Increasing Environmental, Ecosystems and Watersheds Destruction Threatening Nile Basin

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May 7/2021(ENA) General destruction of the environment, ecosystems and watersheds, and pollution of surface and ground waters, is occurring at increasing rate across the Nile basin, Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister Seleshi Bekele said. 

Briefing the media at the closing of the 6th Nile Basin Development Forum (NBDF) held under the theme: “Rethinking Regional Investments in the Nile Basin,” the minister stated that the objective of the forum was to build common understanding on the status of water and natural resources bases of the Nile Basin among stakeholders, examine the shared complex challenges, and exchange perspectives on the situation and the challenges.

Seleshi noted that the Nile Basin is richly endowed with wetlands, and other aquatic ecosystems, forests, grasslands, wildlife, arable land, and other natural resources.

“However, across the basin, general destruction of the environment, ecosystems and watersheds, and pollution of surface and ground waters, is occurring at increasing rate.”

According to him, this is threatening the sustainability of the ecosystems and of the goods and services derived from the natural resource base that Nile riparian communities are dependent upon for subsistence and economic development.

Within the basin there are many cases of Nile riparian countries, individually or in groups, taking measures to protect the natural resources, the minister said, adding that they include individual countries implementing measures to reduce soil loss, improve water retention, and reduce river and reservoir sedimentation and improve agricultural land productivity.

These measures, whether implemented by individual countries or groups of countries, confer transboundary benefits to all countries sharing a common water system, according to Seleshi.

Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) Secretariat Executive Director, Professor Seifeldin Hamad Abdalla said on his part the mandate of the initiative is to provide all-inclusive regional platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue, sharing information, joint planning, management, development of common water and related resources in the Nile Basin.

He noted that NBI also assists member states to intensify and prepare bankable investment projects that contribute to energy, water, and food security in the Nile Basin countries.   

Furthermore, the executive director stated that it would be important to strengthen institutional and technical capacities of member states and generate credible and impartial scientific-based knowledge to support decision-making and action at local level.

The Nile Basin Development Forum is a high a high-level regional event convened every three years by the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) in collaboration with its 10 member states in partnership with development partners.

The event is a science-policy dialogue that provides opportunity for sharing latest information, knowledge and best practices as well as building partnerships among professionals in transboundary water resources management and development.