The First International Conference for Economical Integration among Nile Basin Countries (Nile Integra 1)

Egypt has long sought to regulate its relationship with the Nile Basin countries and to maintain permanent contact with its countries by agreeing on the best way to exploit the Nile water to benefit all basin countries while preserving Egypt's historical right in the waters of the Nile River. Egypt has succeeded in this through the conclusion of several agreements, both bilateral and regional, amounting to more than 15 agreements, some of which occurred during the colonial period and had an impact on the current relations between Egypt and the basin countries.

  1. Bilateral Agreements:
    1. Ethiopian Plateau:

There are five agreements that regulate the relationship between Egypt and Ethiopia, which accounts for 85% of Egypt's total share of Nile water:

ü  Roma Protocol signed on April 15, 1891 between Britain and Italy, which occupied Eritrea at that time, on the determination of the areas of influence of each of the two countries in Eastern Africa. In Article III of the Convention, Italy undertook not to establish any facilities for irrigation on the Atbara River to affect the actions of the Nile.

ü  The Addis Ababa Agreement signed on May 15, 1902 between Britain and Ethiopia, in which Emperor Manelech II of Ethiopia undertook not to establish or permit the establishment of any facilities on the Blue Nile, Lake Tana or the Subat River would interfere with the flow of the Nile water without the consent of the British Government and the Sudanese Government advance.

ü  The London Agreement signed on 13 December 1906 between Britain, France and Italy.

Article 4 states that these countries shall work together to secure the entry of the waters of the Blue Nile and its tributaries into Egypt.

ü  The Roma Agreement is a set of letters exchanged between Britain and Italy in 1925, in which Italy recognizes the acquired water rights of Egypt and Sudan in the waters of the blue and white Nile and their tributaries, and undertakes not to make any concerns on them that would reduce the amount of water destined for the main Nile.

ü  The framework of cooperation signed in Cairo on 1 July 1993 between Egyptian President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at this time. This framework played a major role in improving the Egyptian-Ethiopian relations. This framework included cooperation between Egypt and Ethiopia in Concerning Nile water in the following points:

  • The failure of either Country to undertake any activity relating to the waters of the Nile that may cause damage to the interests of the other State.
  • The need to preserve and protect the waters of the Nile.
  • Respect for international laws.
  • Consultation and cooperation between the two countries for the purpose of establishing projects that increase the flow of water and reduce its losses.

 

  1. The Tropical Plateau

It considered the second source of Nile water, with 15% of its water reaching the Nile, comprises six countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.

ü  The London Agreement signed in May 1906 between Britain and the Congo - an amendment to an agreement already signed by the two parties on May 12, 1894 - stipulates that the Government of the Congo shall not establish or permit any exploitation of the Smilky River, Next to them would reduce the amount of water flowing in Albert Lake unless agreed with the Government of Sudan.

ü  The 1929 Agreement is a two-letter exchange between Egyptian Prime Minister Mohamed Mahmoud and British High Representative Lloyd, both of which are signed on May 7, 1929 and attached to a report of the Water Committee, which was prepared in 1925. This report is part of this agreement, Britain signed this agreement on behalf of the Sudan, Uganda and Tanganyika (Tanzania currently), all countries were occupied by Britain at the time and the most important in the Convention:

  1. No irrigation, power generation, or any actions on the Nile and its branches or lakes originating in Sudan or in the country under the British administration shall be carried out without prior agreement with the Egyptian Government, which will reduce the amount of water reaching Egypt or modify the date of arrival or reduction of its level. In any way that harms the interests of Egypt.
  2. This agreement also stipulates Egypt's natural and historical right to water in the Nile.

ü  The London Agreement signed on November 23, 1934 between Britain on behalf of Tanganyika (now Tanzania) and Belgium on behalf of Rwanda and Burundi (now Rwanda and Burundi) concerns the use by both countries of the Kagera River.

ü  The 1953 Agreement signed between Egypt and Britain on behalf of Uganda regarding the establishment of the Owen Reservoir at the exit of Lake Victoria, a series of exchanged speeches during 1949 and 1953 between the Egyptian and British governments:

  • The mutual agreements referred to the 1929 Convention and pledged to abide by it and stipulated that the agreement to build the Owen reservoir would be in accordance with the spirit of the 1929 Convention.
  • Britain pledged in that agreement on behalf of Uganda that the construction and operation of the power plant would not reduce the amount of water reaching Egypt or modify its arrival date or reduce its level, causing any damage to Egypt's interest.

