Notes to broadcasters on the Nile Bassin Initiative:

    | June 7, 2010

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    The Nile Basin Initiative was formally launched in February 1999. It aims to ensure fair access to Nile waters for all Nile Basin countries. The longer-term aim is to manage the waters sustainably, and make sure that people living in the Basin benefit, in terms of prosperity, security, and peace.

    The initiative expresses a shared vision, and a set of agreed policy guidelines for the countries involved.

    More information about the initiative, and the agreement that was recently signed, can be found at http://www.nilebasin.org.
    Information about the Nile, and on developments planned in the region can be found at http://www.nilebasindiscourse.org/index_EN.php and http://www.internationalrivers.org/en/africa/nile-basin.

    Use of river waters can be a controversial topic. Proposed developments like dams promise electricity but can cause social and environmental problems. With increased populations, fears are already being raised about overexploitation of water resources, including the Nile. Effective management and sustainable use of water sources is crucial to livelihoods. Farm Radio Weekly recently carried a story on this theme: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/03/23/2-southern-africa-better-management-of-water-in-agriculture-needed-relief-web-allafricacom-lusaka-times-un-food-and-agriculture-organization-world-water-development-report/.

    Broadcasters, particularly in Nile Basin countries, can check local press for updates on this story. Discussions may continue for some time.

    You could add to the debate by interviewing farmers or people from communities who live near, or depend on, the river Nile (or large water sources such as lakes).

    -Are you aware of the current agreement on water use? Are you aware of the recently signed document which aims to change this?
    -What are your suggestions for sharing the Nile waters fairly between all nine countries?
    -Will farmers’ lives be affected if a new agreement is signed?
    -Does your community talk about how difficult it is to get enough water for your needs?
    -Do you think it is important for your government to ensure that farmers receive better access to Nile waters?