Nile Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement
This agreement between Egypt and Sudan, which complemented the previous agreement, gave Egypt the right to 55.5 billion cubic meters of Nile water per year and Sudan to 18.5 billion cubic meters per year. The regional watershed management project aims to establish sustainable watersheds on the Tekeze, Atbara, Mareb, Abbay/Blue Nile and Baro/Akobo/Sobat rivers in Ethiopia and Sudan. The first project sites identified include Lake Nasser/Nubia in Egypt; the Jamma, Reb and Gumara sub-basins and the management of the Tana-Beles watersheds under the Tana-Beles Integrated Water Resources Development Project in Ethiopia; and the lower Atbara, the Ingessena Mountains and the areas around The Dinder National Park in Sudan. The 1929 and 1959 agreements both sparked resentment and demands for changes to the pact among the other Nile states, which Egypt resisted. In May 2010, five upstream states signed an agreement to extract more water from the Nile – a move that Egypt and Sudan strongly opposed.  The Framework Cooperation Agreement (FCA), which has been negotiated for years under the NBI, should be open for signature for a period of one year.  Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania have signed the agreement. Ethiopia ratified it in 2013.  The DRC should also sign, while Egypt and Sudan should not. An Egyptian government spokesman said in May 2010 that “Egypt will not accede to or sign any agreement regarding its share.”  Nearly two decades after its creation, the Nile Basin Initiative (IUU) Transition Mechanism has been credited with fulfilling several components of its institutional commitment – establishing an atmosphere of trust and dialogue among riparian states. However, negotiations under the auspices of the NBI have failed to accomplish one of the organization`s most fundamental tasks: the creation of a permanent legal framework and an institution that is “acceptable” to all States in the basin.
The diplomatic effort that led to the adoption of the Nile Basin Cooperation Framework (CFA) Agreement was fraught with pitfalls. I argue that despite the unprecedented summits of cooperative dialogues, which have been widely portrayed as a “political triumph” from an upstream perspective, the legal and hydropolitical discourse that led to the final formulation of the CFA did not meet the “expectations” of two major states at stake: Egypt and Sudan. It was an existential threat to the institutional future of the BNI itself and the noble goals it sought to achieve. Nevertheless, the organizational urgency in the basin has also shown that nile-bordering states have little choice but to revive the “waning” momentum and ensure that the NBI enterprise is completed in an “inclusive” and “fair” manner. Otherwise, according to the author, the alternative would not only represent a bleak future from the point of view of cooperation and optimal development of the Nile`s resources in the long term, but would also stifle the sustainable river interests of the basin states. It must also contain a termination clause that allows any riparian State to terminate the contract with notice. Despite decades of concerted efforts, a comprehensive agreement has never been reached between the 11 countries that share the Nile basin. But after rigorous discussions in the United States, Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan issued a joint statement that provides the framework for a final agreement. The three countries have agreed that the dam will be filled in stages and will only take place during the rainy season. Founded in 1999, the initiative brought together the nine countries of the Nile Basin at the time to develop the river cooperatively, share important socio-economic benefits and promote peace and security in the region.
Part V describes the dispute resolution procedures that may arise from the implementation and enforcement of the contract. It also provides for the creation of bilateral or plurilateral instruments (agreements) that would complement the CFA. The treaty would create a legal basis for a permanent and joint administrative body, the Nile Basin Commission (CBRN), give legal personality and improve cooperation in the Nile. CBRN will ensure that national development projects are coordinated with basin-wide development in order to optimize the use of basin resources and increase the national benefits of regional cooperation. The heads of state and government of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed a cooperation agreement on the Great Renaissance Dam in 2015 to ease tensions. The agreement should pave the way for further diplomatic cooperation. Key principles of the agreement include prioritizing downstream countries for the electricity produced by the dam, a dispute resolution mechanism and compensation for damages. Joint decision to give more time to seek a joint agreement The two countries have been in controversial negotiations for years and have yet to conclude a comprehensive water-sharing agreement. To cope with the stresses of the expected extreme drought years, the three countries need to build more reservoirs and storage capacity. But given the tensions caused by the dam, it will likely be difficult to reach an agreement on it.
This is one more reason to include specific storage clauses in the contract. The text of the Framework Cooperation Agreement (CCF) sets out the principles, rights and obligations for the cooperative management and development of water resources in the Nile basin. Instead of quantifying “equitable rights” or allocations of water use, the Treaty intends to establish a framework to “promote the integrated management, sustainable development and harmonious use of water resources in the river basin, as well as their conservation and protection for the benefit of present and future generations”. To this end, the treaty provides for the establishment of a permanent institutional mechanism, the Nile Basin Commission (CBRN). The Commission would serve to promote and facilitate the implementation of the CFA and to facilitate cooperation among Nile Basin States in the conservation, management and development of the Nile Basin and its waters. The framework also stressed the need for any agreement to be open to change. This is important because the three countries must take into account, among other things, changes in weather conditions when developing the final draft. Egypt wants an alternative to the agreement, which now allows other Nile Basin countries to carry out projects along the river without its prior consent. The integration of flexible and robust legal and institutional arrangements into the new treaty is therefore crucial. These include drought provisions, flexible allocation strategies, change and review procedures, termination clauses and recognised river basin organisations. The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) is a partnership between nile-bordering states that “aims to develop the river cooperatively, share important socio-economic benefits, and promote regional peace and security.”  The BNI initiated a dialogue among riparian states, which led to a common vision goal of “achieving sustainable socio-economic development through the equitable use and benefits of shared water resources in the Nile Basin”.   It was officially launched in February 1999 by the water ministers of nine countries that share the river: Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Eritrea as observers.