19 min

By: Dessalegn Yeshambel yeshambeld@gmail.com        Monday, July 12, 2022

 Water Diplomacy over the Nile River

Addis Ababa July 12/2022 (ANC) Diplomatic activities about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) should focus more on African countries, Addis Ababa University Political Science and International Relations Professor Yacob Arsano said.

Professor Yacob told ANC that Ethiopia is working to utilize its water resources based on knowledge and skill without damaging the interest of both the upper and downstream or Nile riparian countries in general. He added that the county is doing its part to change the centuries-old unfair use of the Nile water resources.

H.E Dr. Engineer Sileshi Bekele, on his said claim that Egypt, Sudan, and other Nile-downstream countries should consider GERD as a tool for promoting regional peace and cooperation in Africa. He further added that it was wrong to take a hydro-technical issue to the UNSC to depict Ethiopia’s need for electrical energy as national security issue. At the same time, it is clear that it is purely a development issue.

Noting Ethiopia’s firm position on seeking African solutions to African problems, he recalled that Egypt and Sudan had, on the other hand, tried to take the issue of the GERD to impertinent countries, the professor stated. According to him, the decision of the U.N Security Council to return the case of the dam to the African Union mediation was right. Moreover, Ethiopia needs to remind African countries in the Nile Basin and outside that the diplomatic pressure put on Ethiopia could be replicated on them in the future.

Therefore, the two experts noted that the diplomatic efforts of the Government of Ethiopia should be based on Africa. They suggested, “We need to expand our diplomacy as much as possible, especially in Africa. Since the negotiation is now back in Africa and is being mediated by the African Union, we need to mobilize the help of everyone in the Nile Basin. When we teach and negotiate, argue and explain to third parties, we must go in the same spirit and in the direction we are going to get results”.

Applauding the contribution of scholars to the construction of the dam and reaching a peace agreement on the GERD issue, will promote regional peace and regional integration among Nile initiative countries in Africa, they exclusively said.

Controversial issues such as the Nile Dam at the international level can be implemented when it is possible to increase international support through a global diplomatic struggle. The struggle of diplomacy is a struggle of peaceful work, so it does not require bad words but maturity. It is clear that it will alienate the supporter and open up a hole for the opponent to attack. However, what prompted me to write this article is because I believe that it is necessary to open a dialogue with the democratic forces of Ethiopia on this issue after I read that Theodore said, “Let’s swim together or we will sink together” after it was noted that the foreign minister of Kuwait and his counterpart, the Egyptian foreign minister, held diplomatic talks on June 11.

Theodore’s saying that “we will swim or sink together” is not far from the dictator’s saying that “Egypt and Ethiopia are married”. Both are factual statements. To mobilize Ethiopians and strengthen their power. We remember what the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Seyum Mesfin used to say during the Ethio-Eritrean war, but in the end, we remember how the war and the Badme issue ended. Theodore is no different from the Duke of Sumy. Yesterday they broke up Eritrea. They were together in the Ethio-Eritrea war. They are still together today. However, the diplomatic struggle is much broader than the saying ‘we will swim or sink together. The struggle of diplomacy is a struggle of analysis, debate, mediation, persuasion, which has law, justice, history, science, politics, economy, social, humane and moral horizons. In addition, it should be done sincerely in the spirit of Ethiopianism.

From 1938 to 1945 Even in those dark times, Lorenzo and Aklilu Habtewolde together with their international law advisor Spencer were able to get the support of Canada, India, Norway, Greece and many other countries in their diplomatic struggle to join Eritrea from Ethiopia because their diplomatic battle was mature. It was because they fought from their hearts. First, they formulated mature diplomatic struggle agendas based on research and study. Today, the time is not as dark as it was then. The mindset of the superpowers has changed somewhat from colonialism. Today, Africans hold more than 50 seats in the United Nations. When Lorenzo and Aklilu Habte Wold were fighting for Ethiopia with all their hearts in the United Nations, only Ethiopia and Liberia had a seat and gave them a vote of support. A diplomatic struggle for justice is more likely to be won today than in the Dark Ages. However, it is necessary to formulate mature diplomatic struggle agendas and fight from the heart.

If Ethiopia’s diplomatic struggle can open a dialogue with Egyptian scientists, engineers, legal experts, and democratic forces, and if it can get the support of the African Union, the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, the World Bank, and the IMF, the construction will be more accessible. Therefore, the diplomatic struggle must have research-based agendas. It is not helpful to mention the victories of our forefathers and repeat them. I believe that the following diplomatic schedules can be used for the diplomatic struggle for the construction of the Ethiopian Nile Dam:

Plan one (1): The dam will be built in a hilly area so that it will reduce the amount of water wasted by evaporation.

Agenda Two (2) When the water collected by the dam is released downhill, it hits the turbines and transmits the compressed energy to the turbines (making them rotate), so the water that is released does not flow to Ethiopia but Sudan, so the Nile water going to Egypt will not decrease.

Agenda three (3): The water needed to fill the dam should not pose a threat to Egypt. The Nile water that flows into Egypt in both summer and winter bypasses Egypt and enters the Mediterranean Sea, so scientists and engineers from Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt, together with international experts, can calculate how much water can be kept in the dam. Obviously, higher water levels can be avoided in winter than in summer to fill the dam.

Agenda four (4): In addition to the water of the Nile River, a diplomatic campaign should be made to let the people of Egypt and the world know that there is an additional advantage that Egypt will gain by connecting with Sudan’s electricity lines. For example, Egypt and Jordan have linked their electricity lines. To secure their power lines, they couldn’t transport them by land from Egypt to Jordan, so they spent a lot of money and buried the line under the surface of the Red Sea. Recently, Egypt agreed with Saudi Arabia. The reader should note that some of the electricity that Egypt sells to Jordan is 2,100 megawatts of electricity flowing from Ethiopia at the Aswan Dam.

