International Policies and Conventions on International Rivers and the Rights of Ethiopia to Construct Dam on Nile River: The Case of the Great Renaissance Dam of Ethiopia

Kassahun Mulatu Lemt


Sustainable transboundary water resources managements are challenged by water governance problem. Equitable and reasonable use of water resources shared by co-basin countries requires reliable common agreements. International water laws such as UN Watercourses (1997), Helsinki Rules (1966) have provided vital legal instruments for effective management and negotiation over international water courses. However, Nile River use and development has challenged for last several decades due to discriminatory bilateral agreements made during colonial periods. The Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) provided to achieve equitable use of Nile River and promote regional socioeconomic development is important step advancing to stop unfair water allocation and claim in the region. The enduring claim over water share and use by Egypt and Sudan referring colonial era agreements are unacceptable because they denied legal and natural rights of the upstream countries as well as opposed international water law. With this respect, Ethiopia has natural and legal right to construct Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The downstream countries (Egypt and Sudan) should ratify CFA and respect international water laws. Therefore, mutually acceptable cooperative commitment amongst the riparian states of the Nile basin is the only necessary condition for promoting sustainable use and development Nile River as well as achieving peace and security in the Nile river basin.

Keywords: UN Watercourses, Helsinki Rules, Nile River basin, downstream countries, international water law principles

DOI: 10.7176/IAGS/83-02

Publication date:June 30th 2020

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