Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking Paper
Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking. Water Conflict in Africa
Conflicts between countries occur throughout the whole history of the humankind and are still the part of todays reality. The roots of such misunderstanding, according to Myers, are quite simple. When people, groups, or nations interact, their perceived needs and goals may conflict" (Myers, p. 499). There are also many other reasons for conflicts; however, the most important is that they occur when there is disagreement on the equality of justice, contributions, and the division of beneficial outcomes (Myers 2010).
It is possible to apply Myerss conflict resolution and peacemaking ideas to the discussed case dealing with water conflict in Africa. Here, the problem arose because of the unequal division of natural resources. Having analyzed the articles, we can conclude that the war for water as a strategic resource is gradually becoming a political reality. The states in the upper reaches of the second greatest river of the world started to challenge the dominant position of Egypt on the Nile. Taking advantage of the instability of the situation in Egypt, which for decades controlled the main waterway in Africa, six African states led by Ethiopia took the decision to implement irrigation and hydropower projects without the awareness of the Egyptian government. Egypt expressed readiness to defend its interests regarding the Nile by any necessary means including military ones. For this paper, we analyzed several articles; the main is the one published in Think African Press - East Africa: Can Pipeline Dreams Become Reality? (Raluca Besliu, 2013) and the supporting ones - Cairo Universitys report on Ethiopia's Great Renaissance Dam (2013), Sudan and Egypt clash over Ethiopia's Nile dam (2013). We also mentioned Egyptian Chronicles (2013) and General Books LLC (2010) Nile Basin: Nile, Blue Nile, Hydropolitics in the Nile Basin, Egyptian Public Works, Nile Basin Initiative, White Nile, Kagera River.
The problem of ensuring the country's waters of the Nile is one of the key issues of Egypts foreign policy at which the authorities look through the prism of national security. Meanwhile, Egypt is in the lower reaches of the Nile; therefore, it depends on the countries located in the upper reaches of Africa's largest river. A number of African countries want to revise the agreement between the Republic of the Sudan and the United Arab Republic for the full utilization of the Nile waters signed in Cairo, 8 November 1959. In their opinion, it is a legacy document, which is not taking into account the current economic and demographic realities of the "Dark Continent" giving preference rights to Cairo and Khartoum on the use of the resources of the African river. Meanwhile, other countries of the Nile Basin, especially Ethiopia, often declare that they do not accept a quota of produced water and require a review of the existing regional agreements, including the United Arab Republic and Sudan Agreement (With Annexes) For The Full Utilization of the Nile Waters of 1959 (International Water Law Project, n.d.).
However, most specialists are sure that the conflict over water within or between countries can be prevented though effective planning and management of rivers (Besliu Raluca, 2013). Here, it is necessary to remind what Myers writes about the equal status contact. All conflicts can be resolved if one applies four strategies of peacemaking that are contact, cooperation, communication, and conciliation (Myers, 2009, p. 504).
Thus, given the likely division of water resources of the Nile River, for Egypt, it is extremely important to find solutions to this problem in a diplomatic way. This will help avoid tensions with African neighbors and continue to rely on cooperation and participation in joint projects in the field of hydropower - an area in which Egypt accumulated great experience over the years (Egyptian Chronicles, 2007).
Here, peacemaking process may look like a diplomatic solution in case African countries will act in close contact, start wise cooperation strategy, communicate on the diplomatic level and conciliate their efforts on building hydro power station on the Nile. Myers underlines that contact leads to deeper relations between the opposing sides of the conflict (Myers, 2010, p.504). Cooperation, protecting and preserving common interests builds cohesiveness (Myers, 2010, p. 504).
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Currently, Cairo is trying to exert diplomatic pressure on Ethiopia, but without apparent success. Ethiopias great Renaissance Dam is a project that can dramatically improve the status of Ethiopia in the region. Addis Ababa considers hydropower a "gateway to the future" (Mohammed Amin, 2013). The station will allow Ethiopia not only to solve their problems with electrical power and develop industry and agriculture, but also sell electricity to the neighboring countries that are experiencing a chronic shortage of this resource. Hydro power station, from a political point of view, gives Ethiopia influence on the neighboring countries that have already dealt with Egypt and Sudan (Mohammed Amin, 2013).
Communication is effective with the help of a third party. In our case, the management of water resources and development, which is more focused on human needs and comprehensive, supports peacemaking in Africa today. Millennium Declaration of the United Nations calls on all Member States To stop the unsustainable exploitation of water resources by developing management strategies at the regional, national and local levels, which promote both equitable access and its adequate supplies (Books, LLC, General Books LLC, 2010, p.65). Improving the overall management of water resources in order to create a basis framework for a more effective policy requires that special attention is paid to the following four key issues:
1. Making arrangements and cooperation are essential to share water resources.
2. Awareness of the value of multilateral water is a key for the right policy.
3. The most important issue to deal with natural disasters is the system of measures.
4. Reasonable decisions depend on the availability of the necessary knowledge.
Improving of the efficiency of the economic management of water resources and an urgent nature of many of the problems associated with water resources implies the need to implement effective measures today.
The ways out of the conflict on the issue of water in the region are based on the above-mentioned issues. Now, there are already several projects on the solution of the water problem in the Middle East and North Africa. These include building of the "peace pipeline designed to transport water from one country to another. There were also projects of importing water or sea water distribution through a comprehensive distribution system, etc. However, at this point, all of these projects, for whatever reasons, failed (Besliu Raluca, 2013).
It is still early to say that the conflict sides in Africa came to conciliation; however, in general, we can say that Egypt and Sudan agreed to act together on the "water issue". In June 2004, the official Khartoum confirmed that there is a complete understanding of the issues in the division of water resources of the Nile River between Sudan and Egypt. These two countries declare their opposition to the interference of any state outside the Nile Basin in questions related to the use of the river as, in their opinion, it could lead to a reduction in the quota of both states. In turn, the Committee on Defense and National Security of the People's Assembly of Egypt called for active measures to thwart Israeli attempted "to gain access to the resources of the Nile after construction of the cascade of dams in Ethiopia and Uganda with the support of the United States investment and the World Bank" (Egyptian Chronicles, 2013). Everything above-mentioned means that the World Community will not let the African countries to solve the problem with water by means of war. The only right decision is to find a compromise and create an effective management system that helps to rationally allocate the river.
- Think Africa Press - All African Issues
- Egyptian Chronicles: Cairo University’s report on Ethiopia's Great Renaissance Dam
- International Water Law Project | United Arab Republic and Sudan Agreement (With Annexes) For The Full Utilization of the Nile Waters