Ethiopians in the Diaspora on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) [STATEMENT]

By Ethiopians in Diaspora.

AFRICA: Ethiopians in the Diaspora, in support of fair and equitable use of the Nile River, call on Egypt to change its counterproductive posture and find mutually beneficial agreements on the GERD

3 April 2023.

As Ethiopia prepares for the fourth filling of the reservoir of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), we, the undersigned organizations established by Ethiopians in the Diaspora, write this message to the Egyptian people and leaders to join us in the spirit of cooperation and work towards an agreement that is fair, equitable, and mutually beneficial for all people in the Nile basin.

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)/Courtesy Photo.

Ethiopia is the main source of the Nile, contributing 86 per cent of the water to the Nile basin states while utilizing less than 1 per cent of the Nile’s potential for hydroelectric power. Ethiopians are currently building the GERD on the Blue Nile, one of the main tributaries of the Nile River. The Office of National Coordination for the Construction of the GERD announced that 90% of the construction work had been completed on the 12th anniversary of the laying the foundation stone. 

The GERD is financed entirely by Ethiopians and is a crucial project for Ethiopia’s development, as it will provide clean, renewable energy and lift millions out of poverty. About 65% of the 122 million of Ethiopia’s population have no access to any form of electricity. The much-needed electricity will facilitate economic growth for Ethiopia and the region. The GERD will promote regional cooperation and integration while offering an opportunity for eleven countries of the Nile Basin (Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda) to work together to manage the river’s resources more efficiently and effectively.

The GERD project is being built with the highest environmental and technical standards to achieve the objectives of the national electrification program and the execution of Ethiopia’s Climate-Resilient Green Economy strategy. Ethiopia has provided scientific evidence and expert testimonies that GERD will not significantly affect the flow of water downstream and provided compelling arguments for the need for equitable use of the Nile’s resources by all countries in the region.

We understand that the GERD has raised concerns in Egypt about the downstream effects on the Nile’s flow and water availability. For many years, Egyptians have been misinformed about the GERD, which will provide several benefits to Egypt and Sudan, including increased water flow during dry seasons and decreased flooding events. We want to assure Egyptians that Ethiopians are committed to fair and equitable use of the Nile’s waters without harming our downstream neighbors. We recognize that the Nile River is a shared resource, and we support finding a mutually beneficial solution.

As Ethiopians in the Diaspora, we reiterate our support for fair and equitable use of the Nile River and call on: 

The Egyptian People and Egyptian Diaspora to question the misinformation about the GERD in Egypt’s mainstream media, embrace the spirit of friendship and cooperation, understanding that the GERD is a project of great national importance to Ethiopians that will benefit Egyptians by ensuring a reliable and predictable supply of water, that Ethiopia have the right to use their water resources for the development of its people and economy, in accordance with the principles of equitable and reasonable utilization without causing significant harm.

Efforts to destabilize Ethiopia by the regime in Egypt, will indeed affect the historical and diplomatic relations dating back to several thousand years, the long-term interest of the Egyptian people and make Ethiopians less trusting in cooperating on the GERD and future hydropower projects on the Nile.

The Egyptian leaders to engage in constructive dialogue with the leaders of Ethiopia regarding the GERD and steer away from their counterproductive posture of calling for a “binding agreement” on the GERD filling and the subsequent operations as an imposing instrument on water sharing that Ethiopians will never accept. The GERD can be a source of cooperation and collaboration between our two countries rather than a source of conflict.

Ethiopians believe that, through dialogue and understanding, peaceful and equitable agreements that benefit all parties involved can be realized to build a brighter future for all people in the Nile basin. Belligerent positions by Egyptian leaders stating ‘all options are open’ are contrary to the spirit of the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. Such postures will surely harm Egypt’s long-term interest and impede trustful cooperation with the Ethiopian people and government.

The Arab League and its member states to refrain from interfering in the issue of the GERD, which is the sole concern of the three riparian countries (Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt) and their shared regional organization (the African Union), which is mediating the talks to find ‘African Solutions to African Problems’. The issues remaining on the table at the trilateral negotiations under the auspices of the African Union are being narrowed to a handful of critical matters on equity and justice, on which the Arab league nations have no business nor legal right to be involved. 

Signatories

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