KIGALI - Ministers charged with water from ten member states of the Nile Basin are scheduled to meet in Kabale, Uganda tomorrow to mark the Nile Day.
A concept note for the event to mark the formation of the Nile Basin indicates that the day affords the opportunity to focus on stimulating region-wide awareness regarding the development, protection, conservation and sustainable management of the River Nile Basin and its resources for the benefit of citizens of all the riparian countries that share the Nile waters.
“On a lighter note, Nile Day provides an opportunity to celebrate the glories of the rich and varied culture which exists in the River Nile Basin region and providing an opportunity to come together and to learn more about the River Nile Basin and its heritage,” reads the document.
Uganda’s Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hope Mwesigye is expected to officiate at the Regional celebrations in Kabale district.
Activities to mark the celebration include the commissioning of the Katuna Water Supply System constructed by one of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) projects – the Kagera River Basin Management Project as well as the Nile Media Awards 2009 prize giving ceremony among others.
Kagera River Basin Management Project is implemented within the framework of the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP) of the NBI.
The project is jointly funded by a grant from the Governments of Sweden and Norway amounting to US$4.94m and US$3.37m from the World Bank Nile Basin Trust Fund.
The Project Management Unit (PMU) is based in Kigali in Rwanda and supervised by a Regional Project Steering Committee (RPSC) constituted of three senior government officials from each of the participating countries of Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
Meanwhile, latest developments indicates that water affairs ministers of the Nile Basin countries have agreed to hold a third round of negotiations on the Framework Nile Basin agreement.
Efforts to reach the Rwandan Minister for Environment, Stanislas Kamanzi, were fruitless by press time as he was attending a Leadership retreat in Rubavu.
However, Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Nasreddin Allam, told the press that dates of upcoming meetings in Sharm el-Sheikh will be officially announced soon.
Egypt also refuted claims in the media that water ministers of the Nile Basin countries have withdrawn from the upcoming round of negotiations due to disagreements.
The Nile Basin Initiative is a partnership of the Nile Basin countries - Burundi, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda (Eritrea is an Observer).
The Nile Day, which is celebrated on the February 22, every year, is an annual event organized in the Nile riparian countries to mark the historic day in 1999 when the NBI was launched by the Council of Ministers of water affairs in the Nile Basin countries.
This will be the fourth time the Nile Day is celebrated under the theme ‘Nurturing 10 Years of Cooperation and Progress.’