Tripartite meeting on Ethiopian dam conclude without consensus

 

The meeting of the Tripartite National Committee on the Renaissance Dam (TNCRD), which was hosted in Cairo, concluded without reaching an agreement on adopting certain guidelines of a study on the effects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile Basin States, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Aati said on Sunday.

In a statement, he added that although Egypt initially agrees with the report, as it matches with the study guidelines, which were agreed upon by the three countries, the other two parties of the TNCRD did not express consensus and called for amendments.

The minister expressed Egypt’s concern towards the move, which may hinder the process after efforts had been exerted by Egypt during the recent months to facilitate continuation of the study. Egypt’s efforts included calling for a meeting in May 2017 on a ministerial level to take a decision regarding the issue as well as exerting efforts to reach an agreement on declaring the principles in March 2015.

The report aims to put certain guidelines by which Ethiopia can fill its reservoir without harming the water flow to the two countries. The $ 4 billion dam is being constructed on the Blue Nile with a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, and is expected to generate up to 6,000 megawatts of power.

Since May 2011, Cairo has voiced its concern over how the dam can reduce the country’s annual share of more than 56 billion cubic meters of Nile water. Egypt’s average water per-capita is expected to drop from 663 cubic meters per year to 582 cubic meters by 2025, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) in 2014. Addis Ababa, however, claimed that the dam is necessary for its development and will not harm downstream countries.

Meanwhile, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi signed a tripartite joint cooperation agreement in Khartoum on March 23, 2015, between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. In December 2015, Sisi addressed the public, saying that there is no reason to worry about the dam and that the matter would be resolved. The three countries held 14 rounds of consultation on resolving the disputes over the Renaissance Dam. However, these rounds failed to solve the dispute.

Former Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hossam el-Moughazi stated in November 2015 that the dam’s construction is going faster than the tripartite talks. On October 1, the Telegraph reported that Ethiopia is finalizing the construction of the dam and then will start filling its reservoir. (Read More)