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RECENT CHANGES IN THE NILE REGION MAY CREATE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR A MORE EQUITABLE SHARING OF THE NILE RIVER WATERS*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 December 2011

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Abstract

Egypt and Sudan's reluctance to share the Nile waters with the remaining riparian states has soured relations between them. The downstream countries base their claims on historical legal rights embodied in the 1929 and 1959 Nile Waters Agreements. Past efforts to enhance regional cooperation such as the Nile Basin Initiative and the Cooperative Framework Agreement (between the upstream countries) did not appear to significantly improve their relations. However, the legal and political situation has recently changed: South Sudan's independence from Sudan on 9 July 2011, the outbreak of civil turmoil in Egypt on 25 January 2011 leading to the fall of Mubarak, and the unilateral start of the construction of the Grand Millennium Dam (GMD) by Ethiopia at the beginning of April 2011. This paper sets out to address the following question: Do these recent changes create an opportunity to incorporate a more equitable sharing of the waters in the Nile Basin legal regime? It examines how the new changes may affect the existing legal debates on the validity of the Nile Agreements, state succession given that Sudan has split into two nations, whether Ethiopia is bound by the 1902 Agreement to notify planned measures and whether the new GMD gives expression to the implementation of the equity principle. It concludes that there is some hope for a more equitable sharing of the Nile waters given the recent legal and political changes.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © T.M.C. Asser Instituut and Contributors 2011

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References

* Paper based on research conducted during an internship at UNESCO-IHE and presented as an LLM thesis at Leiden University, supervised by Prof. Nico Schrijver.