The chairman of the Nile Basin Council of Ministers Sam Cheptoris has urged the new cheif executive of the basin organisation to ensure that the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) goes into force during her tenure.
Minister Cheptoris, who is also Uganda’s Minister for Water and Environment however asked the new Executive director of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) not to sideline Egypt but instead work to ensure that they return to the fold as active members of the NBI.
The Nile Basin Initiative which brings together 10 countries in the River Nile Basin works to achieve sustainable socio-economic development through the equitable utilization of, and benefit from, the common Nile Basin water resources.
Egypt froze it’s active participation in the NBI activities over the CFA which calls for cooperation and equitable sharing of the water resources of the Nile river. Instead Egypt wants consensus for any decision to be legally binding, something that member countries opposed, notting that Egypt wants to use consensus to veto development projects by other countries.
Witnessing the office handover to the new Executive Director Dr. Florence Adongo, minister Cheptoris said that the Nile Basin Initiative secretariat should work towards having all member states cooperate and work closely together for sustainable and equitable use and management of the Nile waters to facilitate development.
Cheptoris asked Dr. Adongo to work hard and smartly now as a diplomat to engage member states to pay the subscription fees as one of the ways of increasing resource mobilization for effective operations of the Nile Basin Initiative Secretariat.
He further noted the urgent need to expedite the ratification by member countries to have the Nile Basin Initiative transformed into a full-fledged commission with powers to make legally binding decisions on the use of the transboundary water resources for the region.
“We still have a challenge with Egypt, we would have loved to bring Egypt into fold, this is something we are discussing with engineer Matemu and Dr. Florence , we are trying to see how best we can bring Egypt back to the fold, I know it is going to be very difficult but we shall do our best, we shall encourage countries that have not yet ratified the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) to do so, we now have 5 countries, we only need one more then NBI will be transformed in a commission”-Cheptoris.
Dr. Florence Adongo, the new Executive Director who takes over from Engineer Sylvester Mutemu committed to use the initiative’s strategic direction and objective to manage the transboundary Waters in order to address challenges like climate that face both the Initiative and the entire globe.
“Some of the challenges of NBI are the same challenges the world is facing in terms of climate change, interstate conflicts, poverty, food insecurity, and environment degradation, high population growth, unreliable electricity among others; indeed all these have an impact on the Nile basin countries. In this era of global challenges, the management of transboundary water resources carries exceptional importance, I therefore take this assignment not merely as a position but a calling to make contribution as a steward of one of the earth’s most precious resource”-Dr. Adongo.
The Former Executive Director Engineer Muteemu who listed his achievements including mobilizing resource to refurbish the secretariat facility at Entebbe, buying cars for smooth operations of the NBI secretariat and improving staff welfare pointed out he will be available to advise the leadership in order to attain the set objectives and goals.