Advertisement

International Law and the Challenges of Transboundary Watercourses Governance: The Blue Nile Dam Controversy

  • Mahir Al BannaEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Science, Technology & Innovation book series (ASTI)

Abstract

Water—as an international public good—is at the core of sustainable development, and it is critical for socioeconomic development, healthy ecosystems, and for human survival itself. Many of river basin international organizations have been established by riparian States with the purpose of more effectively and sustainably govern their shared water resources. However, their achievements in ensuring sustainability in the use of water resources in their respective basins vary considerably: while some seem to be more successful in solving water-specific collective action problems and sustainability challenges, another fail. In international law, States enjoy sovereignty to exploit natural resources on their territory, insofar as such exploitation does not cause harm to neighboring States. The 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses entered into force on August 17, 2014. However, three of upstream and downstream African States: Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia have not yet joined it. Sudan and Egypt have been advantaged by the 1959 Treaty signed between the two countries, thus totally excluding the other Nile Basin States. The construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Blue Nile Dam) is now a national pride for Ethiopia which will generate power and constitute a better supply in electricity. If it is considered as a significant step in terms of sustainable development for the country and Africa as well, it is regarded in Egypt as an imminent danger to its Nile water. This study analysis the principles of international law related to transboundary watercourses governance in analyzing the 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (UNWC) (Part I), and in focusing on the impact of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in the mutual relations between the Nile river riparian States (Part II).

Keywords

International water law 1997 United Nations watercourses convention Sovereignty Grand Ethiopian renaissance dam Nile basin states Sustainable development Countermeasures Use of force 

References

Books

  1. Ali Taha FA (2005) The Nile river waters: the historical and legal context. Abdel Karim Mirghani Cultural Centre editionsGoogle Scholar
  2. Cassesse A (2001) International law, 1st edn. Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  3. Cullet P (2009) Water law, poverty, and development: water sector reforms in India. OUP, p. 18Google Scholar
  4. Majzoub T (1994) Les Fleuves du Moyen-Orient. Situation et prospective juridico-politique, Paris L’HarmattanGoogle Scholar
  5. Mc Caffery S (2001) The law of international watercourses, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, Oxford New York AucklandGoogle Scholar
  6. Mc Caffery S (2014) International water cooperation in the 21st century: recent developments in the law of international watercourses. Rev Eur 23(1)Google Scholar
  7. O’Connel DP (1970) International law, 2nd edn. LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Pacquerot, S.: Eau douce: la nécessaire refondation du droit international. Presse de l’Université de Québec, Sainte-Foy (Québec) (2005)Google Scholar
  9. Sohnle J (2006) Le droit international des ressources en eau douce: Solidarité contre Souveraineté Paris, La documentation française, p. 252Google Scholar

Articles

  1. Arsano Y (1990) Arab Alliance and Ethiopia’s reaction to the Red Sea question. In: Paper presented at peace and development in Ethiopia symposium, Organized by the main Department of Higher Education of EthiopiaGoogle Scholar
  2. Boutet A, Lasserre F (2002) Le droit international règlera-t-il les litiges du partage de l’eau? Le Bassin du Nil et quelques autres cas. Etudes Internationales 33(3):497–514, 501Google Scholar
  3. Dellapena JW (1996) River as legal structure: examples of the Jordan and the Nile. Nat Resour J 36Google Scholar
  4. Lazerwitz D (1993) The flow of international water law: the International Law Commission’s Law of non-navigational uses of international watercourses. India J Global Legal Stud. 1(1):15Google Scholar
  5. Le Floch G (2010) Le difficile partage des eaux du Nil, Annuaire Français du Droit International, vol 56, pp. 471–496, p. 495Google Scholar
  6. Mc Caffrey S (1996) The Harmon Doctrine one hundred years later: buries, not braised. Nat Resour J 36Google Scholar
  7. McCaffrey S (2003) Water disputes defined: characteristics and trends for resolving them, p. 58, no. 35. In: The International Bureau of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (ed.). Resolution of international water disputesGoogle Scholar
  8. McCaffrey S If water resects no political boundaries, does politics respect transboundary waters?. American Society of International Law, Annual Meeting, 9–12, 2008. Cambridge University Press, pp 353–355, p 355Google Scholar
  9. Mundy M (2015) International law approaches to Ethiopia water rights. Georgetown Environ Law Rev, online articlesGoogle Scholar
  10. Musa MA (2013) Ethiopia, in the UN watercourses convention in force. In: Loures FR (ed.), vol 192. RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  11. Mwangi SK (2010) Turbulence in the Nile: toward a consensual and sustainable allocation of the Nile River waters. Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings, The World Bank, pp 1–8Google Scholar
  12. Salman SM (2010a) Downstream riparians can also harm upstream riparians: the concept of foreclosure of future uses. Water Int 35(4):350–364, 352)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Sironneau J. Le Droit International de l’Eau, Existe-T-Il? Evolution Et Perspectives. Rapport du Ministère de l’Ecologie et du Développement Durable, Novembre 2002, pp 1–18, p 2Google Scholar
  14. Sironneau J (2012) Le Droit International de l’Eau: Une Aide Croissante au Partage de la Ressource? Géoéconomie 1(60):88–88, 82Google Scholar
  15. Utton A (1996) Which rule should prevail in international water disputes: the reasonableness or that of no harm? Nat Resour J 36Google Scholar
  16. Wiebe K (2001) The Nile river: potential conflict and cooperation in the face of water degradation. Nat Resour J (41)Google Scholar
  17. Yihdego Z. The Blue Nile Dam controversy in the eyes of international law, discussion paper, July 2003Google Scholar
  18. Yihdego Z (2012) The Gaza UN mission: implications for International Humanitarian Law and UN fact-finding. Melb J Int Law 13(1):185–188Google Scholar
  19. Zeitoun M. The relevance of international water law to later-developing upstream states. Water Security Research Centre, School of International Development, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK, 15 January 2015, pp 1–20, p 10Google Scholar

