The 2nd Nile Basin Parliamentarians’ Forum has ended in Kigali, Rwanda with a call on Riparian governments to spearhead efforts to consolidate the gains made and to increase their country contribution to the Nile Basin Initiative’s (NBI) core costs so as to ensure its financial sustainability.
The call is contained in the ‘Kigali Declaration’ issued at the end of the Forum attended by Nile Basin Parliamentarians from the 10 Nile Basin Initiative Member States from 6 – 7 July, 2012. The theme of the Forum was: ‘The Role of Nile Basin Parliamentarians in Nurturing Nile Cooperation.’
The 2nd Nile Basin Parliamentarians Forum also called on Riparian governments to spearhead the establishment of a permanent institutional set up to put the Nile cooperation on a sustainable footing.
The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) is a partnership of the Nile Basin Countries - Burundi, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda (Eritrea participates as an Observer) - to achieve sustainable socio-economic development through equitable utilization of and the benefits from the common Nile Basin water resources.
The Forum further called upon Nile Basin National Parliamentarians to exert structured efforts to speak as one voice, exchange best practices and promote dialogue and consensus. This is in line with the NBI Shared Vision, which is: ‘to achieve sustainable socio-economic development through the equitable utilization of, and benefit from, the common Nile basin water resources’.
The Guest of Honor during the official opening ceremony, Hon. Emmanuel Mudidi, Member of Parliament from Rwanda said integrated water resources management should be the guiding principle for achieving not only the sustainability of the Nile Basin’s common water resources, but also regional integration, economic growth and social development in the Nile Basin.
The Forum was also addressed by Mr. Gustavo Saltiel, Nile Program Coordinator at the World Bank who noted that due to commitment to the joint management of the Nile waters by NBI Member States as well as the technical capacity of the NBI institutions, over a billion dollars of investment projects have to date been prepared by NBI in power generation and interconnection, agriculture and river basin management and these are now under implementation.
Dr. Anders Jagerskog, Project Manager of the Shared Waters Partnership, UNDP noted that “inaction on trans-boundary waters can carry a high price. Tensions can hurt regional integration, trade and stability, thereby limiting the potential for sustainable development.”
Nile Basin Parliamentarians also visited one of the projects coordinated under NBI, the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project whose implementation is expected to start in 2014 with commissioning planned for 2017.
The investment cost of the project is approximately USD 430 million (USD 330 million is a loan from the World Bank to be used for Dam construction and USD 100 million is from the African Development Bank and the Netherlands to be used for the interconnection). The project will be jointly implemented by Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania and will have an installed capacity of 80 MW to be shared among the three countries. Each country will have an additional 27 MW of electricity, contributing to reduction in the current power shortage and advancing economic and social development in the region.
A Tripartite Agreement was signed on 16th February 2012, by Ministers in charge of electricity affairs on behalf of the governments of the three countries to initiate the implementation of the Project and to reaffirm their intention to continue pursuing its financing and implementation.
The 2nd Nile Basin Parliamentarians Forum was attended by Members of Parliament representing the Natural Resources and Foreign Relations committees, Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Civil society, the media, Diplomatic Missions of Nile Basin countries based in Kigali, the governance and staff of NBI as well as Development Partners.
The Forum was co-hosted by the Nile Basin Initiative and Rwanda’s Ministry of Natural Resources in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and the Nile Basin Trust Fund represented by the World Bank.
Formally launched on 22 February 1999 in Dar e salaam, Tanzania by Ministers in charge of Water Affairs in the Nile Basin countries, the Initiative provides a unique platform upon which Member States can deliberate issues of trans-boundary water resources management and development to realize tangible benefits for the citizens of the Nile Basin region.
NBI is currently undergoing an Institutional Strengthening Process (October 2008 – 2012) which phase provides the organization with the opportunity to explore and design an appropriate long-term institutional structure. This period also allows NBI to capture, analyze and mainstream the products of the Shared Vision Program.