In March, the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement garnered enough national signatures to allow it to be presented to national parliaments for ratification. In an email interview, Aaron Wolf, a professor at Oregon State University specializing in water resources policy and conflict resolution, discussed the political maneuvering over water rights in the Nile Basin.
WPR: What is the significance of the finalization of the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement?
Aaron Wolf: I'm not sure "finalization" is the right word. It seems clear that discussions over management of the Nile will continue for some time before anything is really finalized. In legal terms, when six countries ratify the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA), it "enters into force and effect." With Burundi becoming the sixth signatory earlier this year, ratification seems probable. Egypt and Sudan have both vehemently opposed the agreement without some recognition of their historic rights, something the upstream countries have been loath to do. With both countries in political turmoil, however, and a new South Sudan set to come into being as the 11th Nile riparian state, the downstream countries are poorly positioned to resist these developments.