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Abstract - Rawia Tawfik

Ten Years of GERD Negotiations:  Lessons Learned and the Way Forward

The construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the largest hydropower project in an upstream Nile riparian state, has sparked much controversy. Some scholars considered it a step towards a more balanced relations and fair distribution of the benefits of the Nile waters, and a move towards greater cooperation in the basin that may extend beyond water resources. This optimism has gained momentum after signing the Declaration of Principles (DoP) on the GERD. The declaration stipulated that the three Eastern Nile countries, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan would cooperate to conduct the required studies to assess the project’s impacts on downstream countries and to use these studies to agree on the guidelines for the first filling and operation of the dam. Other scholars viewed the GERD as a serious threat to Egypt’s water security and an additional source of conflict over the Nile waters. The presentation assesses these viewpoints ten years after the launching of the project and the beginning of trilateral talks about it. It highlights the main lessons learned from the negotiation process and tries to uncover the reasons for failing to reach an agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD after several rounds of negotiations and multiple attempts at mediation between the three parties.