just  playing for local poultices of election lost the water power to Melees by declaring  that  "The (new Nile treaty) was signed in the absence of Egypt ... It's a result of bad foreign policy under Mubarak's regime," Hamdeen Sabahy, an e, said.

Ethiopia's Foreign Ministry spokesman said both countries recognized there had been a thaw in relations and said Egypt's interim prime minister would visit Addis Ababa in May. Egypt's foreign minister said the visit would take place next week.

Under a 1929 pact, Egypt is entitled to 55.5 billion cubic meters a year of the Nile's flow of around 84 billion cubic meters, but now with Melees Zenawie treaty not only Egypt will losses its share but also Ethiopia will lose the Nile by deadly dams drying it out .

At all cost this will not be long before the true faces of the deadly Ethiopian Dictator exposed by internal revolution like that of Hosni Mubarak, Kaddafi and Ben Ali. It is better for Egypt to stand firm in her position and keep its promises with the Ethiopian people not of a worst dictator Melees Zenawie.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

The 3rd Nile Basin Development Forum closes in Kigali | capitaleritrea

KIGALI, Rwanda – The President of the Senate of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo has emphasized the need to overcome fragmentation that exists at various levels of climate change management.

He explained that in Africa there are many initiatives that are engaged in climate change matters, including the East African Community through the Lake Victoria Basin Commission, Inter Governmental Authority on Development, and the United Nations Environmental Programme. “There is need for synergistic interventions that optimize and ensure beneficial use of the available resources,” H.E. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo added.

Speaking as Guest of Honor during the 3rd Nile Basin Development Forum in Kigali, Rwanda on 26th October, 2011 organized under the theme ‘Climate Change and its implications for Sustainable Development and Cooperation in the Nile Basin – Threats and Opportunities to Nile Basin Cooperation’ he said, “It is essential that policies, strategies, institutional and legal frameworks be developed, coordinated and harmonized at the global and regional level”.

Hon. Charity Kaluki Ngilu, Kenya’s Minister for Water and Irrigation and Chairperson of the Nile Council of Ministers in charge of Water Affairs, told participants that “the Nile Basin region is faced with a declining level of Lake Victoria. For us to guarantee water security for our citizens, I would encourage the Nile Basin Member States that are yet to sign the River Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement to do so.” She added that “Water security for Sudan and Egypt is not a matter for debate, but a right. To secure this right it is important the River Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement is ratified by all the Nile Basin States.”

Earlier, Dr. Wael Khairy, Executive Director of the Nile Basin Initiative, noted that achieving sustainable socio-economic development and management of the Nile Basin presents a great challenge, which calls for joint regional action as well as explicit political-will and financial commitment from all Nile Riparian States and development partners. He said the “Nile Basin can be resilient to climate change if, and only if, our Riparian States work together as one body”

The 3rd Nile Basin Development Forum was closed today 28th October, 2011 by the Host, Hon. Ambassador Stanislus Kamanzi, Minister of Natural Resources of the Republic of Rwanda.

He noted that participants have ably deliberated on the challenges, existing opportunities and the ever growing threats of climate change to development agendas, not only in NBI but in the whole of Africa.

“We received captivating key note speeches, deliberated on core issues and what can be done in Governance, Finance, Food and Energy Security in enabling us adapt to climate change”, he added.

Participants from the Nile Basin countries namely, Burundi, DR Congo Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, The Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda issued a ‘Kigali Declaration’ in which they called for cooperation among their respective countries in preserving and managing the Nile Basin environment by giving due attention to its water and land resources, wetlands and biodiversity and by addressing the impacts of climate change.

They also highlighted the need to support the empowerment of the Nile Basin Initiative to take more rigorous and effective steps towards implementing pertinent climate change adaptation measures, thereby contributing to the efficient water management and optimal use of the resources as well as poverty eradication leading to promotion of economic integration in the Nile Basin.

Participants further called for strengthening participatory and integrated approaches in planning and decision making, including the meaningful participation of the civil society and non-governmental organizations in our efforts on responding to climate change at national and regional levels.

During the Forum, NBI launched some of its key products relevant to the subject of climate change. These include the second release of the Nile-Decision Support System (Nile-DSS), which is a world class analytical tool for NBI Member States and NBI as an institution that supports rational decisions and promotes sustainable outcomes. It provides a trans-boundary framework for sharing knowledge, understanding river system behavior, as well as designing and evaluating alternative development scenarios, investment projects, and management strategies.

The first ever River Nile State of Basin report, which is currently under preparation, will be introduced. Among other things, this report provides access to accurate, credible and timely information to help in raising awareness and increasing understanding and appreciation about the natural environment, the people, communities and economic development of the basin.

The Nile Basin Sustainability Framework, a suite of policies, strategies and guidelines through which the NBI will ensure that its activities are sustainable. It will also be used ensure that the development and management of the Nile Basin water resources undertaken by NBI Member States with facilitation of the NBI are in accordance with the principles of integrated water resources.

The Nile Information System (Nile-IS), a web-based knowledge management tool that allows for easy storage, searching, organizing, retrieval, analyzing as well as disseminating and exchanging information collected from NBI programs and projects.

A number of FAO-Nile Information Products prepared between 1996 and 2008. These products are ‘policy neutral’ instruments for examining a linked future between the land and water in the Nile Basin– and exploring the issues related to the people that depend on the continued access to land and cycle of nutrients and water. They are tools for understanding the impacts of rising demand for food and water against a variable hydrological regime.

More than 200 participants from within and outside the Nile Basin countries, including Ministers in charge of Water Affairs and Members of Parliament in the Nile Basin countries, environmentalists, water managers, researchers, River Basin Organizations, International and Regional organizations, civil society, private sector, media, diplomatic missions and development partners attended the 3rd NBDF organized by the Nile Basin Initiative in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources of Rwanda.