Agenda Five (5): 09 JUNE 2013 Reporter newspaper, during her meeting with former diplomat Ambassador Hailu Wolde Giorgis, answered the ambassador’s question about the international law of water use: “At the meeting of the United Nations Organization, Ethiopia passed the Water Convention with 101 votes in favor, three against and 27 abstentions.” It’s a stand-up.” Let all this be known to the people of Egypt.

Agenda Six (6): It should be clear that you cannot say that Egypt will release the Nile from a hidden calculation that after a hundred years, the number of people may be 300 million or more.

Agenda Seven (7): It must be clear in the morning that Ethiopia will not accept colonial rule. Providing analyses based on law, history, politics, economics, and ethics ensures that our rights to own and use Nile waters are non-negotiable.

Agenda Eight (8): The White Nile that enters Egypt receives about 85% of its water from the Black Nile (70%), Kaze (5%) and Baro (10%) rivers that flow from Ethiopia to Sudan. These three main rivers are formed from many tributaries from different places in Ethiopia. If Egypt continues to be rebellious, the people of Ethiopia will change the direction of the small branches that rise from each area. The amount of water flowing from Ethiopia to Sudan is very low. Egypt cannot always fight militarily from the southwest of the Barrow River to the northwest. Egypt, America, Europe, World Bank, IMF To make everyone realize that Egypt’s violence is futile.

Agenda Nine (9): If Egypt chooses war, it will lose more than the benefits it will gain. The United Nations will punish her for her war-mongering and war initiation.

Agenda Ten (10): Ethiopia’s right to self-defense is respected, including in the diplomatic struggle.

It is clear that if these ten (10) agendas are analyzed, a large document will emerge. It is also clear that by presenting these ideas to the Egyptians and the people of the world in a way that clearly shows their commitment and determination, it is possible to gain the support of at least some of Egypt’s democratic forces and increase the number of international supporters.

Asyut City Along River NiL – Egypt

Way out local diplomacy; Regional cooperation, and sustainable development

Environmental diplomacy is a field of international diplomacy that has flourished since the 1970s. This sector, especially the service of filtering the harmful radiation from the sun to the earth due to artificial gases, has developed at a high level during international negotiations related to the deterioration of the ozone layer and climate change. Regional diplomacy is based on universally accepted principles. The first of these is that all countries are responsible for protecting and caring for the natural resources (Global commons) given for the common benefit of humanity. The second is that environmental pollution and degradation in one country will contribute to the imbalance of nature in another. This situation is especially evident in the air and water pollution that borders cannot control. Thirdly, it is a principle that recognizes the need for international cooperation to protect and preserve our natural resources, which are essential for the universal well-being of humanity. Based on these, since the 1970s, hundreds of international and regional cooperation frameworks, treaties, and laws have been adopted and put into effect.
Conflicts related to using natural resources are environmental phenomena that have coexisted with humans for centuries. Such conflicts are particularly prominent among communities whose basic daily life is closely tied to natural resources and who live a subsistence lifestyle. Many studies have shown that most of the civil conflicts in Africa in the past decades are based on the ownership and use of natural resources. However, due to the rapidly growing population, there is a high risk that these local conflicts over the use of natural resources may escalate into conflicts between countries. One of these natural resources mentioned as the primary source of threat is the growing global water scarcity. According to the report issued by the International Resource Panel in 2015 according to the European calendar; According to the European calendar, by 2030, more than 3.5 billion of the world’s people will live in countries with moderate and severe water scarcity. To overcome this problem, it has been globally accepted that it is essential to strengthen cooperation between countries in addition to improving water use at every level. Thus, since the 1990s, various international water use regulations have been approved under the auspices of the United Nations. These provisions are based on three main principles, which are equitable utilization; They are the principles of not causing significant harm to others, and strengthening cooperation.
As repeatedly stated, Ethiopia is referred to as the second water tower in Africa due to its unique ecological composition. On the other hand, most of our watersheds end up in transboundary rivers, exposing the country to several challenges related to water use. A similar challenge has occurred in connection with other projects before Renaissance Dam. For example, when Ethiopia started building power plants in the Omo Basin, there were a lot of protests because the construction of the dams would cut off the flow of water that feeds Lake Turkana in Kenya. At the time, several non-governmental organizations campaigned under the slogan ‘Save Lake Turkana’ to stop the construction of Gibe One, Two, and Three. This situation has been presented as a plan to the Kenyan Parliament at different times. At one point it was pushed to be presented as a plan to the United Nations Environment Program Conference. To deal with this question correctly, it was essential to first scientifically confirm the damage caused by the construction of the dams on the lake. After knowing this, it was essential to look at the participation of both countries to see what should be done to reduce the possible damage. Based on this, the preliminary study conducted by an independent research institute confirmed that the flow changes caused by the construction of the dams are not different from the changes caused by changing weather conditions in the past hundred years. The issue has become an international plan, and the countries have been able to focus on cooperation that strengthens their mutual benefits.

About the writer: Dessalegn Yeshambel (Journalist at Africa News Channel, PhD Candidate of Media and Communications at Bahir Dar University,Lecturer of Journalism and Communications at Debre Markos UniversityMA in Journalism and CommunicationEmail:yeshambeld@gmail.comLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dessalegn-wassie-34996a8a/Phone no.: +251909479713/921284608 Bahir Dar, Ethiopia)