June 27th, 2020
Pretoria, South Africa
We, Ethiopians and people of Ethiopian origin based in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Eswatini and Lesotho having joined the meeting convened on the 27th of June, 2020,
Expressing our deep appreciation to the Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in Pretoria and the Ethiopian Professional and Academicians Association in
Southern Africa for successfully organizing this regional conference titled “Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam: Facts, Myths and Misinformation”
Thoroughly deliberating on three areas i.e. GERD as a National and Regional Treasure, the Nile River Basin and the Imperative for Sustainable Cooperation and Ethiopian Water Resources and International Relations as presented by government officials and scholars in the field,
Appreciating the following;
a) The fact that Blue Nile accounts for 70% of Ethiopia’s annual surface water, covers one-third of Ethiopia’s territory, caters for more than 40% of Ethiopia’s population, accounts for two-third of Ethiopia’s hydroelectric power potential, Ethiopia. is the source of 86% of the water and rich soil that cascades to Sudan and Egypt and that more than 60% of the 110 million Ethiopian population is living without access to modern energy sources, accompanied by rapidly increasing 19% energy demand every year;
b) The fact that accessing and utilizing the Nile water resources is not a matter of choice but is a matter of existential priority, as Ethiopia aspires to meet its current and future generations’ demands for energy, water and food security needs and to lift millions out of extreme poverty;
c) The fact that the GERD is a national hydropower project built solely, through the direct contributions of all Ethiopians, and without external assistance, since Egypt persistently blocked international financial institutions from supporting the construction of the dam, and Ethiopians who mobilized themselves across the country to support the construction of the project will truly guard and continue to support holistically the project including through scientific research until its completion, and beyond;
d) Our strong belief is that the Nile – with the right cooperation of all the riparian countries has the potential to contribute to lift the population of the basin countries out of poverty;
e) And commending the undertakings of the Ethiopian government in the diplomatic avenues to defend the legitimate rights of the Ethiopian people to utilize our natural resources;
f) Furthermore we commend the efforts of the Ethiopian government exerted to ensure that the construction of the GERD is carried out based on the internationally recognized principles of “equitable and rational utilization” and “not causing significant harm” and within the spirit of cooperation which are also provided for in the Declaration of Principles on the GERD signed between the governments of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt in Khartoum on 23rdof March 2015.
g) Appreciating the recognition by many Africans that, Egypt has been creating unnecessary obstructions throughout the negotiations to maintain its unfair privileges on the Nile; based on the old hegemonic notion of historic rights, current use, and colonial treaties to which Ethiopia is not a party.
h) Taking into account the fact that the Turkey used to pay 50,000 gold coins to Ethiopia for the use of the Nile River water when it was ruling Egypt as well as the annual royalty payment of US$50 million by South Africa to Lesotho; Egypt should have provided the leading support of the construction of the GERD as a non-consumptive mega dam that can also provide not only electricity but also clean water by agreeing on fair and balanced mutually beneficial sharing from the reservoir by applying quality research and science rather than divisive politics to complete the GERD with knowledge on evaporation, irrigation, droughts, floods and all climate risks, hazards and any challenges with full collaboration.
Having noticed the above facts, the Participants of the Conference have resolved the following:
- We call upon all Ethiopians and Ethiopians by birth in all walks of life to closely follow the GERD negotiation process and stand united and firm more than ever, as. Ethiopians shall repeat the second Adwa victory by building the GERD by their own resources and mobilizing all talents, while fiercely combating against unnecessary diplomatic and political escalations emanating based on colonial legacies.
- We strongly support Ethiopia’s position to start filling the GERD in line with the project schedule and in accordance with the provisions of the Declaration of Principles on the GERD.
- We also strongly request all Nile Basin Initiative Countries to finalize the Nile Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement that embrace fair, equitable and cooperative utilization of water resources with no significant harm to parties.
- We call upon the people of Egypt to play a constructive and an African role in advising their governments to recognize the fact that as the major source of the water and soil that flows to Egypt, the full rights of Ethiopia should be recognized as well as standing for continental and international principles of cooperation and refrain from dwelling with/on unjust colonial treaties.
- We strongly condemn any efforts of diplomatic and political escalations and misinformation aimed (at forcing Ethiopia) to kneel down under the hidden agenda of Egypt that totally ignores the spirit of African Union and its subsidiary arrangements.
- We strongly call upon the government of Egypt to stop immediately nourishing colonial legacies and refrain from demanding to create a hidden colony by introducing a no-objection scheme in Ethiopia’s future development endeavours.
- We warmly welcome the participation of the Government of the Republic of South Africa, the Current Chair of the Africa Union, as an observer, in the on-going negotiations and we express our conviction that South Africa understands the legitimate rights of Ethiopia to use its own resources and not to succumb to colonial agreements that Ethiopia has not been a party to.
- We call upon the continental and international community and respective organs (Africa Union, United Nations, United States of America, European Union, the Arab league, Russia, and all the Global South etc.) to exert pressure on the government of Egypt to stop escalation and misinformation and come back to trilateral negotiations and African platforms for sustainable and trust-based solutions.
- We strongly oppose any role of observers or countries that aim to undermine the sovereignty of Ethiopia and attempt(s) to grant Nile waters hegemony to Egypt.
- Recalling the crucial role that Ethiopia played in the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggles of African brothers and sisters, we express our firm conviction that Africa and the rest of the world will stand by Ethiopia at the time we are relentlessly defending our sovereign right to use our own natural resource and thereby address the legitimate demands of our people to development and appreciating GERD is a role model towards African capabilities.
Done in Pretoria, on the 27th of June 2020