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NBI: The forthcoming launch of the Nile Transboundary Environment Action Project

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NILE BASIN INITIATIVE
Press Release

KHARTOUM, May 23, 2004, Environmental degradation of land and water resources, and inadequate capacity to manage these resources in a sustainable manner have been recognized as threats to the sustainable development of the Nile River Basin States for many years. The Nile River Basin States have acknowledged that they must work together and take concrete steps to address these environmental challenges and harness the enormous potential of the Nile in order to improve the livelihoods of the peoples within the region.

From May 25-29, the 9 countries that share the River Nile are meeting in Khartoum, Sudan to launch the Nile Transboundary Environment Action Project. The 5-year Project will be officially launched on May, 29, 2004 by the President of the Republic of Sudan, General Omar El-Bashir.

The Nile Transboundary Environment Action Project became operational in October 2003. It is hosted by Sudan and located in Khartoum. This Project is the first of 8 Basin-wide projects to be implemented under the Shared Vision Program of the Nile Basin Initiative.

The objective of this project is to provide a strategic environmental framework for the management of the transboundary waters and environmental challenges in the Nile River Basin. It is regional in scope and will foster regional cooperation and integration.

"More effective cooperation and coordination between the Nile Basin states is needed for the Nile Basin’s environment to be conserved in ways that help improve the quality of life of the communities. This Project provides an opportunity for the Nile Basin countries to work together to manage the environment in a sustainable manner", according to the Executive Director of the Nile Basin Initiative, Mr. Meraji Msuya.

The Nile Transboundary Environment Action Project is estimated to cost 39 million US dollars and is funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) through the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The Project consists of five major components:

- i) Institutional strengthening to Facilitate Regional Cooperation
- ii) Community-Level Land, Forest and Water Conservation
- iii) Environmental Education and Awareness
- iv) Wetlands and Biodiversity Conservation
- v) Water Quality Monitoring Basin-Wide.
- vi) Monitoring and Evaluation

As part of the Project, a national Nile Transboundary Microgrant program will also be established in each participating country to provide alternative livelihoods to communities who may be obliged to overexploit natural resources such as water, land and forests. The Microgrants Program will support specific conservation activities including development and use of alternative energy and construction material, water weed control, agroforestry demonstration plots, land management and provision of extension services to promote agricultural practices leading to higher soil fertility and environmentally sustainable farming demonstration sites.

The Nile is home to an estimated 160 million people. More than 300 million people live in the 10 countries that share and depend on the Nile waters. All of these people rely to a greater extent on the river for their basic needs. The Nile River is shared by 10 countries: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) is a regional partnership initiated by the Nile countries in 1999 to realize a shared vision "to achieve sustainable socio-economic development through the equitable utilization of, and benefit from, the common Nile Basin water resources". The Nile countries are translating this vision into concrete investments and action on the ground that will build confidence and capacity across the basin. This is being done through the implementation of two complementary programs namely: the Shared Vision Program and Subsidiary Action Programs.

For more information please contact the Executive Director, Nile Basin Initiative Secretariat, Entebbe, Uganda. Tel. No. (256-41) 321329/321424 or email mmsuya@nilesec.org

For more information on the Nile Basin Initiative, please visit www.nilebasin.org

For more information on the Transboundary Environmental Action Project, please visit www.nileteap.org

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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