Trilateral Talks on the Filling and Annual Operation of the GERD: Competing Demands and the Need for Revisiting the Status quo towards a Negotiated Settlement

Main Article Content

Ermyas Admasu Wolde
Abiot Desta Habte

Abstract

The Nile River Basin, with eleven riparian countries, lacks any agreed-upon basin-wide legal framework. Attempts at effective management and utilization of water resources inclusive of all countries along the basin have not been possible due to lack of consensus on the legal basis of already exiting colonial-era agreements that allocate an absolute share of the Nile water to Egypt and Sudan by excluding most of the upper riparians. The review has specifically focused on the trilateral negotiation processes between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt since November 2019 on the filling and annual operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Ethiopia has been constructing since 2011. It has made a thorough review of a series of events and processes through which the negotiation has passed to conduct a critical analysis of facts, and has suggested reflections on the way forward. It considers the need for political will and flexibility of the negotiating parties to reconcile existing contradictory positions. To this end, pursuing a revisionist approach to take the dynamic socio-economic realities and development needs of co-basin countries is commendable. This further requires renegotiating long existed colonial-era agreements and formulating a basin-wide legal framework in line with existing international standards. Focusing on technical and expertise level of discussions and outcomes would minimize over politicization and specifically would help to address the negative impacts of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and optimize positive externalities. Peace is a necessity than any other option among the co-basin countries and the only avenue towards sustainable resolution of disputes. Negotiating in good faith and in a ‘give and take’ modality needs to be a second to none alternative to the parties. The international community may also need to play a neutral and genuine role to assist the parties to settle their differences amicably and reach a final negotiated settlement.

Article Details

How to Cite
Ermyas Admasu Wolde, & Abiot Desta Habte. (2020). Trilateral Talks on the Filling and Annual Operation of the GERD: Competing Demands and the Need for Revisiting the Status quo towards a Negotiated Settlement. PanAfrican Journal of Governance and Development (PJGD), 1(2), 4-29. https://doi.org/10.46404/panjogov.v1i2.2381
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Articles
Author Biographies

Ermyas Admasu Wolde, Jimma University, Ethiopia

Ermyas Admasu Wolde is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Governance and Development Studies, College of Law and Governance, Jimma University (JU), Ethiopia. He is currently serving as the Director of International Relations Office at JU. He has research interest and engagement in the areas of public policy, local and regional governance and participatory development, internationalization and higher education governance, urban governance and institutional management, hydro politics on the Nile Basin and regional politics in the Horn of Africa.

Abiot Desta Habte, Jimma University, Ethiopia

Abiot Desta Habte is a Lecturer at the Department of Governance and Development Studies (GaDS), College of Law and Governance, Jimma University (JU), Ethiopia. He is currently serving as the Head of Department of Governance and Development Studies at JU. He has research interest and engagement in the areas of public policy, institutions, the political economy of the developmental state, environment and development, natural resource management and ecotourism, forced migration, conflict management and resolution, globalization, technology, and higher education governance and knowledge management, among others.

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