However, Sudans future water requirements will likely exceed its water quota as defined in the 1959 Agreement. Ethiopia announced in April 2011 that it intends to build four large dams on the Nile, including one of the largest in the world, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (formerly known as Project X or the Grand Millennium Dam).This huge dam will flood 1,680 square kilometers of forest in northwest Ethiopia, near the Sudan border, and create a reservoir that is nearly twice as large as Lake Tana . As noted above, the instrument concedes for the first time that Ethiopia has legitimate interests over the Nile. The official narrative is that Ethiopia can uproot poverty and bring about a definitive end to social and economic underdevelopment by means of the construction of a series of mega-dams combined with the development of the national energy infrastructure. In the end, all 11 riparian states must understand that the way forward calls for the establishment of a meaningful resource-sharing agreement, one that sees and recognizes the Nile River as a regional watercourse. This has now changed due to political consolidation over the past two decades and the advent of alternative sources of external finance (to the traditional multilateral development banks), not least from China (Gebreluel, 2014;IDS, 2013). Because the strategy of land allocation and dam construction relied on senior executive decisions and foreign funding from China, above all, the government was largely freed of pressures of transparency and accountability. Salman, S.M.A. Why the Nile could see a 'water war'.  Egypt, fearing major disruptions to its access to the Niles waters, originally intended to prevent even the start of the GERDs construction. Subsequent impact studies were performed by the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank, and in the light of the results, these banks cancelled their funding for Gibe III. The Zenawi concept of a Strong Ethiopia envisions the country as a powerful hydroelectric energy hub exporting electricity to Djibouti and Somalia in the east, Kenya and Uganda to the south, and Sudan to the west. On March 4, 1982, Bertha Wilson became the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. The strategy and its surrounding narrative have attracted large influxes of foreign investment in the Ethiopian agrarian sector, with multi-million dollar leases of agricultural land to foreigners generally linked to irrigation projects planned in tandem with the construction of the dam. Ethiopia and Sudan are currently developing and implementing water infrastructure developments unilaterally - as Egypt has done in the past and continues to do. Ethiopias Blue Nile Dam is an opportunity for regional collaboration, Developing countries are key to climate action, Self-organizing Nigeria: The antifragile state, Managing the compounding debt and climate crises. (2012). per year, that would constitute a drought, to push the three countries to adhere to their obligations in accordance with the rules of international law in order to reach a fair and balanced solution to the issue of the GERD, 1929 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty and 1959 Agreement. Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam: Ending Africa's Oldest Geopolitical Rivalry? The GERD has become a new reality challenging the traditional dynamics in the Nile River Basin. The Chinese-financed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), despite a recent breakdown in talks on Africa's largest development project, risks powering up a range of downstream tensions and rivalries. Initially opposed to the GERD, Sudan later expressed support for its construction in 2013, claiming that it would serve the interests of all three nations (Maguid, 2017). 4. In: Yihdego, Z. et al. Revisiting hydro-hegemony from a benefitsharing perspective: the case of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Nevertheless, Khartoum continues to fear that the operation of the GERD could threaten the safety of Sudans own dams and make it much more difficult for the government to manage its own development projects. Article 7 provides that watercourse states must take all appropriate measures to prevent significant harm to other watercourse States and that, where harm does occur, there shall be consultations to discuss the question of compensation. Finally, Article 8 requires that watercourse states cooperate on the basis of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, mutual benefit and good faith.. Disputes over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), hailed by both Egypt and Ethiopia as a new chapter in relations between Egypt and Ethiopia based on openness and mutual understanding and cooperation (. However, the Convention took almost twenty years to enter into force (from 1997 to 2014) due to the lack of necessary ratifications by states. Rendering of GERDEthiopia is building one of the largest dams in the world, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), on the River Nile near the Sudan border. Perhaps the most significant project in the 2003 plan was the Chemoga-Yeda Hydroelectric Project, a series of five small dams on Blue Nile tributaries and two dams on the Genale River with a couple more envisioned for a later phase. Kandeel, A. The final touches to these plans were added in 2005 and 2007, and one involves nine hydroelectric dams along the Gebale Dawa to produce some 1,300 MW of electricity for export. Filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) along the Blue Nile River is well under way near the Ethiopia-Sudan border. On Feb. 26, Ethiopia temporarily suspended its . As stipulated by an Agreement of 1959 (see:Nile Main Conflict), Egypt and Sudan presented for several decades a common position vis--vis other riparians regarding the utilisation and management of Nile waters. An agreement between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is within reach, with the United Nations standing ready to support talks and the African Union-led process to settle remaining differences, the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs told the Security Council in a 29 June videoconference meeting*. Some have mythified it and claim it is the Gihon River of the Biblical Book of Genesis that encircles the entire land of Cush, thereby adding a religious dimension to the politicisation. "I came to Cairo on my first official trip to the region to hear . It will be the largest hydropower project in Africa. Ultimately, all the water is allowed to pass downstream such that there is no net loss of flow (with the exception of water lost to evaporation). Egypt and Ethiopia have once again locked horns over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile. The above-mentioned Gilgel Gibe III Dam stood out as the worlds most controversial dam until the GERD. Government of the United States of America. l located on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia . India dispatch: Supreme Court limits DNA paternity testing in divorce proceedings, prioritizing childrens privacy rights, US dispatch: Texas case could limit access to abortion medication, Copyright infringement made federal crime. Already, the United States has threatened to withhold development aid to Ethiopia if the conflict is not resolved and an agreement reached. At this point, though, the GERD is nearly completed, and so Egypt has shifted its position to trying to secure a political agreement over the timetable for filling the GERDs reservoir and how the GERD will be managed, particularly during droughts. The establishment of the Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, up 145 and a storage capacity of 74 . Egypt, which lies 1,600 miles downstream of the Dam, believes its operation will reduce the amount of fresh water available to it from the Nile. Sudan, caught between the competing interests of both Egypt and Ethiopia, has been changing its stance on the issue. Another important area of cooperation is research, especially in areas like climate change, the fight against terrorism and extremism, and human rights. for seepage and evaporation, but afforded no water to Ethiopia or other upstream riparian statesthe sources of most of the water that flows into the Nile. In that light, Egypt should minimize trips to Washington, D.C., New York, and Brussels, and instead use its diplomatic resources to improve its relations with the other riparian states. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is a 6000 MW hydropower project on the Blue Nile, which the Ethiopian government plans to build to fulfill the country's energy needs. It can be demand-driven, typically caused by population growth, and supply-driven, typically caused by decreasing amounts of fresh water often resulting from climate change or a result of societal factors such as poverty. As mentioned above, Ethiopias dam-construction strategy is intimately linked with large-scale foreign investment in the agrarian sector and specifically in areas near the artificial reservoirs created by the dams. Sign up for news on environment, conflict and cooperation. Egypts original goal was to have the project purely and simply cancelled. The decisions that this group renders must be binding on all riparian states. Addis Ababa launched the construction of the GERD under Zenawi, and work on it has proceeded at full steam ahead ever since. The results indicated that the negative impacts on Egyptian water resources are dominant. Learn. Ethiopia should get its fair share of water that originates in Ethiopia. Helping Egypts cause, during the preparation of the VCSS, the International Law Commission stated that treaties concerning water rights or navigation on rivers are commonly regarded as candidates for inclusion in the category of territorial treaties. However, it must be noted that this would represent a generous interpretation of the territorial treaty exception. Since then, there has been a constant stream of complaints regarding the social and environmental impacts on downriver areas, including large displacements of local populations. Moreover, it arguably prohibits any reduction of flow to Egypt by limiting Ethiopias use of the Dam to electricity generation alone. Crucially, however, despite being signed by Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, the legal status of the DoP was left (deliberately) vague. This paper discusses the challenges and benefits of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is under construction and expected to be operational on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia in a few years. These countries should return to the NBIs Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA), which was concluded in 2010, try to resolve the disagreements that caused Egypt and Sudan to decline to sign the CFA, and use it as a model for a future binding legal regime. It's free to sign up and bid on jobs. to hydrate farmland), it would effectively be taken from downstream states like Egypt. The piece (i) gives a brief history of the Dam; (ii) outlines the role of the Watercourses Convention; (iii) explains the significance of the Nile Waters Treaties; (iv) sets out the main legal arguments for Egypt and (v) provides the main legal arguments for Ethiopia. I agree with the delivery of the newsletter. But with a generation capacity of 6.45GW, the Ethiopian government quoted the project as vital to the country's economic growth. The dispute escalated in 2011 when Ethiopia began construction of a major new dam, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), in the absence of any agreement with downstream Egypt. Second, as also noted above, the Dam is to be used for electricity generation, not irrigation. The CFA was a political success for the eight upstream states such as Ethiopia as it favoured those states and isolated the downstream states of Egypt and Sudan and made them appear recalcitrant. According to some estimates, the Ethiopian government had to arrange for the resettlement of 1.5 million people in the four regions of Gambela, Somali, Afar, and Benishangul-Gumuz. (2020). Hence, it seems that such an argument would receive a warm welcome from the current bench were the matter ever to be adjudicated there. At that point, the lake that . The Chinese then took over the funding amidst heightened international concern regarding the social, technical, and environmental repercussions of the Ethiopian dams. The Political Deadlock on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. However, as noted above, the trouble with relying on the DoP is that its legal status is not clearly defined. Turning then to Ethiopia. Egypt has issued a public statement to that effect. A political requirement will be to agree on rules for filling the GERD reservoir and on operating rules for the GERD, especially during periods of drought. casting the DoP as a treaty) has the potential to abrogate the Nile Waters Treaties that Egypt holds so dear. In an effort to forestall potential water conflicts such as the one brewing around the Dam, an increasing number of bilateral and multilateral water agreements have been concluded in recent decades. Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in Africa, has the second largest population in the continent. Ethiopia argues that developing this resource is crucial to its economic development, and to overcoming poverty and famine, that have plagued the country in the past. Still, Egypt may be playing with fire if it were to press the legal significance of the DoP. L'Europe en Formation, 365(3), 99-138. The Dam is used to generate electricity and went into partial operation in 2022. Nile Basins GERD dispute creates risks for Egypt, Sudan, and beyond. The colonial powers have departed and so to continue to enforce treaties agreed based around their interests would be irrational. Many historical grievances and distrust remain on the Ethiopian side regarding Egypt (Gebreluel, 2014), with some Ethiopian journalists assessing the 'Declaration of Principles' as being more in favour of Egypt than Ethiopia (Zegabi East Africa News, 2015). In the absence of the application of the Watercourses Convention, various other legal arrangements and political declarations must be considered to gain an understanding of the regulation of the Dam and the Nile River more generally. A general view of the Blue Nile river as it passes through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), near Guba in Ethiopia, on December 26, 2019. It simultaneously expects that this role will change Ethiopias international status from a country perceived as poor and dependent on foreign aid to a regional power able to provide vital resources to its surrounding region. Ethiopia is pinning its hopes of economic development and power generation on the dam. khadsyy Plus. After announcing the dam's construction, and with a view to the increasing tensions, the Ethiopian government invited both Egypt and Sudan to form an International Panel of Experts (IPoE) to solicit understanding of the benefits, costs and impacts of the GERD. In terms of the old or anachronistic law, two of the Nile Water Treaties do not bind Ethiopia meanwhile the third does not actually preclude the construction of a dam. RANE (2015). Construction of the 6,000-megawatt, US $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) began .  The significance of Gulf involvement was highlighted by the . According to present plans, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) now under construction across the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia will be the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa, and one of the 12 largest in the world. Alaa al-Zawahiri, a member of the Egyptian National Panel of Experts studying the effects of the Renaissance Dam, believes as much. Both countries are concerned that without a clear and binding agreement with Ethiopia, the latter will have full control of the passage of water from the GERD during droughts, which would be devastating to the lives of millions in Egypt and Sudan. One senior advisor to former Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi alluded to it when he said that Ethiopia will supply the electricity, Sudan the food, and Egypt the money. To which we might add, and South Sudan will supply the oil.. The situation seemed to improve in the beginning of 2015 when tripartite negotiations were held in order to determine principles of cooperation. Sudans agricultural and hydropower interests align with those of Ethiopia while it has a strong interest in not alienating its 'big brother' and northern neighbour, Egypt, with whom it shares a long and partly contested border (Whittington et al., 2014). Monday January 2, 2017. Ethiopia, with a population of more than 115 million people and Projected to be 230 million by 2050. 1800m long and 170m high. The latter, in Article 2(4), allocated acquired rights of 66% of Nile water to Egypt and 22% to Sudan (with the remaining 12% attributed to leakage). It was in the hope of protecting Lake Turkana against such threats that it was listed as a World Heritage Site. In any event, the dispute remains. Ethiopia, however, prefers to have the flexibility to make decisions on how to deal with droughts. Test. Egypt says. Ethiopia's determination to build a major new dam, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), for hydropower purposes has been the flashpoint of current conflicts in the Eastern Nile Basin (Gebreluel, 2014). Tawfik, Rawia Discussion Paper 5/2015 . These are two of the largest dams in Africa. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will have negative impacts not only on Egypt but also on poor communities in Ethiopia as well as on its Nile Basin neighbours. The disadvantages for Egypt and Sudan are the possibility of reduced river flow, although this is only really a problem during the years of filling the dam. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will increase energy generation and development in Ethiopia, but it may have unwanted consequences for other Nile River users. Thus, as with the Watercourses Convention and the CFA, the DoP does not offer a clear legal resolution to the dispute. Lastly, over-year storage facilities upstream in Ethiopia will allow Sudan to increase its water use. If it were to take place during a sequence of years in which the Blue Nile flow and the AHD reservoir itself was low, Egypt might not be able to withdraw sufficient water supplies to meet all of its agricultural needs. Indeed, Egypt has called the filling of the dam an existential threat, as it fears the dam will negatively impact the countrys water supplies.