16th June 2024
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South Sudan starts process to ratify Nile Basin Initiative treaty

Authors: Moyo Jacob Felix | Nyathong William | Published: Thursday, December 7, 2023

The Sudd wetland in South Sudan's River Nile. | File/courtesy

The national parliament has started deliberation on the Nile Basin Initiative’s Corporative Framework Agreement – forwarding it to the independent committees on Foreign Affairs, Land, Legislation and Justice for scrutiny before ratification.

The Nile treaty, frowned upon by Egypt, was presented before the August House by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ruben Madol on Wednesday.

It was established by Nile Basin Initiative – an institution formed by 11 countries including Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Eritrea (as an observer).

The treaty provides for sustainable development, subsidiarity, equitable and reasonable utilization of the Nile waters.

It also outlines the prevention of significant harm and the right of the member states to use water within their territories, as well as protect and conserve as well as exchange data and information.

The document also mandates member states the obligation to environmental impact assessment and orbits, peaceful resolution of disputes, water as a finite and resource, water as social and economic value and water security.

South Sudan joined NBI in 2011 but Juba is yet to ratify the regional body’s Corporative Framework Agreement that is seen to counter the colonial-era Nile Agreement that reportedly favors Egypt.

Roben Madol Arol, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, said the treaty provides for amendments to the agreement as may be proposed by a member state.

“This part provides for amendments to this agreement. Amendments may be proposed by any State party, the amendment may be only by consensus,” he said.

“The part also provides that the annex to this agreement or to any protocol shall form an integral part of the agreement which no one may be allowed at any time after two years from the date on which this agreement entered into force by giving written notification to the depositary.”

Mr. Madol said the agreement will be open for ratification by all states in whose territories are situated in any part of the Nile River Basin.

In 2021, South Sudan said it was studying NBI’s Framework Corporative Agreement to understand its implications and benefits before agreeing to ratify the document.

This was in response to an appeal by an Ethiopian diplomat who urged South Sudan to ratify the treaty to ensure the country benefits from its share of the Nile water.

Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi have already signed the treaty, while the Democratic Republic of Congo is expected to sign.

Both Egypt and Sudan strongly opposed the Comprehensive Framework Agreement, also known as the Entebbe Agreement.

But the upstream countries say they are “tired of first getting permission from Egypt before using river Nile water for any development project like irrigation”.




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