A Communique of the Advisory Council of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

We, members of the Advisory Council, composed of academics, scholars and professionals in Ethiopia and the Diaspora, are outraged by the misguided, biased and unfounded statements made by Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Sheikh of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif of Egypt, Ahmed Abul-Gheit, the Arab League Secretary-General, and General Kenneth McKenzie, US Central Command (CENTCOM) made in reference to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

 Recognizing that:

  1. The Nile (including the White Nile and the Blue Nile (Abay)) flows through eleven African countries (Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda); and that Ethiopia contributes more than 86% of the Nile water;
  2. 100% of the water share of the Nile was unfairly allocated to Egypt and Sudan, based on irrelevant Colonial Treaties, leaving Ethiopia and the other Nile Basin countries with a scandalous 0% share;
  3. Egypt provides electricity to 99% of its people, while more than 60% (over 65 million) of Ethiopians live in the dark;
  4. Egypt provides access to drinking water to more than 99% of its population, while 40% of Ethiopians lack a clean drinking water;
  5. Egypt has more than 150,000 BCM of ground water stored in the Nubian aquifer that could support its agriculture and water needs for over 1,000 years while Ethiopia has only 122 BCM of ground water resource;
  6. Egypt has enormous potential capacity for desalinization and could enhance future water availability, while Ethiopia has none;
  7. The Technical Committee of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan has confirmed that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will reduce flooding in Sudan and ensures regulated flow of water for Egypt and Sudan with little evaporation loss—a serious challenge at the Aswan Dam;
  8. The international law governing transboundary waters which permits Ethiopia’s sovereign rights to use its own resources; and its unwavering position on equitable use of water resources in the Nile Basin region and its principles of no significant harm to downstream countries;
  9. Failure of Egypt and Sudan to ratify the 2010 Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement;
  10. The ongoing African Union-led effort in the spirit of finding “African Solutions to African Problems” to support the three parties of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to find a negotiated solution;

We, the Advisory Council of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education:

  1. Denounce and strongly condemn the recent misguided and inflammatory statements made by Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Sheikh, Al-Azhar Al-Sharif of Egypt, Ahmed Abul-Gheit, the Arab League Secretary-General, and General Kenneth McKenzie, US Central Command (CENTCOM) and others regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam;
  2. Demand retracting the misguided assertions and misinformation on GERD that Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Ahmed Abul-Gheit and General Kenneth McKenzie spread on Arab media and elsewhere;
  3. Call upon Egyptian universities, the Arab League and others to recognize that Abay (the Blue Nile) originates in Africa and thus disputes with respect to any disagreements on its equitable use should be mediated and resolved by Africans themselves;
  4. Call upon governments, bilateral and multilateral agencies to refrain from misinformation and unilateral support to Egypt, and devote efforts on balanced and constructive engagements based on facts, including supporting the right to develop and share the Nile waters equitably to provide water, electricity and food to citizens of the Nile Basin countries;
  5. Call upon concerned partners to acknowledge the well-documented facts that the GERD Technical Committee, constituted from the three countries, has affirmed that there would be no harm to the downstream countries, rather that the GERD is technically sound, will regulate the fluctuation of water levels to mitigate seasonal flooding, reduce evaporation from the scorching heat in Sudan and Egypt, and provide affordable electricity;
  6. Call upon university leaders across the world, the Arab League, the US, the European Union and others to reject the outdated and unfair Colonial Treaties dishonored by the Nile Basin (Riparian) countries;
  7. Request that the unjustified moratorium on financial assistance to Ethiopia be quickly lifted as the action only hurts the poor already traumatized by the COVID-19 pandemic, local conflicts and natural calamities;
  8. Call upon the international community to support Ethiopia in its consistent position to ensuring equitable water use, develop its water resources to extricate its citizens out of abject poverty, and encourage the Nile Basin countries, including Egypt and Sudan, towards mutually beneficial collaborations; and
  9. Urge that the sensitive and complex negotiation continues under the auspices of the African Union without any interference from others;
  10. Call upon academics, scholars, and professionals in particular and all peace-loving people across the world to join hands in supporting a peaceful resolution and avert unintended consequences that may arise from irresponsible statements. 

Advisory Council of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education

Addis Ababa

25 June 2021