Donor Community Supports NBI
Addis Ababa, June 28(ENA)-- The three-day meeting of the International Consortium for Cooperation on the Nile
(ICCON) held in Geneva, Switzerland was concluded with development partners expressing initial financial support
of at least 140 Million US dollars to finance the full program of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI).
A joint press release by the NBI and the World Bank sent to ENA from Geneva upon the conclusion of the meeting
on Thursday said the program includes implementation of a basin-wide program of research, capacity building and
technical assistance (the shared vision program), as well as the detailed preparation of cooperative, socially and
environmentally sustainable sub-basin investments programs in the Eastern Nile and the Equatorial Lakes region.
The release said the first phase of this investment program was anticipated to amount to about three billion US
dollars, adding a Trust Fund was to be established by the World Bank.
The NBI countries committed continued support to their share of the program, it said, adding the donor partners
are committed to work with the Nile states to secure the financing for the first phase - as well as for future
phases of investment.
It said strong support was also expressed to underwrite the first phase of the three billion US dollars investment
program in the sub-basins, once the projects are ready for funding.
Following is the full text contained in the joint NBI - World Bank press release.
The International Consortium for Cooperation on the Nile (ICCON) held its first meeting June 26-28,2001 in
Geneva, bringing together the international donor community and NGOs in support of the Nile Basin initiative - a
cooperative program to address poverty, environmental degradation and instability in the Nile Basin. The
consortium is led by the Nile Council of Ministers which includes the Ministers of Water Affairs of all ten countries
that are bound together by the River Nile: Burundi, D.R. Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan,
Tanzania and Uganda. The meeting was also attended by some ministers of Finance and Planning. The ICCON is a
forum for dialogue on the options and opportunities for management and development of the Nile Basin.
The ICCON was launched by the chairman of the Nile Council of Ministers on June 26 with an invited keynote
address by James D. Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, and statements of support from the UNDP, CIDA,
EU, the Global Environment Facility and a coalition of interested NGOs. Delegates were welcomed to the meeting
by children of the Nile Basin. Through an uplifting presentation of poems, short stories and reflections, the children
called on participants to ensure that the resources of the Nile were used to improve their lives and those of future
generations. Mr. Wolfensohn echoed the theme of the children, and remarked that this meeting was a moment to
be recorded in the history of the Nile. These ideas underlay the meeting, which celebrated the progress that the
ten countries had made in successfully launching a new, unprecedented era of cooperation in the Basin.
June 27 and 28 marked the launch of the ICCON Consultative Group (ICCON-CG), a group of interested donors
within the framework of the ICCON, organized by the World Bank at the request of the Nile Council of Ministers.
The ICCON-CG was chaired by the World Bank's Vice-President for Africa, Mr. Callisto Madavo and Vice President
for the Middle East and North Africa, Mr. Jean-Louis Sarbib. The Ministers presented their Strategic Action
Program to the CG, a program that includes both basin-wide projects designed to lay the foundation for
cooperative action, and two sub-basin programs of investments that will promote growth and environmental
management for the benefit of all the people of the Basin.
Delegates expressed their enthusiasm for the Nile Basin Initiative. They also welcomed the leadership shown by
the Nile Council of Ministers in tackling difficult issues of poverty reduction, environmental conservation and peace
making, and for the vision they have put forward for managing and developing their shared river basin together.
Delegates welcomed the contribution of NGOs and encouraged the Nile countries to continue in close cooperation
with civil society and the private sector as the initiative moves forward, forming a community of the peoples of
the Nile. The meeting hailed the NBI as a new development paradigm of regional cooperation that could help
address many of the challenges of the basin. While concerns were expressed over instability in the region, it was
hoped that this initiative might serve as an example of how international waters can become catalysts for
cooperation, development and stability.
The newly-formed Consultative Group expressed strong support for the initiatives goals, and commitment to
working with the Nile states in the years to come. The group indicated its support to move forward the full
program of the Nile Basin initiative presented to ICCON. The Program includes implementation of a basin-wide
program of research, capacity building and technical assistances (the shared vision program), as well as the
detailed preparation of cooperative, socially and environmentally sustainable sub-basin investments programs in
the Eastern Nile and the Equatorial Lakes Region. The first phase of this investment program is anticipated to
amount to about 3 billion USD. The countries committed continued support to their share of the program. The
development partners expressed initial financial support of at least 140 million USD to finance the full program. A
trust fund is to be established by the World Bank for this purpose. Strong support was also expressed to
underwrite the first phase of the 3 billion USD investment program in the sub-basins, once the projects are ready
for funding. The donor partners are committed to work with the Nile states to secure the financing for this phase
- as well as for future phases of investment.
The successful launch of ICCON marks a new partnership of the Nile Basin states and the international
community, working together to improve the lives of the people of the Nile Basin and promote peace.