The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) in collaboration with the government of Uganda is organising activities to commemorate Regional Nile Day 2021 on February 22.
Nile Day is organised annually, to provide an opportunity for Basin citizens and friends of the Nile to come together to celebrate the benefits of Nile cooperation and to exchange experiences, views and ideas on topical issues related to the cooperative management and development of the common Nile Basin water. The occasion is also used by Member States to re-affirm their commitment to Nile Cooperation. The Day also provides an opportunity to celebrate the rich and varied cultures which co-exist within the Nile Basin.
The rallying theme for this year’s event is ‘Rethinking Regional Investments in the Nile Basin’. NBI Member States have worked together to negotiate, agree, prepare and in some cases, implement investment projects with shared regional benefits and the potential to ultimately benefit millions of inhabitants. The investment projects, which are more than 84, are worth more than USD 6.5 billion. The sectors covered include: hydropower development; power transmission interconnection and trade; irrigation and drainage; lake/lake environment management; integrated sub-basin/catchment/watershed management; fisheries; water resources development; flood protection and early warning; multi-sector investment opportunity studies; and inland waterway transport.
The limited set of investment projects already implemented and those under implementation has clearly demonstrated the viability and value addition of transboundary infrastructure investments. However, a substantial proportion of the already prepared investment projects has remained on the shelves, seriously affected the expectations of Nile Basin citizens. During the Ministerial and Development Partners Roundtable meeting, one of the activities that will mark Nile Day 2021, participants will share experiences, successes and challenges in implementing already prepared investment projects as well as agree on the way forward.
Other activities to mark the day include the launch of the 6th Nile Basin Development Forum, a triennial science–policy–practice dialogue forum organised with the aim of bringing together a broad spectrum of Nile Basin stakeholders from within and beyond the Nile Basin. The launch ceremony of this high level regional forum will be followed by technical sessions organised as webinars.
Earlier in the day, participants will listen to speeches focussing on the rallying theme of the day, delivered by Ministers in charge of Water Affairs (Nile-COM) in the NBI Member States and other dignitaries, as well as an exhibition. Participants will also be treated to a virtual tour of the Secretariat.
Nile Day 2021, which will be held virtually due to the COVID 19 global pandemic will be preceded by the 56th Nile Technical Advisory Committee meeting and followed by the Strategic Dialogue meeting between NBI governance and development partners.
The event will be attended by Nile-COM members; representatives from NBI Member States embassies and officials from ministries whose activities touch on the management and development of the common Nile Basin water resources, namely; Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, and Finance. Others are Members of Parliament, Development Partners, Researchers, Academia, Civil society, Youth, Media and school children.
Follow the day’s activities on NBI’s facebook and Youtube, where the event will be live streamed
Uganda will be hosting the event for the fourth time since 2007 when the inaugural event was held.