BY ALEX BALUKU
The Government of Uganda, in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Environment, the Nile Basin Initiative, and Nile Basin Member States, proudly announces the 7th Nile Basin Development Forum (NBDF), slated to be held in Kampala from October 16th to 18th, 2023.
This flagship event aims to foster dialogue and cooperation among Nile Basin countries to accelerate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the face of a changing climate.
The Nile Basin Development Forum (NBDF) is a high-level regional event that occurs every three years, organized by the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) in partnership with its Member States and development partners.
The forum serves as a platform for professionals and stakeholders in trans-boundary water resources management and development to share knowledge, best practices, and build partnerships. With six successful editions behind it, the NBDF has become a crucial event on the regional calendar.
The theme of the 7th NBDF is “Deepening Nile Cooperation: Accelerating the Achievement of SDGs in a Changing Climate.” This theme underscores the pressing need to enhance cooperation between Nile Basin Member States, particularly in the face of growing climate change impacts on water resources in the region.
The Nile Basin region has been experiencing the increasing effects of climate change, affecting its water resources, ecosystems, and communities. By strengthening cooperation and fostering a deeper understanding of these challenges, the 7th NBDF aims to catalyze action to build resilience and sustainable management of the shared Nile Basin water resources.
The forum will bring together a diverse range of stakeholders, including ministers responsible for water and foreign affairs, senior government officials, parliamentarians, water resource managers, environmentalists, economists, development planners, academics, researchers, media practitioners, civil society organizations, international NGOs, UN agencies, and private sector representatives.
The inclusivity of the event ensures a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to tackling the region’s water resource and climate challenges.
Why NBDF Matters
The NBDF plays a vital role in fostering cooperation and creating informed communities of people dedicated to promoting Nile cooperation as the only means to achieve the sustainable management and development of shared Nile Basin water resources.
Since its inception in 2006, the NBDF has contributed significantly to building common understanding among stakeholders, addressing shared challenges, and formulating solutions for sustainable development.
The 7th Nile Basin Development Forum in 2023 comes at a crucial juncture when global leaders and policymakers have recently reevaluated their approaches and united for urgent action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Despite the ambitious nature of the SDGs, progress has been slow, with only 15 percent of the goals achieved. Various factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, global warming, and geopolitical conflicts, have contributed to this sluggish advancement.
Recently, on 19th September 2023 in New York, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Summit highlighted the need for accelerated progress towards the 2030 deadline and a reevaluation of strategies to overcome challenges. Leaders acknowledged that stagnation was evident even before the pandemic, emphasizing the necessity for stronger commitment from governments worldwide.
Youth voices have demanded greater inclusion in decision-making processes related to the SDGs. Young people, representing half of the global population, play a crucial role in shaping policies and decisions aimed at addressing these global goals.
Despite the slow progress, there have been significant positive impacts since the introduction of the SDGs, such as increased access to electricity, reductions in child mortality rates, advancements in HIV treatment, and improved Internet access.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed optimism regarding the adoption of a political declaration aimed at expediting SDG progress over the next seven years. The declaration includes commitments like increased financing for developing countries and a significant SDG stimulus.
The Secretary-General called for immediate global action on the SDGs. He outlined seven key areas of focus to expedite progress, emphasizing the urgency of translating the political declaration’s commitments into tangible actions.
The UN General Assembly also witnessed a resounding call for action on climate change. With climate change’s effects already impacting the Nile Basin region, the focus on climate change and its impact on water resources is timely.
Additionally, the 28th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 28) is set to take place from November 30 to December 12, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This international conference will bring together signatory countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as various climate actors.
The Emirati presidency of COP 28 has expressed its commitment to fostering solidarity between the countries of the North and the South and promoting the energy transition. This conference presents an opportunity for global leaders to unite and address the pressing issues related to climate change, which is intrinsically linked to the challenges faced by the Nile Basin region.
The 7th Nile Basin Development Forum in 2023 is poised to be a critical event for fostering cooperation, knowledge sharing, and partnership building among Nile Basin Member States.
Against the backdrop of climate change and the need for accelerated progress on the SDGs, this forum takes on even greater significance.
As global leaders and stakeholders come together to address climate change and sustainable development, the Nile Basin region is taking proactive steps to build resilience and ensure the sustainable management of its vital water resources.
The Nile Basin Initiative’s motto, “One River, One People, One Vision,” encapsulates the spirit of cooperation that will drive these efforts forward.