Notice & Comment

Mohamed Helal on Negotiating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

My colleague Mohamed Helal, who is currently serving as a legal counsel with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has written a three-part, first-hand account over at Opinio Juris about the history and current negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. It’s a fascinating read.

Here’s the summary, from the first post:

For almost a decade, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan have been engaged in negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The principal purpose of these negotiations was to conclude a treaty to govern both the filling of the GERD reservoir and the operation of the dam. Although I’ve negotiated several treaties as a government lawyer and studied many more as an academic, the negotiations on the GERD were particularly educational and enriching. Never in my years of service had I witnessed a process where the technical and scientific aspects were as complex, or where the political stakes were higher, or where the heavy hand of history was as overbearing.

In this three-part post, I will share my thoughts about these negotiations. Part I provides an overview of the decade-long negotiations on the GERD. Part II focuses on the final rounds of negotiations that were attended by United States and the World Bank, and which led to the drafting, through U.S. facilitation and with technical input from the World Bank, of a final agreement on the GERD, which was initialed by Egypt, but that Ethiopia has rejected. Finally, Part III discusses the legal framework governing these talks with a special focus on the 2015 Agreement on Declaration of Principles. Needless to say, nothing in this post should be attributed to the government of Egypt. These are my personal reflections.     

Here are the links to all three posts: