KIGALI, Rwanda – The President of the Senate of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo has emphasized the need to overcome fragmentation that exists at various levels of climate change management.
He explained that in Africa there are many initiatives that are engaged in climate change matters, including the East African Community through the Lake Victoria Basin Commission, Inter Governmental Authority on Development, and the United Nations Environmental Programme. “There is need for synergistic interventions that optimize and ensure beneficial use of the available resources,” H.E. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo added.
Speaking as Guest of Honor during the 3rd Nile Basin Development Forum in Kigali, Rwanda on 26th October, 2011 organized under the theme ‘Climate Change and its implications for Sustainable Development and Cooperation in the Nile Basin – Threats and Opportunities to Nile Basin Cooperation’ he said, “It is essential that policies, strategies, institutional and legal frameworks be developed, coordinated and harmonized at the global and regional level”.
Hon. Charity Kaluki Ngilu, Kenya’s Minister for Water and Irrigation and Chairperson of the Nile Council of Ministers in charge of Water Affairs, told participants that “the Nile Basin region is faced with a declining level of Lake Victoria. For us to guarantee water security for our citizens, I would encourage the Nile Basin Member States that are yet to sign the River Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement to do so.” She added that “Water security for Sudan and Egypt is not a matter for debate, but a right. To secure this right it is important the River Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement is ratified by all the Nile Basin States.”
Earlier, Dr. Wael Khairy, Executive Director of the Nile Basin Initiative, noted that achieving sustainable socio-economic development and management of the Nile Basin presents a great challenge, which calls for joint regional action as well as explicit political-will and financial commitment from all Nile Riparian States and development partners. He said the “Nile Basin can be resilient to climate change if, and only if, our Riparian States work together as one body”
The 3rd Nile Basin Development Forum was closed today 28th October, 2011 by the Host, Hon. Ambassador Stanislus Kamanzi, Minister of Natural Resources of the Republic of Rwanda.
He noted that participants have ably deliberated on the challenges, existing opportunities and the ever growing threats of climate change to development agendas, not only in NBI but in the whole of Africa.
“We received captivating key note speeches, deliberated on core issues and what can be done in Governance, Finance, Food and Energy Security in enabling us adapt to climate change”, he added.
Participants from the Nile Basin countries namely, Burundi, DR Congo Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, The Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda issued a ‘Kigali Declaration’ in which they called for cooperation among their respective countries in preserving and managing the Nile Basin environment by giving due attention to its water and land resources, wetlands and biodiversity and by addressing the impacts of climate change.
They also highlighted the need to support the empowerment of the Nile Basin Initiative to take more rigorous and effective steps towards implementing pertinent climate change adaptation measures, thereby contributing to the efficient water management and optimal use of the resources as well as poverty eradication leading to promotion of economic integration in the Nile Basin.
Participants further called for strengthening participatory and integrated approaches in planning and decision making, including the meaningful participation of the civil society and non-governmental organizations in our efforts on responding to climate change at national and regional levels.
During the Forum, NBI launched some of its key products relevant to the subject of climate change. These include the second release of the Nile-Decision Support System (Nile-DSS), which is a world class analytical tool for NBI Member States and NBI as an institution that supports rational decisions and promotes sustainable outcomes. It provides a trans-boundary framework for sharing knowledge, understanding river system behavior, as well as designing and evaluating alternative development scenarios, investment projects, and management strategies.
The first ever River Nile State of Basin report, which is currently under preparation, will be introduced. Among other things, this report provides access to accurate, credible and timely information to help in raising awareness and increasing understanding and appreciation about the natural environment, the people, communities and economic development of the basin.
The Nile Basin Sustainability Framework, a suite of policies, strategies and guidelines through which the NBI will ensure that its activities are sustainable. It will also be used ensure that the development and management of the Nile Basin water resources undertaken by NBI Member States with facilitation of the NBI are in accordance with the principles of integrated water resources.
The Nile Information System (Nile-IS), a web-based knowledge management tool that allows for easy storage, searching, organizing, retrieval, analyzing as well as disseminating and exchanging information collected from NBI programs and projects.
A number of FAO-Nile Information Products prepared between 1996 and 2008. These products are ‘policy neutral’ instruments for examining a linked future between the land and water in the Nile Basin– and exploring the issues related to the people that depend on the continued access to land and cycle of nutrients and water. They are tools for understanding the impacts of rising demand for food and water against a variable hydrological regime.
More than 200 participants from within and outside the Nile Basin countries, including Ministers in charge of Water Affairs and Members of Parliament in the Nile Basin countries, environmentalists, water managers, researchers, River Basin Organizations, International and Regional organizations, civil society, private sector, media, diplomatic missions and development partners attended the 3rd NBDF organized by the Nile Basin Initiative in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources of Rwanda.
Egypt and Sudan have agreed to Kenya’s request to call off a regional water meeting to 17 December, according to Hisham Qandil, Egypt's Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation. Ministers from Nile Basin countries are slated to attend the event.
The meeting, to be hosted in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, was previously scheduled for 29 October.
Kenya's Ministry of Water and Irrigation said it requested postponement after Kenya's president tasked the minister with handling domestic concerns.
The meeting is supposed to tackle issues surrounding the framework agreement signed by six upstream countries for redistributing Nile water shares.
In April 2010, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda signed the framework agreement in Entebbe. They were joined by Burundi in March 2011.
Sudan and Egypt opposed the deal, as it endangers their historical water shares granted by a bilateral agreement in 1959.
The December meeting will seek to lessen the disagreements and facilitating collaboration among Nile Basin states.