Okeil: Ethiopia must stop filling the dam as a proof of good intentions, and we acknowledge its drive for development.
Maat for Peace, Development, and Human Rights is participating in the "Nile for Peace" conference, held in Kampala capital city of Uganda, from 6 to 11 April 2021, to deliberate on the aggravating crisis imposed by the Renaissance Dam. The conference is attended by a group of civil society organizations from all Nile Basin countries along with about 25 experts in water affairs and rights of People, environment, and sustainable development, and it is hosted by the Africa Platform for Social Protection/APSP, which is a consulting organization based in Kenya.
In the inaugural conference, representatives of civil society from Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia stressed that water should be a source of peace not a weapon of war, and affirmed the role of civil society in bringing together the governments' different views and perspectives and offering alternative solutions to the current crisis triggered by the filling of the Renaissance Dam, so that the three countries would find a win-win solution with a positive outcome for all parties.
The initiative aims to underline the fact that the Nile River, in its capacity as an international river, is a source of peace and cooperation between the countries bordering it. The initiative also seeks to reject existing political conflicts and differences, by strengthening the pivotal role played by civil society organizations in this regard.
In this context, Ayman Okeil, president of Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights, stated that the Ethiopian government's motives for building the dam must be carefully considered and fully recognized; however, the fears expressed by the downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, must also be understood and appreciated, especially when it comes to threats of drought. The outcome of negotiations must take into account the fears of people and governments alike, and it must be based on a win-win scenario for all parties, Okeil added.
Okeil also stressed that Ethiopia must postpone filling the Renaissance Dam for ten years as proof of good intentions and get around the negotiation table to ensure the safety of the three countries and the maintenance of the rights to life, water, and development thereof.
Maat's deep interest in this file springs chiefly from its position as an Egyptian-African Association, elected in 2017 as the North Africa Coordinator for the NGO Major Group for Africa and re-elected for a second term until 2023. Maat was also elected as a member organization of the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council of the African Union (ECOSOCC); besides, it serves as a monitor in the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.