Semu Moges (Ph.D., PE)

 

The Nile basin is confronted with emerging challenges of water, energy, and food insecurity on the one hand and hydro-egoism and disinformation on the other hand. The rights of upper riparian countries for equitable and reasonable utilization of the shared resources is continued to be challenged by lower riparian countries. The stalling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiation among Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan is a manifestation of the continued confrontation and resistance to the principles of equitable and reasonable utilization of the shared resources that is the pillar of the UN transboundary water utilization convention. The attempt to utilize the shared resources based on only national self-interest (hydro-egoism) is blocking cooperative agreements. The genuine technical and substantive issues are replaced with pseudo-scientific and propaganda narratives (misinformation and disinformation). This presentation highlights the main pieces of evidence for hydro-egoism and disinformation in the Nile/GERD negotiation that are blocking genuine negotiation and cooperative agreements thereby delaying the countries’ ability to reach a fair and reasonable cooperative agreement.  Aside from hydro-egoism and disinformation, the objective realities of population growth, climate change, and resource degradation put additional layers of complexity to the negotiation procedure. The entire Nile basin population was about 90 million when the 1959 agreement for the total utilization of the Nile between Egypt and Sudan was signed. Currently, the Nile basin population is more than 550 million and continues to rapidly grow to one billion by 2050. The intensity of climate change variabilities adds another layer of complexity to negotiations. Studies show that there is no water scarcity in the Nile basin, there is only a lack of willingness to transcend traditional positions and objective engagements. In the long term, a phased negotiation approach that takes into consideration the dynamic and shared nature of water resources is the path to a cooperative agreement, development, and management of the Nile resources.

 

Keys: Nile, GERD, hydro-egoism, disinformation, misinformation, cooperation

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