While addressing media representatives from the 10 Nile Basin Initiative Member States ahead of the upcoming Regional Nile Day 2018 event, Dr. Sileshi Bekele who is also the Chairman of the Nile Council of Ministers (Nile-COM) noted that February 22 marks a milestone in the history of the Nile cooperation. “It is on this date that for the first time, all independent, sovereign riparian countries of the Nile committed themselves to work together and harness the potentials of the shared river to promote cooperative sustainable socio-economic development of their countries”, he said.
He said the celebrations whose theme is, The Nile: Shared River, Collective Action will be attended by at least 500 Nile Basin citizens and friends of the Nile including Ministers in charge of Water Affairs in the Nile Basin countries (Nile Council of Ministers); representatives from NBI Member States embassies and officials from Ministries whose activities touch on the management and development of the shared water resources, namely Water, Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, Finance. Others are Members of Parliament, Development Partners, Researchers, Academia, Civil society, Youth, Media, and school children.
Ethiopia is hosting the Regional Nile Day event for the third time this year. The celebrations will take place at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Conference Centre. A number of activities have been lined up including a brass band-led procession starting from Meskel Square to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, an exhibition by various partners showcasing achievements and on-going works in water and water related activities, speeches by different dignitaries, as well as a performance by children and by Addis Ababa University Theatre School and Cultural Centre.
The highlight of the celebrations will be a symposium on the topic; ‘Towards effective Nile cooperation: Exploring options for enhanced political engagement’. Participants will deliberate on the current challenges of the Nile Basin Initiative and chart the way forward to a solution through innovative engagement of the Member States.
The annual Nile Day event provides an opportunity to increase awareness of the importance of basin-wide Nile Cooperation in jointly taking good care of and utilizing the shared Nile Basin water and related resources for win-win benefits. This is in addition to enhancing awareness about the consequences of non-cooperation as well as the challenges of Nile cooperation. On a lighter note, the day serves to expose participants to the rich and varied cultures, which exist within the Nile Basin.