The Status of the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework 2010
The Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement 2010 negotiations started in 1997 to come up with a new Nile River Basin Agreement in the name “The Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA)”. The Negotiations started with the panel of experts drowned from the nine Nile Basin Countries namely Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt with Eritrea only attending as
observer. The panel of experts were under the guidance and advice of a world renowned International Water Law Professor, Prof. Stephen C. McCaffrey of the University of the Pacific and Mc. George School of law of USA. The Panel of experts assembled 39 article of the draft CFA based on the best practices. The 39 articles were fined distilled and expanded by the Negotiation Committee that presented the CFA for adoption to the Nile Council of Ministers (Nile-COM). The signed CFA provides principles, the scope of the framework and rights and obligations of the riparian states among other provisions.
The Agreed scope of the framework tells it all. The scope reads as follows:
The Status of the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework 2010 “The present Framework applies to the use, development, protection, conservation and management of the Nile River Basin and its resources and establishes an institutional mechanism for cooperation among the Nile Basin States” The Negotiated and signed CFA that was opened for signature on 14th May 2010 at Entebbe Nile Basin Initiative offices, if entered into force will allow the establishment of the Nile River Basin Commission.
When established the Nile River Basin Commission would play a key and central role in the sustainable, peaceful utilisation of the Shared Nile River water resources. The Commission will act as a clearing house to new projects or planned measures in the Nile River basin and hence regulate the use of the basin water resources. Such a Regulator as a referee in a football field requires rules of the game. Such rules are better provided in the Negotiated Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework.
The Key provisions of the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework are provided in articles 4 and 5 on equitable and reasonable utilization of the Nile River Basin water resources and causing no significant harm to the basin States. The other articles are to ensure that these two provisions are balanced and applicable. The Nile River basin riparian states agreed to go to the negotiation table in order to come up with an agreement that has been freely negotiated and acceptable to them. Such an agreement would forestall the rights of the riparian States to utilize the shared water resources of the Nile River system in an equitable and reasonable manner and further put duty on the basin States not to cause significant harm to other riparian States. The two articles therefore balances the Right of the basin states to utilize the basins water resources with a duty not to cause significant harm to other riparian states.