Thesis

  1. Achour H (2016) La Gouvernance du Bassin du Nil entre Confrontation et Coopération. Contribution à l’Etude du Droit International Fluvial, Thèse de Doctorat. Université de Nice/Cote d’AzurGoogle Scholar
  2. Boutet A (1999) La question de l’eau au Proche-Orient. Des politiques publiques pour la nécessite. Le cas de l’Egypte, Thèse de doctorat n Science politique, Université d’Aix-MarseilleGoogle Scholar
  3. Mondange A (2009) La gestion des ressources en eau douce en droit international. Droit international de l’eau et gestion des ressources transfrontalières, Mémoire de séminaire du droit international public, sous la direction de Moncef Kdir, Université de Lyon 2, IEP de Lyon, p 68Google Scholar

Reports

  1. Alebachew H. International legal perspective on the utilization of transboundry rivers: the case of the Ethiopian Renaissance (Nile) Dam. In: Paper presented to the 9th IUCN Colloquium, North West University of South Africa, Eastern Cape, July 2011Google Scholar
  2. Waterbury J. Agenda for the Nile basin co-operation final report of Woodrow Wilson School 402nd: conflict and co-operation in the Nile Valley, Princeton, Princeton University, May 1991Google Scholar
  3. Yaekob A (2003) Transboundary waters: prospects for peaceful co-existence in the horn of Africa. In: Olika T, Arsano Y, Aadland O (eds) Topics contemporary political development in Ethiopia. Proceedings of the launching workshop of the dept. of political science and international relations (DPSIR) and the Norweigian Institute for Human Rights (NIHR). Addis-Abeba UniversityGoogle Scholar

Websites

  1. Abbe Kajuju F (2010) Les Eaux du Nil, https://www.arib.info/LE_FLEUVE_NIL,_NOTRE_AVENIR.pdf, p 4
  2. Amin M. Sudan and Egypt clash over Ethiopia’s Nile Dam. African Rev. https://www.africareview.com/News/Sudan-and-egypt-clash-over-ethiopia-dam/-/979180/1874356/-/k2bqs7z/index.html, June 8, 2013
  3. Benaim D, Wahid M. Water wars on the Nile: how water scarcity and middle eastern influence are shaping Northeast Africa. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2018–08-09/water-war-nile, August 9, 2018
  4. Conniff, R. The vanishing Nile: a great river faces a multitude of threats. https://e360.yale.edu/features/vanishing-nile-a-great-river-faces-a-multitude-of-threats-egypt-dam, April 6, 2017
  5. Egypt’s options to counter Ethiopia’s Grand Dam run dry. https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/egypts-options-counter-ethiopias-grand-dam-run-dry, June 6, 2018
  6. Ethiopia dam is declaration of war: Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya. Ahram Online, 30 May, 2013. http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/72730/Egypt/Politics-/Ethiopia-dam-is-declaration-of-war-AlGamaa-AlIslam.aspx
  7. Salman S (2010b) The UN water convention’s entry into force impacts. https://www.alrakoba.net/news-action-show-id-251379.htm
  8. Veber M (2014) La Convention des Nations Unies sur le droit relatif aux utilisations des cours d’eau internationaux a des fins autres que la navigation: quels liens avec le droit de l’eau?. http://www.rampedre.net/implementation/themes/la-convention-des-nations-unies-sur-le-droit-relatif-aux-utilisations-des-cours-deau-internationaux-a-des-fins-autres-que-la-navigation-quels-liens-avec-le-droit-a-leau
  9. Wouters P (2002) The legal response to international water scarcity and water conflicts: the UN watercourses convention and beyond. The Water Page, incorporating The African page. http://www.africanwater.org/pat_wouters1.htm
  10. Yihdego Z. The Blue Nile Dam controversy in the eyes of international law, discussion paper, July 2003. http://www.globalwaterforum.org/2013/06/18/the-blue-nile-dam-controversy-in-the-eyes-of-international-law/

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.American University in the EmiratesDubaiUAE

Personalised recommendations