Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Sudan Requests Four-party Mediation of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

 Aljazeera published on 15 March 2021 an article titled "Sudan Formally Requests Four-Party Mediation in GERD Row."

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has formally requested that the UN, EU, and US join the AU in mediation of the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile near the Sudanese border.  Sudan says it fears the GERD will increase the risk of flooding in Sudan and will affect the operation of its dams on the Blue Nile--Roseires and Sennar--and possibly the Meroe further downstream on the main Nile.  

Sudanese concerns about the GERD's impact on flooding are somewhat perplexing in that the GERD has the potential to regulate frequent flooding in Sudan caused by the Blue Nile during the heavy rains.  When there was no GERD, as was the case for thousands of years, Sudan was periodically impacted by flooding of the Blue Nile with no ability in Ethiopia to help control it.  While there certainly needs to be an understanding between Sudan and Ethiopia on release of water from the GERD during strong rainy periods, the GERD  should be seen as a positive development for controlling flooding in Sudan.  The Carnegie Middle East Center published in February 2021 a useful analysis titled "The Dam that Broke Open an Ethiopia-Egypt Dispute" by Sherif Mohyeldeen that makes this point.  


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