Wednesday, February 5, 2014

E. Nile Council of Ministers Concludes 26th Meeting - Sudan Vision Daily - Details

Debrezeit, Ethiopia - The Eastern Nile Council of Ministers (ENCOM), the highest governing body of the Eastern Nile Subsidiary Action Program (ENSAP) of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) has concluded its Meeting today, January 30, 2014 in Debrezeit, Ethiopia. The ENCOM Meeting was preceded by a two-day 27th Meeting of the ENSAPT (Eastern Nile Subsidiary Action Program Team), a technical advisory body to ENCOM. The ENSAPT comprises three senior technical experts and officials from each of the member countries. The ENCOM Meeting was attended by Ethiopia, Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan. Egypt declined to participate continuing on its decision to freeze participation in NBI activities following the signing of the CFA by six upstream member countries of the NBI.

The Ministers noted that the interruption of the ENCOM annual Meetings for the last four years had posed unprecedented challenges to the Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office (ENTRO), the executive arm of ENSAP. The Ministers thanked the Officer-In-Charge (OIC) of ENTRO, ENTRO Senior Management and staff and development partners, particularly the World Bank Nile Team, for having sustained the cooperation and continuing delivering results notwithstanding the hard times and the challenges.

During their deliberation the Ministers pointed out that the finite Eastern Nile water resources are facing progressively increasing pressures from population growth, rapid urbanization, high economic growth rates taking place in the basin and that the pressures are likely to be amplified due to anticipated Climate Change Impacts. They further noted that the rapid pace of water resource infrastructure development in the sub-basin makes coordinated management and operation of these structures imperative.

The Ministers, taking into account the foregoing trends, reiterated that it is high time ENSAP member countries embark expeditiously on instituting Eastern Nile wide, if not Nile Basin wide, adaptive management principles, practices and mechanisms.  Only such cooperative arrangements, they pointed out, will make possible realization of system wide gains in water use efficiency and productivity; minimization of losses; wise and judicious allocation of water across sectors, including the environment and eventually paving the way for turning the Nile as a vehicle for regional integration and promotion of socio-economic development and alleviation of poverty.

The Ministers, concluding their Meeting, emphasized that:

* The common institution of all Eastern Nile countries set up with so much investment in time, money and energy, has been held hostage by the freeze of Egypt and Sudan and its degree of freedom to discharge its responsibilities and deliver results curtailed for four years. The Ministers, therefore, welcome the unfreezing by Sudan and commit themselves to prevent the recurrence of such situations in the future.

* The admission of the Republic of South Sudan into ENSAP/ENTRO marks a phase in Eastern Nile Cooperation whereby cooperation is expanded and deepened. The Ministers register their satisfaction in accepting RSS into the ENSAP family and express their hope that RSS will play constructive role.

* In spite of its continued freezing, ENCOM still reiterates to the sisterly country of Egypt that ENSAP is still open and welcoming and expects their earliest participation.

* They renew their commitment to further Eastern Nile cooperation and have decided to revitalize ENTRO by putting a new Management (Executive Director, Finance and Administration Head, Senior Project Coordinator) in place; by establishing modalities to cover core operation costs on their own; by expediting preparation of investment projects and strengthening the scientific knowledge base (data, information, analytic tools).

* They call on all friends of the Nile to support their renewed effort to advance Eastern Nile cooperation, which they have resolved to carry through, if need be, by their own efforts alone.

* They call upon and invite the private sector and investors within and outside the basin to take part in their investment programs, including through public-private partnerships and to participate in the planned Investment Round Table.

* The Republic of Sudan has offered to hold the next ENCOM meeting in Khartoum, Sudan. ENCOM has accepted the offer with appreciation

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