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Maat: The unilateral filling of the GERD will take a disastrous toll on the Nile Basin countries

Maat: The unilateral filling of the GERD will take a disastrous toll on the Nile Basin countries

Okeil: A legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD must be reached

Fawki: International Rivers are subject to legal rules and unilateral action is not permissible

July 2021

In conjunction with Ethiopia's unilateral second GERD filling without consideration for the rights of the downstream countries, the Policy Analysis Unit at Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights issued a new study entitled "The Negative Impacts of the GERD on the Nile Basin Countries". The study explains the potential effects of the GERD on the Nile Basin countries and the expected risks in the event of not reaching a just and legally binding agreement guaranteeing Ethiopia’s right for development without harming or undermining the interests and rights of Egypt and Sudan.

According to the study, the failure to reach a satisfactory agreement between the three countries will entail various risks on social, political, economic, environmental and security aspects. Moreover, the severe repercussions of these risks will be felt not only by the people of the two downstream countries, but also the Ethiopians themselves, as thousands of populations living within the areas of hydro-dam have been displaced. These drastic effects may pose serious threats to the international security and stability.

According to the study, the failure to reach a satisfactory agreement between the three countries will entail various risks on social, political, economic, environmental and security aspects. Moreover, the severe repercussions of these risks will be felt not only by the people of the two downstream countries, but also the Ethiopians themselves, as thousands of populations living within the areas of hydro-dam have been displaced. These drastic effects may pose serious threats to the international security and stability.

Ayman Okeil, president of Maat, stressed that the Nile River can be a source of cooperation rather than disputes. If only used properly and equitably, it can bring prosperity for all the people living on its banks, in a way that guarantees sustainable development and preserves the rights of future generations, without exposing any of them to threat or danger. On the other hand, the Nile would be a potential cause of conflicts, Okeil warned. Therefore, he calls on Ethiopia to delay the GERD’s second filling until a just and legally binding agreement that preserves the rights of millions of citizens is reached, in order to provide a safe and sustainable environment for all African peoples.

For his part, Islam Fawki, director of the Policy Analysis Unit at Maat, stressed that international rivers are subject to legal rules governing the use and disposal of their waters, warning that Ethiopia's insistence on the unilateral filling will lead to severe repercussions jeopardizing the stability of the whole region. Fawki also cautioned against the weaponization of shared water resources, referring to what happened in Iraq by Iran and Turkey, and called on the international community to assume its responsibility towards the crisis, given its devastating effects in the long run.

Fawki further pointed out that the absence of political will on the part of Ethiopia has prompted Egypt and Sudan to seek the intervention of the UN Security Council, in order to inform the international community of the dangers of the Ethiopian dam to the two downstream countries, and urge the Council to fulfill its obligations towards protecting international peace and security. The crisis has reached its dramatic climax, Fawki warned, and the Security Council's ineffectiveness will only exacerbate the situation and undermine the stability of the region. Notably, this study was issued on the sidelines of Maat’s participation in the activities of the UN High-Level Political Forum, as well as on the sidelines of its participation in the work of the 47th session of the Human Rights Council.

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