Round Table Discussion about “National Strategy to deal with the Egyptian water security challenges”
On 26th of July 2016, the Council held a round table discussion with experts and professionals, at its premises, to discuss setting on a national strategy to deal with the Egyptian water security challenges. Ambassador Dr. Mounir Zahran, Ambassador Dr. Ezzat Saad and Dr. Farouk Makhlouf have worked on preparing for the round table meeting, organizing the participants and in editing the final report.
The Council has put forward a working paper on the need for a comprehensive and urgent Egyptian strategy to face the current challenges and the future threats to Egypt’s water security, dealing with the “Entebbe” Convention, the tripartite “Declaration of Principles”, and the implementation of the Ethiopian Renaissance dam. Participants of the meeting expressed their appreciation for the worksheet, and its contribution in facilitating the success of the meeting, and shortening the time of the discussions.
The discussions stressed that water security for Egypt is the backbone of our national security in its wide definition.
The concept paper included the following aspects:
1.On the national level:
(A) We should give the Nile water issue and the Egyptian relations with basin countries a vital importance to secure Egypt’s water resources from the Nile. It should be regarded not only as a national security issue, but a matter of life or death for the Egyptian citizen.
(B) Increasing the awareness of the Egyptian citizen with the importance of the Nile for Egypt and the necessities of rationalizing the use of the water. We can get benefit from the advantage role of civil society organizations in promoting these efforts.
(C) Rationalizing the use of the Nile resources and maintaining quality in all sectors (drinking water, industry, agriculture …) through setting up the plans and legal measures to ensure the rationalization of the Nile. We should take into account the environmental standards and the preservation of human life.
On the Egyptian/ Sudanese level (Khartoum – Juba):
(A) We should strengthen the Egyptian-balanced relations with Sudan and South Sudan in all fields and ensure coordination with each of them ensure a unified position on Nile water issues.
At the level of Egypt’s relations with other basin countries:
(A) There is no doubt that Egypt adopts an effective foreign policy toward Africa in general and the Nile Basin countries in particular. Therefore, the water dimension should not be the only sole focus of Egypt’s relations with these countries. Such a strategy should be directed as the highest priority in Egypt’s foreign policy strategy.
(B) In the case of failure of the current negotiations to reach a consensus with Ethiopia regarding solving the problem of the Renaissance dam, Egypt should resort to the international and regional communities by submitting the technical studies and scenarios.
(D) We should work with Ethiopia to reach a comprehensive convention (in the light of previous agreements) defines water cooperation mechanism in the future between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on prior notification and not to cause harm, to prevent the non-recurrence of the problem in the coming Ethiopian projects.