Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam - File photo
CAIRO – 18 October 2017: The 16th meeting of the Tripartite National Committee kicked off in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Wednesday, to follow up on the studies on the effects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile Basin States.
Ministers of Water Resources and Irrigation and specialists from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia attended the meeting. They seek to push the negotiations forward especially after failing to do so in the previous two meetings in May and September due to unresolved points in Ethiopia’s plan to build the first stage of the dam.
This meeting aims to observe the technical details of the study conducted by the French consulting group BRL in March; which was undertaken to assess the hydrological, environmental, and economic impact of the mega project on the downstream countries.
The specialists from the three states clarified the terms of reference in the consultants’ studies during the meeting. The countries have agreed on the list of data required from the consultant firm to start new studies prepared by both the specialists and the consultants.
The last meeting of the technical experts of the tripartite technical committee took place in Sudan in mid-September, during which experts discussed a preliminary report about the technical methodology of the studies planned by French firms BRL and Artelia.
Since the beginning of the dam's construction in 2011, the downstream states, Egypt and Sudan, opposed the technical studies of the dam as it would decrease their share in the Nile water resources by 55.5 billion cubic meters and 18.5 billion cubic meters respectively.
However, Ethiopia denies that other downstream countries will be adversely affected by the dam and the prospect of war was raised in 2013 and 2014.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi signed a tripartite joint cooperation agreement in Khartoum on March 23, 2015, between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. The three countries held 14 rounds of consultation on resolving the disputes over the Renaissance Dam. However, these rounds failed to solve the dispute.
Consequently, the Nile Basin countries asked the French firm Artelia Group to join the French consulting group BRL Ingénierie in 2016, while they study the documents of the dam’s construction.