BY INNOCENT KIIZA
Kiiza is an accomplished environmental investigative journalist with a dedicated focus on matters pertaining to climate change, aquatic resources, and the preservation of wildlife.
In a resounding call for unity and a sustainable future, leaders from the Nile Basin states have gathered to address the intertwined destinies of the region. The Seventh Nile Basin Development Forum, a milestone event, witnessed the powerful convergence of leaders and stakeholders from ten nations. The outcome is not merely the end of a forum but the dawn of a new era where cooperation takes center stage.
First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Community Affairs, Rr. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, set the tone by emphasizing the significance of collective commitment. She urged leaders to shift their focus from challenges to opportunities, united by the goal of fostering a common benefit for all Nile Basin communities.
“As we wrap up this forum, let us not view today as an end, but as a beginning. A beginning of intensified collaborations, of implementing the strategies and solutions we’ve discussed, and of ensuring that every individual and community along the Nile benefits from our efforts,” she said.
Kadaga’s call to action is more than mere rhetoric; it’s a clarion call to confront the most pressing issue facing the Nile—the looming threats of pollution and climate change. With a sense of urgency, she encouraged member states to search for innovative solutions within their respective borders, fostering tangible outcomes that benefit the Nile and its communities.
“Climate change is affecting everything. As I speak, one of the biggest challenges faced by the Nile is water pollution. Let each of us carry the insights, connections, and commitments to make inclusive actions that yield tangible outcomes,” Kadaga emphasized.
Sam Cheptoris, Minister of Water and Environment for the Republic of Uganda, underscored the shared vision of sustainable socio-economic development. The cornerstone of this vision lies in the equitable use of Nile Basin water resources.
At the heart of the forum’s deliberations were discussions on sustainable development, climate change adaptation, and equitable resource management. These intricate topics were juxtaposed with the need for innovation, financing, and investment. In the midst of these discussions, leaders and stakeholders grappled with the complexities of these challenges while laying a robust foundation for future cooperation. The resolutions, partnerships, and policy recommendations that emerged are set to shape a cooperative and sustainable future for the Nile Basin.
The journey ahead is indeed riddled with challenges, but the forum highlighted the undeniable strength in collective thought and action. While the path to a harmonious and sustainable Nile Basin may be intricate, the commitment to overcoming these obstacles is marked by shared purpose and mutual respect.
As the forum came to a close, leaders reframed it not as an end but as a commencement—an intensified collaboration and the practical implementation of the strategies discussed. This call to action resonated through the closing remarks, urging stakeholders to carry the insights, connections, and commitments back to their respective nations and spheres of influence.
Gratitude echoed through the forum’s concluding moments as leaders recognized the power of participation, dedication, and commitment. It is clear: the Nile Basin nations are resolutely committed to working together for a brighter and shared future.
The Seventh Nile Basin Development Forum, which took place in Kampala, Uganda, from October 16th to 18th, 2023, brought together representatives from ten member countries. It saw participation from government officials, civil society organizations, development partners, the private sector, and The Nile Basin Initiative staff from Entebbe, Kigali, Addis Ababa, among others.
In conclusion, as the sun sets on this landmark forum, the Nile Basin nations stand united, firm in their commitment to creating a future where shared prosperity and cooperation reign supreme.