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Nile Basin countries seek cooperation to manage water resource

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- A Nile Basin countries forum kicked off in Rwanda’s capital city Kigali highlighting cooperation in the use of Nile Basin waters.

Different and conflicting needs of upstream and downstream water users should be the best basis and reason for cooperation in the use of Nile Basin waters, Rwanda’s minister of environment Vincent Biruta said at the opening of the 5th Nile Basin Development Forum (NBDF).

The forum runs from Oct. 23 to 25, under the theme “Investing in Nile Cooperation for a Water Secure Future.”

More than 500 participants including ministers in charge of water affairs and other government officials in Nile Basin countries, members of Parliament, water resource managers, environmentalists, economists, development planners, academia and researchers, are attending the meeting.

“Investing in Nile cooperation is not an option, but a must if we are to properly and sustainably address the issue of water security within the Nile Basin,” said Biruta.

The Rwandan minister mentioned the need for the Nile Basin countries to work together to reduce poverty, foster socio-economic development as well as promote sustainable use of natural resources.

According to the organizers, the meeting is aimed to create communities of people who are well informed, actively engaged in and promoting Nile cooperation as the only means of achieving sustainable management and development of the shared Nile Basin water resources as well as addressing shared risks, threats and challenges across the Basin.

Innocent Ntabana, Executive Director of Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), said growing population, economies of the Nile states, as well as the impact of climate change pose uncertainty about water availability and demand.

By 2050, the population living within the Nile Basin boundaries is projected to reach 1 billion from the current 257 million, representing 53 percent of the total population of Nile Basin countries, according to projections from Nile Basin countries.

The Nile Basin Initiative brings together Nile Basin countries including Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Tanzania.



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