Nile Day commemorated in London for the first time

26 Feb 2018

On 22nd February 2018, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Diplomats from Nile Basin countries – Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda – celebrated the 12th Nile Day in London for the first time under the theme, “The Nile – Shared River, Collective Action”, at an Ethiopian Embassy-hosted reception.

Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Diplomats from NBI Countries

Welcoming guests, H.E. Dr Hailemichael Aberra Afework, Ethiopian Ambassador to the United Kingdom said, “Ethiopia takes great pride in hosting this important day in the Nile Basin’s calendar – a day on which leaders of our great nations definitively chose dialogue over distrust, interdependence over isolation and cooperation over conflict.”

“By establishing the Nile Basin Initiative on this day in 1999, our countries opened a new chapter in the storied history of our great river – vowing to develop, manage, protect and conserve the water resources of the Nile on the basis of a “shared vision”,” he said.

In light of challenges such as climate change, the need for greater cooperation, basin-wide planning and a legal regime governing the river in its entirety, could not be clearer, he added.

Ambassador Hailemichael concluded by quoting Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, H.E. Dr Sileshi Bekele, “the Nile is the umbilical cord that connects and nourishes us all”, he said. “So, [let us] affirm once more our commitment to one another and assert that cooperation on this great river, is not an option, but an existential imperative.”

It is hoped that the reception in London will pave the way for similar events in the future, so the anniversary can be observed on a rotational basis.

—ENDS—

Ambassador Hailemichael’s full remarks can be found on our website.

For further information, please contact the Press Office on 0207 838 3883 or press@ethioembassy.org.uk

 

Background

Nile Day is an annual event held to commemorate the establishment of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) on February 22, 1999. The day marked a major milestone in the history of Nile Cooperation. It was the very first time that the countries jointly agreed to establish an all-inclusive basin-wide institution, to provide a platform for consultation and coordination among themselves.

This year, Ethiopia hosted the regional event for the third time. Ethiopia previously hosted the event in 2008 and 2013.

Nile Day provides an opportunity to increase awareness of the importance of basin-wide Nile Cooperation in jointly taking good care of and utilizing the shared Nile Basin water and related resources for win-win benefits. This is in addition to enhancing awareness about the consequences of non-cooperation as well as the challenges of Nile cooperation. The day also serves to expose participants to the rich and varied cultures that exist within the Nile Basin.

Nile Day Celebrated in London

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