University Presidents Urge Downstream Countries to Support Ethiopia’s Green Dev’t Endeavors on Abbay River

University presidents have called on the downstream countries of Abbay River to support Ethiopia’s green development efforts and sustain water flow of the river.

Bahir Dar, Debre Markos and Gambella university presidents told the Ethiopian News Agency said that sticking to unreasonable issues would not help the downstream countries.

Bahir Dar University President doctor Frew Tegegn said that his university has conducted extensive studies and research on natural resources conservation activities on Abbay River and Tana Basin for over ten years.

Among the researches included the study on how to extend the lifespan of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) by three times by preventing sedimentation.

The downstream countries should therefore assist Ethiopia in its Green Legacy initiative, a massive tree seedlings planting program, in order to prevent the impacts of climate change, the president underscored.

Ethiopia’s green economy is also instrumental to ensuring a sustainable water flow in the lower riparian countries as the country is a major source of the Abbay, he added.

“When I look at it rationally, they (the downstream countries) should (even) contribute to the construction of the Renaissance Dam and the environmental initiatives because the project has huge benefits to the basin countries, and there are professional, ethical and international experiences which say countries have to pay for the services they get in the future.”

However, the president lamented that the countries are not helping the efforts of Ethiopia and its people. Instead, they create unnecessary disputes.

Debre Markos University President, doctor Tafere Melaku stated on his part that adequate research activities have not been carried out considering the size of the watershed on Abbay River.

According to him, although the downstream countries routinely undermine Ethiopia’s right to use and develop the river, their opposition has never been scientific. It is political, he noted.

“The countries, which are criticizing Ethiopia for using the river to generate power from the very outset, should think of working together to ensure a sustainable flow of Abbay water,” the president underscored.

As a result, natural resources conservation is not being carried out in Abbay basin and this will impact negatively on the flow of the river, Tafere elaborated.

“To tell the truth, they have never thought that the water of Abbay River could disappear if sufficient environmental protection work is not done on it. This is the biggest and basic problem. If they (all the counties in the basin) work together and cultivate the natural resources in the basin, it will be possible to have water that is not only adequate for the riparian countries but also for others.”

The president finally called on Ethiopian universities to jointly work researches on Abbay River basin with universities of the downstream and upstream countries.

Gambella University President, Ojulu Okock said environmental and green development endeavors of Ethiopia have to be supported by the downstream countries since the country is the major contributor to Abbay River.

“Ethiopia is a major water supplier for the Nile River. Therefore, supporting the country’s endeavors will ensure mutual benefits of all countries from the river.”

Source: Ethiopian News Agency