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Petition Regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)

WHEREAS, the efforts of the United States and the World Bank to resolve the dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia are well recognized; and

WHEREAS, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is a massive hydroelectric power plant being constructed on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia. In mid-January, 2020, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan reached a preliminary agreement aimed at clearing the way for the operation of the $5 billion project on the Blue Nile. That was after years of wrangling that saw Egypt threaten military action against the dam; and

WHEREAS, the dam - a huge project on one of the River Nile's main tributaries, the Blue Nile in Ethiopia - is designed to generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity. Its reservoir can hold more than 70 billion cubic meters of water. That's nearly equal to half of the Nile's annual flow. Filling the immense reservoir will diminish the flow of the Nile. Currently, more than 80% of the water reaching Egypt comes from the Blue Nile; and

WHEREAS, the fate of several Nile Water Treaties — negotiated in the 20th Century when several of the parties were still under British rule – has been a major sticking point in negotiations. Upstream states believe a new agreement must replace the Treaties, whereas Egypt insists that any agreement must recognize the treaties and that they continue to be binding; and

WHEREAS, a robust framework was laid out under the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) in 1999 by ten countries and the World Bank which subsequently refused to fund the current project (Liersch, Koch and Hattermann, 2017), but appears now to play a "neutral" observer/mediator role; and

WHEREAS, Ethiopia and four other upstream riparian States (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania) signed the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA), which favored the equitable and fair use of the waters of the Nile River, and was ratified by the Ethiopian Parliament on June 13, 2013; and

WHEREAS, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia had agreed on a technical team studying the impact of filling the GERD, but Egypt continues to backtrack on the agreements and refuses to negotiate in good faith; and

WHEREAS, at a time when the transition in Ethiopia is experiencing considerable challenges, Egypt has seized the opportunity to advance its own interest by undermining the NBI framework and the ongoing change in Ethiopia, as was evidenced by the official pronouncements of successive Egyptian politicians to resort to military action against Ethiopia and support subversive activities; and

WHEREAS, it is well recognized that Egypt's objective of thwarting the filling of the GERD within the appropriate time would cause extreme economic hardship on Ethiopia due to escalating costs and lost opportunities; and

WHEREAS, the United States has been participating in these negotiations in the role of a neutral facilitator but questions have been raised by Ethiopia about that neutrality; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP convey to the US Department of State the importance of not only being a neutral facilitator but also being seen as truly neutral by parties in order to be effective in achieving a 21st century solution.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP urges a fair and balanced solution be formulated and implemented on the basis of a framework that guarantees and respects the sovereignty of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Egypt over the sources of the Blue Nile and the operating of the dam.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls on the World Bank to engage in a solutions process as a neutral facilitator and reengage in affirmative consideration of financing the GERD project.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP support a fair and balanced solution based on a framework that guarantees and respects the sovereignty of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania over the sources of the Blue Nile and the operation of the dam.