Celebrating the birth of the Nile Basin Initiative Significance of Nile Day
Nile Day marks the date on 22 February, 1999 when the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) was established by the Nile Council of Ministers (Nile-COM). In November 2006, Member States took a decision to celebrate the birth of NBI each year on 22 February. This year, we will commemorate the 7th Regional Nile Day celebration, since 2007.
Nile Day affords Nile Basin citizens with the opportunity to focus on stimulating region-wide awareness for the management and development of the common Nile Basin water resources. It is also a time for collective reflection on and celebration of our past achievements, while searching ways and means to further the cooperation process. On a lighter note Nile Day provides an opportunity to celebrate the rich and varied cultures which exist within the Nile Basin.
Objectives of Nile Day celebrations:
- Enhance public awareness about the Nile - its potential for promoting regional cooperation, its growing vulnerability resulting from impacts of growing demand, utilization and climate change.
- Engage Nile Basin public by providing a forum for directly and indirectly partaking in the event
- Promote Nile Basin Cooperation, collective learning amongst riparian states to improve water management and development for the betterment of people’s livelihoods.
- Increase NBI visibility - including its achievements, challenges and prospects among Nile Basin citizens.
- Highlight the role the River Nile is playing in attracting international support and collaboration to enhance regional cooperation in managing the shared Nile water resources.
- The target audiences for Nile Day celebrations include Ministers in charge of Water Affairs in each Nile Basin country, Development Partners, officials from ministries in charge of Water Affairs, Energy, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, Transport, Members of Parliament, Researchers and , Academia, Civil society, Youth, Media, school children as well as the general public – citizens of the Nile Basin.
Nile Day 2013
Theme: Land Degradation and Climate Change: Address Shared Threats - Sustain Nile Cooperation
Why the theme?
- Cognizant of interrelatedness/interconnectedness of the Nile ecosystem and that any action/inaction is a threat everywhere; riparian countries are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in one Nile. Whatever effects one directly, affects all directly and/or indirectly, hence the need to focus beyond the sovereign states and work towards sustained Nile Cooperation.
Venue for the Regional celebrations: Bahr Dar, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Significance of Bahr Dar
Bahr Dar is an emerging regional city and a tourist destination about 600 kms north of Addis Ababa, on the shores of Lake Tana and Tis Isat Falls, where the Abbay/Blue Nile emerges. Lake Tana sub-basin is one of the most degraded parts of the Ethiopian Nile sub-basin albeit being the source of the Abbey River which contributes the bulk of the flow of the Nile. Bahr Dar will provide the gateway to highlight the importance of the Ethiopian part of Eastern Nile sub-basin. The Tana sub-basin is a growth corridor area for economic growth, water resources development being a driving engine.
Degradation and climate change pose a big problem and a shared threat that needs to be collectively addressed by the riparian countries through cooperation on the Nile.
The Bahr Dar Region hosts a number of NBI projects, including the recently inaugurated transmission interconnection between Sudan and Ethiopia; the Flood prevention and early warning project, the Eastern Nile Watershed Management Project, as well as the Tana-Beles Integrated watershed Management Project. In a nutshell Bahr Dar is envisaged to provide the venue to showcase the fruits of riparian cooperation.
Activities in Bahr Dar
- Theme focused Key note Speech, Welcome and Guest of Honour Speeches
- Panel Discussions
- Site visit
- Brass band led procession in the city centre
- Tree planting at proposed HQ site for Abbay Basin Authority
- Cultural Show/Children's Choir
National celebrations will take place in the rest of the NBI Member States and these will be organized by the Ministry in charge of Water Affairs as the lead agency.
Both the Regional and National Nile Day celebrations are organized in partnership with the Ministry in charge of Water Affairs in each NBI Member State, the Nile Media Network (NMN) and Nile Basin Discourse (NBD)
Venues for previous regional celebrations
Inaugural Regional Nile Day celebrations were held in Kigali, Rwanda in 2007; followed by Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2008; Bujumbura, Burundi in 2009; Kabale, Uganda in 2010; Goma, DR Congo in 2011; Jinja, Uganda in 2012
DID YOU KNOW?
- The Nile Basin Initiative is a regional intergovernmental partnership that seeks to develop the River Nile in a cooperative manner, share substantial socio-economic benefits and promote regional peace and security.
- The NBI was established in 1999 by riparian countries
- NBI Member States are 10, namely Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, The Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda (Eritrea participates as an observer).
- The Republic of South Sudan is the latest Member State entrant to NBI, having joined on 5th July 2012.
- The Shared Vision of NBI is ‘to achieve sustainable socio-economic development through equitable utilization of, and benefit from, the common Nile Basin Water resources’.
- The NBI has thus far prepared investment projects worth more than USD 1 billion for joint implementation by Member States.
- Agriculture is the main consumptive water use in the Nile Basin
- The River Nile is one of the World’s longest rivers, traversing about 6,695 kilometers from the farthest source of its headwaters of the Kagera Basin in Rwanda and Burundi through Lake Victoria, to its delta in Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea.
Importance of Nile cooperation
The Nile is one of the great rivers of the world, feeding millions and giving birth to entire civilizations. It is one of the world’s longest rivers, traversing about 6,695 kilometers. Its basin includes eleven African countries (Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, The Sudan, and Tanzania) and extends for more than three million square kilometers.
The Nile Basin countries are today home to more than 437 million people and of these, 54% (238 million) live within the basin (UN Population Division World Population Prospects 2012) and expect benefits from the management and utilization of its shared water resources.
Notwithstanding the basin’s natural and environmental endowments and rich cultural history, its people face considerable challenges including persistent poverty with millions living on less than a dollar a day, climate change, increasing water scarcity and deteriorating water quality.
Despite these seemingly formidable challenges, the River Nile holds tremendous opportunities for growth being one of the least developed rivers in the world. Better management could bring a vast range of benefits including increased hydropower and food production, better access to water for domestic use, improved management of watersheds and reduced environmental degradation, reduced pollution and more control over damage from floods and droughts.
Recognizing that a framework for cooperation, among others, was a necessity to tackle the above challenges, Nile Basin countries established the NBI in 1999. Key outcomes thus far include increased communication, trust, involvement and cooperation among Nile Basin governments and populations; enhanced basin-wide capabilities based on best practices; increased convergence of institutional frameworks of Nile Basin countries on trans-boundary issues as well as preparation of investment projects for joint implementation by Member States
The Secretariat P.O. Box 192 Entebbe – Uganda
Tel +256 414 321 424 +256 414 321 329 +256 417 705 000
Fax +256 414 320 971 Email:
Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office
P.O. Box 27173-1000 Addis Ababa – Ethiopia
Tel +251 116 461 130/32
Fax +251 116 459 407
Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program Coordination Unit
Plot 6418, KCT Building Avenue du Commerce
P.O. Box 6759, Kigali Rwanda
Tel +250 788 307 334
Fax +250 252 580 100
Enjoy the celebrations!!
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