1993 Agreement Between Egypt and Ethiopia: Key Points and Historical Context
The 1993 Agreement between Egypt and Ethiopia is a significant treaty that outlines the principles and mechanisms for cooperation in the Nile Basin. The treaty was signed by the two countries along with other riparian states of the Nile, including Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. The agreement set the foundation for the equitable sharing of the Nile`s waters, which remains a contentious issue between Egypt and Ethiopia today.
The Nile is the longest river in the world and is a vital source of water for millions of people living in the Nile Basin. The river is shared by 11 riparian countries, with Egypt and Ethiopia being the largest users. Egypt`s reliance on the Nile stems from its historical and economic importance as the country`s primary source of freshwater and irrigation. Ethiopia, on the other hand, depends on the Nile for hydropower and agriculture. However, the Nile`s waters are not equally distributed, and this has led to a long-standing dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia.
Key Points of the 1993 Agreement:
1. The agreement recognizes the Nile Basin as a shared resource for all riparian countries and that the use of the Nile`s waters should be guided by the principles of equity, reasonable and appropriate use, and cooperation.
2. The treaty establishes the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) as a forum for technical cooperation and dialogue among riparian states. The NBI aims to foster sustainable development in the Nile Basin while promoting regional cooperation.
3. The agreement affirms the right of each riparian state to use the Nile`s waters for domestic, agricultural, and industrial purposes, provided that these uses do not cause significant harm to other countries.
4. The treaty recognizes the need for joint development projects in the Nile Basin. Projects that have cross-border implications must be subject to prior consultation, and affected countries must agree to the project`s terms.
5. The agreement calls for the establishment of a permanent commission to oversee the implementation of the treaty. The commission will be made up of representatives from all riparian states and will be responsible for ensuring cooperation and compliance with the agreement`s principles and mechanisms.
Despite the 1993 Agreement, tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia continue to rise over the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Ethiopia began constructing the dam in 2011 on the Blue Nile River, a major tributary of the Nile. Egypt sees the dam as a threat to its water security, fearing that it will reduce the amount of water flowing downstream to the country. Ethiopia argues that the dam will provide electricity and benefit its people, and that its impact on downstream countries will be minimal.
The 1993 Agreement between Egypt and Ethiopia remains a crucial framework for cooperation among riparian states in the Nile Basin. However, the agreement`s principles and mechanisms have not entirely resolved the long-standing conflict over the Nile`s waters. As riparian states continue to pursue their development goals and interests, cooperation and dialogue remain essential to ensure a sustainable and equitable use of the Nile`s waters.