KIGALI - The Minister of Environment, Stanislas Kamanzi, said that member States of the Nile Basin need to adopt cooperation as a strategy to expedite development.
He made the remarks while opening a two-day Nile Equatorial Lakes Sub-regional forum, in Kigali, on clean energies for development.
The minister recognized the role of the Nile Basin Discourse (NBD) in the negotiation process of the Nile Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement.
“All member states of the basin need to ensure that the framework agreement is put into force. Countries that have not signed the agreement should consider doing so before the deadline elapses,” he said.
Kamanzi added that all negotiating parties must be ready and committed to the Nile and that issues under negotiation should be opened up to the public, to keep them abreast with what is being discussed and contribute to the process.
“It would be beneficial to draw on best practices from other basin agreements and all countries should strive to overcome their differences and find a common formula that is acceptable to all, in a spirit of mutual respect and flexibility,” he said.
The Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement seeks to establish a permanent commission of the basin.
Five countries signed the agreement last year.
Burundi became the sixth nation to sign an agreement enabling ratification of an accord that may strip Egypt of its veto power over rights to the flow from the world’s longest river.
According to Kamanzi, “Burundi’s signature is a step into proper cooperation but countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt and Sudan should, as well, consider signing in the quickest time possible.”
Kamanzi noted that clean energy development is critical to sustainable and social development, and it is a key ingredient for the attainment of the MDGs.
Meanwhile, the Board Chairman of Nile Basin Discourse, Dr. Emad Adly, said that all Nile Basin people should be more enlightened of the glaring development potential offered by the shared Nile resources.
He added that relevant authorities in Southern Sudan have expressed interest in joining the Nile Basin as an independent country.
But Minister Kamanzi said that the decision to bring Southern Sudan on board will be considered when the right time comes.
Citizens of Southern Sudan recently, in a referendum voted to split from the north.
The organisation is made up of Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Uganda, Egypt, Eritrea (as an observer), Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Sudan.