Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Nile conflict | International Law

Last week, we were talking about the different water conflicts in the world. One of these conflicts takes place in the Nile basin. Trying to know more about this topic, I found an interesting article by Lester R.Brown, the president of the Earth Policy Institute and the author of “World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse”.
In this author´s opinion, there is the possibility of a new conflict in Africa because countries such as Saudi Arabia, South Korea, China, and India are acquiring huge tracts of land to produce wheat, rice, and corn for consumption back home. These takings of land reduce the food supply in the African countries, which are prone to famine; this also threatens the newest democracy in Africa: Egypt.
Egypt is one of the leading wheat importers in the world and, while it is trying to function as a democracy after President Mubarak departure, these leases of land are threatening their ability to feed their population because all the grain in Egypt is imported or produced with Nile water.
For these reasons, the conditions established in the Nile Waters Agreement of 1959 are changing, as the rich foreign governments and international firms have come into play.
The Nile´s natural limits are being broken because of the increase of the water demand owing to the demographic growth and the foreign acquisitions of land. In this sense, it is necessary to try to avoid international conflicts over water. This author suggests three different initiatives:
First, governments must address the population threat head-on by ensuring that all women have access to family planning services and by providing education for girls in the region. Second, countries must adopt more water-efficient irrigation technologies and plant less water-intensive crops.
Finally, for the sake of peace and future development cooperation, the nations of the Nile River Basin should come together to ban land grabbed by foreign governments and agribusiness firms. Since there is no precedent for this, international help in negotiating such a ban, similar to the World Bank’s role in facilitating the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan, would likely be necessary to make it a reality.
I agree with this author because I think it is necessary to control the increasing trend towards the liberalization of the purchase of African lands, including its diversity and water resources by the other countries. This is because these takings are accompanied by the expulsion of peasant and indigenous people who inhabit these lands and may even increase the problem of famine, which is a reality in Africa nowadays that the international community should face.
For many people in this area, the water is the big difference between a farm or just a desert. The Nobel Prize Winner Anwar El Sadat stated that water is the only reason that Egypt would go to war. However, will this problem be the reason for a war or a violent conflict in the future? I hope that the increasing scarcity of water leads all these nations to the understanding that the cooperation path

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Egypt will need almost 50 per cent more Nile water by 2050: Experts - Economy - Business - Ahram Online

A future Egyptian population of 150 million will need a greater share of Africa's longest river to meet their needs, claim planning experts
Ahram Online, Monday 7 May 2012

Egypt may need to tap the Nile for extra supplies, say experts (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt will need nearly 50 per cent more Nile water by 2050 to cater for an estimated population of 150 million people, according to experts at Egypt's National Planning Institute.
Speaking to the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper, the institute's director said Egypt will require an extra 21 billion cubic metres (bcm) of water per year from Africa's longest river to meet the needs of industry, agriculture and households in 40 years' time.
Egypt is currently entitled to 55 bcm of the Nile's total annual flow of around 84 bmc under a treaty with the eight other countries which share the river basin.
Fadya Abdel-Salam, director of the NPI, said that if Egypt's current share of the Nile remains the same, by 2050 each Egyptian will have a Nile "stake" of 400 cubic metres in the river's waters -- well below the global water poverty index of 1,000 cubic metres.
Should the Nile's total flow remain constant, Egypt will eventually need some 92 per cent of the 6,695 kilometre-long river's waters, according to NPI's estimate.
Official statistics last week showed that Egypt's population is 82 million, with eight million other citizens living abroad. 
NPI's research estimates that Egypt's industrial and agricultural needs will rise by 2050 to 10.5 bcm and 10.4 bcm, respectively.
According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, Egypt's water resources are limited to the Nile River, deep ground water in the Delta, the Western Deserts and Sinai, sporadic rainfall and flash floods.
Agriculture accounts for 85 per cent of water demand, while domestic and industrial use makes up 8 and 6 per cent respectively. The remaining one per cent is used in navigation and hydropower.
In March 2011, Ethiopia said it planned to build a dam on the Nile despite a long-running row with Egypt over use of the river.
Egypt is a member in the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), a partnership among Nile states aimed at sharing the river's socio-economic benefits and promoting regional security.
Nine countries are involved in the initiative: Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Egypt: Irrigation Minister - Entebbe Agreement of No Value Without Nation, Sudan -allAfrica.com

Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hisham Qandeel affirmed on Monday 30/04/2012 that the Entebbe agreement that was signed by six Nile Basin countries is of no value or effect without Egypt and Sudan and without consensus between all the basin countries on its articles, especially that there are agreements between those countries in this regard.
However, Minister Qandeel pointed out that the agreement does not mention any specific water quotas to be distributed among the Nile Basin countries and does not talk about the redistribution of this water.
The minister also denied Egypt and Sudan have the right to veto any projects on the Nile basin, noting that there is a common worldwide principle that govern relations between the countries that share the same river basin.
He added that Egypt was the first country to seek reaching an institutional framework that regulates relations between the Nile Basin countries.
This came during a press conference for the minister in the Syndicate of Journalists.