By Yacob Arsano (Ph.D.)[1]

College of Social Sciences, Addis Ababa University

 

Abstract

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)  has been under construction since April 2011 within Ethiopian territory on Abbay river, the main tributary to the Nile river. GERD is an ongoing dam project which follows a long line of dams previously constructed in the Eastern Nile Basin. The major dams constructed include Sennar (1925), Rossaries (1967) and Merowe Dam (2009) in Sudan; and First Aswan Dam (1902) and High Aswan Dam (1970) in Egypt.

Leaving behind the initial dispute about the propriety of the construction of GERD by upstream Ethiopia, the three governments settled to engage in the intensive negotiation tracks; and the heart of the negotiation precipitated to the issues of filling and operation of GERD. The central focus of the present paper is to examine the opportunities and challenges of the Tripartite Diplomacy on GERD.

Keeping to their respective national perspectives throughout the negotiation process downstream Egypt holds the perspective of monopoly right on the entire waters of the Nile, while Ethiopia keeps to the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization and management of the waters of the Nile for all riparian nations. Sudan changed positions and Egypt labored to drag the negotiation through the corridors of the USA White House, UNSC, and the League of Arab States.

Ethiopia is fully engaged in the filling and operating of the Dam in line with the tripartite Declaration of Principles of 2015, the Tripartite GERD negotiation is still on-going under the observation of the AU Presidency. One would observe that the real test of the GERD negotiation is that the three states continue to pursue to gain from the negotiations at the same time making every effort to minimize the challenges thereof.

[1] Yacob Arsano, PhD, Assoc. professor of political science & international relations at Addis Ababa University; advisor to the Ethiopian Ministries of Water Resources and Foreign Affairs on hydro-politics in the Nile Basin and Northeastern Africa; member of GERD Negotiation Team. Formerly head of department of political science & international relations, dean of college of social sciences and director for Addis Ababa University Press.


[1] Yacob Arsano, PhD, Assoc. professor of political science & international relations at Addis Ababa University; advisor to the Ethiopian Ministries of Water Resources and Foreign Affairs on hydro-politics in the Nile Basin and Northeastern Africa; member of GERD Negotiation Team. Formerly head of department of political science & international relations, dean of college of social sciences and director for Addis Ababa University Press

 

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