Photo credit: Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
A group of Ethiopian Diaspora professionals and intellectuals in North America, Europe, Australia, and Africa are vigorously condemning the call by Egypt and Sudan to submit the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) to the United Nations Security Council.
In a letter addressed on July 6, 2021 to the UN Secretary-General Dr. António Guterres, the group is advocating for Ethiopia’s right to use the Nile to supply electricity to Ethiopians and spur economic development.
His Excellency Dr. António Guterres Secretary-General
405 East 42nd Street
New York, NY, 10017, USA
RE: The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)
Dear Dr. Guterres,
We, the Board members of the Global Ethiopian Scholars Initiative (GESI), are writing to your esteemed office to express our grave concern over the call by Egypt and the Sudan to bring, once again, the GERD issue before the United Nations Security Council.
GESI is a non-profit organization registered in the US state of New York, with a mission to generate evidence relating to developments concerning Ethiopia, with particular reference to external public opinion and internal policy initiatives.
It is to be recalled that these two countries had presented the case earlier, but the United Nations had fittingly deferred the matter to the African Union, which has been urging the parties to negotiate in good faith.
As a hydroelectric project, the GERD does not markedly reduce or in any way “stop” the flow of water to downstream countries. This was incontrovertibly proven in the first filling of the dam. In fact, the dam has the potential to minimize the risk of massive flooding in the Sudan through effective management of the natural flow of the Blue Nile.
Ethiopia, which contributes over 85 percent of the Nile’s waters, has the sovereign right to use its fair share of the waters, in accordance with widely embraced international principles governing transboundary waters, viz., “equitable water-sharing” and “no significant harm.” Further, the GERD, whose construction has been fully financed by its people from all walks of life, is anticipated to supply electricity to some 65 million Ethiopians who now live in the dark, and spur economic development in that poor country. The dam is also anticipated to provide affordable energy to neighboring countries, thereby significantly contributing to African development, as stipulated in Agenda 2063.
The GERD should be embraced as a welcome opportunity to foster regional cooperation and engagement, and celebrated as a symbol of peace and prosperity. Accordingly, it behooves all stakeholders to urge Egypt to negotiate in good faith, and to desist from acts of threats and destabilization that detrimentally impact the sovereignty and integrity of Ethiopia.
We believe that the demands of Egypt to maintain the status quo of exclusive ownership of the Nile, based on obsolete colonial agreements, should have no place in the 21st Century.
We, therefore, request the UN Security Council to reject the request of Egypt and Sudan, and refer the case back once again to the African Union.
The Board of Directors, GESI
July 6, 2021