recentiy, there has been greater talk of cooperation in the region than in many years. The Nile Basin Initiative has proposed a new treaty to reallocate water rights, but Egypt refuses to agree to it because it sees only losses. Although the immediate benefits for Egypt are unclear, there is much to gain in the long-term from cooperation "beyond the river." For Egypt, this new treaty could bring conflict alleviation and insurance against future conflicts like the "water wars." Also, as the rest of the basin begins to develop, Egypt will have new markets for its goods, which could boost its economy; in Sudan and Ethiopia combined there is a potential market of over 100 million people. Some of this benefit has already been reahzed, as trade between Egypt and Ethiopia has already seen a 50 percent increase as a resxilt of the Nile dialogue from 2003-2007. Furthermore, transitioning to higher-value, less waterintensive crops could offset some of Egypt's water loss. Currendy, 88 percent of Egypt's water is consumed by agriculture, and this is because Egypt's agriculture is entirely dependent on irrigated land. However, the role of agriculture in the economy has greatiy declined and agriculture now only accounts for approximately 13.9 percent of GDP. If Egypt could economize its water use through improved agricultural practices, its economy would benefit and there would be room for upstream development. Some initial costs to cooperation could reap great long-term benefits for the entire basin. Perhaps just as the benefits of cooperation are underestimated, the costs of cooperation are overestimated. The Blue Nile, which is the main tributary that directly provides Egypt's water flows, passes through Ethiopia. Action in Ethiopia that affects the flow of the river will be felt downstream, but this action would have to be very significant for the flow of tie river to be dangerously altered. The Millennium dams that Ethiopia has recently proposed could be enough to have a serious and adverse affect downstream, but if there are rules in place for filling and operation, and if Ethiopia could be hmited to the construction of only two dams rather than three, the effect would be negligible. Also, dams provide an opportunity to improve the reliability of river flow, and upstream storage could prove invaluable in extreme drought periods. On top of that, there is the potential for power sharing between the two countries with the excess electricity the dam would generate. If Egypt increased its flexibility in these negotiations, a more creative agreement could be reached. It would mean incurring some short-run costs, but in the long-run the benefits could outweigh them. The upstream countries will not wait forever for Egypt to cooperate, and as their needs increase so no doubt will their impatience. Ethiopia has threatened to go ahead with construction of the dam with or without Egyptian consent. In its decision-making, it is important that Egypt weigh the tradeoffs and the benefits of cooperation, and thinks in the long-term as well as the short-term. If a successful compromise is reached, this could set a precedent for effective water management in international rivers all over the world. The fate of this regional river, then, has global implications, of which all parties must be mindful. 19
An Olympic Opportunity
staff writer „ TIÁNHAO HE
n June 1996, the Istanbul Declaration on Human Setdements recognized that the challenges of urban development around the world had reached "crisis proportions." Growth in developing coimtries and the concomitant wave of urbanization have resulted in asymmetrical distributions of economic and social outcomes. Though aggregate trends reflect upward macroeconomic trajectories in many parts of the developing world, disaggregated data reveal considerable intra-national and intra-city nuances in living conditions. Specifically, urbanization provides a...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document