Studies call for climate collaboration to end GERD dam dispute

By Laureen Fagan - 3 February 2023 at 9:45 pm
Studies call for climate collaboration to end GERD dam dispute

Africa’s largest hydropower dam, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, is the focal point of still-unresolved tensions between Ethiopia, neighboring Sudan and downstream Egypt because of impacts to Nile River water resources. Most recently, talks in Egypt included the GERD diplomatic impasse during a visit from Tony Blinken, the United States Secretary of State.

“We’re committed to working toward a settlement that advances the interests of all parties, that supports the water security, the economic development, and the livelihood of Egyptians, and also their neighbors in Sudan and in Ethiopia,” said Blinken on Monday. “Like all difficult discussions, that process is best served by a spirit of flexibility and compromise from all sides, but we fully recognize and appreciate the quite literally existential issues – interests that Egypt has in water.”

Now there’s a new proposal from researchers at University of Manchester who used river-system and economy modelling simulators, along with artificial intelligence techniques, to demonstrate how all parties could benefit from compromise and a cooperative approach.

The new approach allows for adaptive agreements, such as help for Egypt during drought seasons, that would address both the current political tensions and future climate impacts. The work was published recently in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“Nile negotiations have aimed to produce static long-term agreements, but there is high uncertainty on the medium and long-term impacts of climate change on the basin’s rainfall, streamflow, temperature, and socio-economic systems,” explains paper co-author Dr. Mohammed Basheer.

Previous studies also have suggested “win-win” collaborations, including models that call for other renewable energy sources (wind and solar) to be deployed alongside the GERD dam hydropower project.

Image: University of Manchester


Laureen Fagan

Laureen Fagan

Laureen is the editor of Africa Times

Laureen is a freelance journalist creating high-quality, informed content on international affairs, politics and technology. She has worked both in and out of newsrooms since 2000. She is a former paramedic with significant experience in community resilience and nonprofit community development initiatives, and maintains "a passion for action" on sustainability and climate change. She also is trained in conflict resolution and diversity, and has special interests in science and medical reporting, and culture and religion issues. Laureen received her MSJ from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in the United States, and completed additional graduate study in theology at University of Notre Dame. Follow Laureen on Mastodon at

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