Event Postponed: Water, Politics and Security in the Nile basin: What’s next for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam negotiations?

Virtual Event

to be announced,


German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bonn Water Network

In April 2011, Ethiopia launched the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the largest upstream hydropower project on the Nile River. Over the last ten years, the assessment of the mega project’s social and environmental impacts on downstream Sudan and Egypt and on the two countries’ current water uses have been contentious issues in different rounds of trilateral negotiations. In spite of signing a Declaration of Principles on the GERD in March 2015, and the mediation of the United States and sponsorship of the African Union of several rounds of negotiations, no agreement on the filling and operation of the dam has been reached. The unilateral filling of the dam in the last two years has heightened tensions between the three countries leading Egypt and Sudan to call for two meetings of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the dispute given its broader implications on regional peace and stability.

The current deadlock raises many questions; why has reaching an agreement acceptable to the three parties on the filling and operation of the GERD been so difficult? How have domestic politics and water policies in the three countries, and broader regional conflicts, including the ongoing Ethiopia-Sudan border dispute affected the GERD negotiations? What were the limitations of the external mediation and involvement in the negotiations and what are the future prospects of third parties’ role in facilitating a way out of the current deadlock? How has the dispute over the GERD affected broader Nile cooperation? And what are the prospects of cooperation beyond the GERD?

This webinar will discuss these questions bringing together renowned experts in hydro-diplomacy in the Nile basin to present their insights on the decade-long dispute around the GERD and its link to historical hydro-political trajectories in the basin, and explore the common ground for resolving the dispute.


Welcome note




Ethiopia’s changing domestic and foreign policies: which implications for GERD negotiations?.


Disagreement on GERD: a Symptom or a Root Cause of the Nile Water Conflict?.

  • ElFatih Eltahir, Professor of Hydrology and Climate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


Managing uncertainties: GERD, regional security and Egypt’s development priorities.

  • Rawia Tawfik, Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University


Externalizing the GERD negotiations (2019-2021).


Beyond the GERD: The IUCN and promoting Nile cooperation.

  • Diego Jara, Legal officer, Environmental Law Centre, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)


Q&A, public discussion, moderated by

  • Ines Dombrowsky


Closing Remarks

  • Annabelle Houdret

The Bonn Water Network (http://www.bonnwaternetwork.de/) consists of ten renowned institutions with longstanding experience on water and related issues: the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC); Bonn University with its Institute of Geography (GIUB) holding the UNESCO Chair in Human Water Systems, the Center for Development Research (ZEF) and the Institute for Hygiene and Public Health (IHPH); the German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE); the IUCN Environmental Law Center; the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and three Bonn-based UN institutions: the United Nations Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Global Water Operators Partnerships Alliance (UN-Habitat/GWOPA).

Hinweis / Please note

Während unserer Veranstaltungen werden z.T. Foto- und/oder Filmaufnahmen gemacht, die für Zwecke der Veranstaltungsberichterstattung und allgemeinen Öffentlichkeitsarbeit in verschiedenen Medien veröffentlicht werden. Sie haben jederzeit das Recht, die Foto- oder Videograf*innen darauf hinzuweisen, dass Sie nicht aufgenommen werden möchten.

During our events photos and/or videos may be taken which may be published in various media for the purposes of documentation and PR activities. You have the right at any time to point out to the photographer or videographer that you do not want to be photographed or filmed.


Speaker of the network: Annabelle Houdret (DIE): Annabelle.houdret@idos-research.de
co-spokesperson: Luna Bharati (IWMI): L.bharati@CGIAR.ORG


The event has been postponed to early 2022. A new date will be announced soon on our website. Already registered participants will receive a new invitation.

We apologise for the inconvenience.