June 14, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan will later this month assume the chair of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), initially headed by Rwanda, the country’s water resources and irrigation minister said Friday.
- Minister of water resources and irrigation, Paul Mayom Akec (ST)
Paul Mayom Akec told Sudan Tribunethat members of the Nile Council of Ministers (Nile-COM), which is the governing body of the NBI are due to hold their annual meeting in the South Sudan capital, Juba this Thursday.
The meeting, the minister revealed, will deliberate on how to improve cooperation between Nile basin countries, review progress made over the last year and provide strategic guidance for improved efficiency and effectiveness.
Akec did not, however, comment on the current dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over the latter’s dam building project on the Blue Nile river.
Those in attendance, the minister said, will review and are expected to approve the work plan and budget for the fiscal year 2013/2014 as well as a number of strategy and policy documents.
Akec said he expects participants to focus on issues which are relevant to the current regional needs and resolve them within the framework and the vision for which the initiative was established.
“I assure you that none of the members will be hurt because we are guided by the vision for which this initiative was created. It was established as a forum through which the member states would come together to share thoughts and ideas to manage the Nile for the benefits of the African people”, Akec told Sudan Tribune.
The partnership is guided by a shared vision, which aims to achieve sustainable socio-economic development though equitable utilisation of, and the benefit from, the common Nile Basin Water Resources, he added.
Also earmarked as part of the event, will be the effective handover of the leadership of the Nile-COM from Stanislas Kamanzi, Rwanda’s minister for natural resources to his South Sudanese counterpart.
It is a tradition of the NBI to rotate the position of chair among member states – Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda – on an annual basis in alphabetical order.
The meeting will be preceded by a two day meeting of the 39th Nile Technical Advisory Committee (Nile-TAC) from 17 to 19 June 2013. The Nile-TAC comprises technical representatives from NBI Member States and oversees the work of NBI.
It offers technical support and advice to the Nile-COM on matters related to the cooperative management and development of the common Nile Basin water resources.
Thursday’s meeting, will among other things, discuss the annual management report; the progress report for the financial year 2012/2013; the work plan and budget for the financial year 2013/2014 and later present these to the Nile-COM members for approval.
Established in 1999, the initiative serves as a forum through which member state seeks to develop the River Nile in a cooperative manner, share substantial socio-economic benefits and promote regional peace and security.