ü  The 1991 agreement between Egypt and Uganda, signed by former President Mubarak and Ugandan President Museveni, among the following:

  • In that agreement, Uganda affirmed its respect for the provisions of the 1953 Convention signed by Britain on its behalf, which is an implicit recognition of the 1929 Convention.
  • The agreement stipulates that Lake Victoria's water regulatory policy should be discussed and reviewed between Egypt and Uganda within safe borders, without affecting Egypt's water needs.

 

  1. Water agreements signed between Egypt and Sudan:

There are two agreements to regulate the water relationship between Egypt and Sudan:

  1. 1929 Agreement:

The agreement regulates the water relationship between Egypt and the tropical plateau countries. It also included clauses concerning the water relationship between Egypt and Sudan, as follows in the letter sent by the Egyptian Prime Minister and the British High Representative:

ü  The Egyptian government is very interested in the reconstruction of Sudan and agrees to increase the quantities used by Sudan from the Nile water without harming Egypt's natural and historical rights in those waters.

ü  The Egyptian government agrees with the report of the Nile Water Committee in 1925 and considers it an inseparable part of this agreement.

ü  No irrigation or power generation or any measures on the Nile and its branches or on the lakes that originate from the Sudan or the countries under the British administration shall be established without prior agreement with the Egyptian Government, which would reduce the amount of water reaching Egypt or modify the date of arrival or reduce its amount to any way that harms Egypt's interests.

ü  Provide all facilities to the Egyptian government to conduct studies and research the water of the Nile River in Sudan and can establish works there to increase the Nile water in favor of Egypt in agreement with local authorities.

  1. The 1959 Agreement:

This agreement was signed in Cairo in November 1959 between Egypt and Sudan. It was complementary to the 1929 agreement and is not null and void. It includes the complete control of the Nile water reaching both Egypt and Sudan in light of the new changes that have emerged on the scene at the time. River revenues and the establishment of a number of reservoirs in Aswan. The agreement includes the full use of the Nile water on a number of items including:

ü  Egypt has retained its right of the Nile water of 48 billion cubic meters per year, as well as the right of Sudan estimated at 4 billion cubic meters annually.

ü  The two countries agreed to establish the High Dam and the establishment of the Sudan Reservoir on the Blue Nile and the consequent work that obligates the Sudan to exploit its share.

This item also states that the distribution of water from the high dam of 22 billion cubic meters annually is distributed to the two countries so that the Sudan gets 14.5 billion cubic meters and Egypt gets 7.5 billion cubic meters, bringing the total share of each country annually to 55.5 billion cubic meters for Egypt and 18. 5 billion cubic meters of Sudan.

ü  Sudan is agreed with Egypt, to establish projects to increase the revenues of the river in order to exploit the water losses in the Sea of the Mountain, the Sea of Zeraf, Bahr El Ghazal, its branches, the Sobat River and its branches and the White Nile Basin. The water quantity and the financial cost of these projects shall be divided equally between the two countries.

ü  Establishment of a permanent joint technical committee for Nile water between Egypt and Sudan

Regional cooperation mechanisms

In view of the continuous developments and the nature of the ten countries formed for the Nile basin and the developments witnessed after the demise of colonialism, and Egypt's keenness to extend the ways of cooperation with the Nile Basin countries because of the strategic depth of Egypt and the Nile in the lives of Egyptians, it is necessary to find new mechanisms for regional cooperation Among the countries of the basin as well as the agreements referred to earlier, have already started these mechanisms since the sixties of the last century as follows:

  1. Nile Water Authority:

A joint permanent technical committee for Nile water was established between Egypt and Sudan under the umbrella of the 1959 Convention, which deals with the study and establishment of projects to increase the river's revenues. The most important studies were four projects all located within the borders of Sudan and do not affect the other upstream countries and provide 18 billion cubic meters per year after its completion:

  • First phase of the Gongli Channel Project.
  • Second phase of the Gongli Channel Project.
  • Mishar Project.
  • Bahr El Ghazal Project

The Nile Water Authority includes a technical committee that brings together the experts of the two countries (Egypt and the Sudan) and meets periodically to resolve any problems that may impede the implementation of the 1959 Convention.

 



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