The Nile is the world’s longest river. It is shared between Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (See map below). Except for South Sudan, all of the above countries are members of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) – a cooperative partnership formed in 1999. Six upstream members of the NBI signed a “Cooperative Framework Agreement” that includes Articles addressing issues such as water allocation. One can imagine that such a framework is needed to assist water management efforts between so many nations.
It is common knowledge that we are unsustainable consumers of water resources. Agricultural, household and industrial use deplete the Earth’s freshwater and experts state that water shortages will cause the next wars. One of the most water sensitive regions of the world is the Middle East. Rich in fossil fuels, but water-poor, the Arab world is already facing the cruel reality of insufficient water resources from unsustainable use and losses due to old and broken water infrastructure. These concerns were extensively discussed during the World Water Forum 6.