The 29th Nile Council of Ministers (Nile-COM) was hosted in Juba, Republic of South Sudan on November 26, 2021, led by the new chairperson, Hon. Manawa Peter Gatkuoth, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources for South Sudan. This follows a tradition of the position rotating among the Nile Basin Member States annually.
The Nile-COM is the Nile Basin Initiative’s (NBI) highest political and decision-making body and comprises ministers in charge of water affairs in the Nile Basin Member States. Hon. Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Rwanda’s Minister of Environment handed the position over to Hon. Manawa Peter Gatkuoth in the presence of dignitaries from South Sudan, representatives from the Diplomatic Corps, Development Partners, NBI staff, and members of the media fraternity.
Outgoing chair, Hon. Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Rwanda’s Minister of Environment highlighted in her remarks that, “water is an irreplaceable, valuable, and shared resource hence its management deserves fair consideration on our journey to achieve sustainable development,” adding that it is important to continue strengthening the existing collaborative frameworks that exist within the Nile Basin.
The NBI Secretariat Executive Director, Engineer Sylvester A. Matemu remarked that key stakeholders have demonstrated an overwhelming interest in understanding Nile cooperation and that in recognition of raising NBI’s visibility, NBI, going forward, is keen on increasing engagement with, and involvement of multidimensional stakeholders including the Diplomatic Corps and the private sector, among others.
Speaking on behalf of NBI’s Development Partners, H. E. Ambassador Christian Bader, Head of Delegation of the European Union in South Sudan reiterated the EU’s support for NBI’s programs and Nile cooperation.
During the meeting, a key NBI publication, the Nile Basin Wetlands Atlas, was launched and the Nile-COM approved NBI’s work plan and budget for the Financial Year 2021/2022.