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  • Topic A: Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

TOPIC A Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam



  • Debbie Adewale
  • Ananya Vasagiri
Email Committee Chair

Announced in 2011, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was projected to be completed within only a few years. Nine years later, tensions between Ethiopia and Egypt have rapidly escalated as the dam continues construction. Ethiopia claims it is within its right to build the dam as it will be fully contained within the country’s borders and is necessary to fuel the electric needs of the growing country. On the other hand, Egypt argues that completion of the dam by the expected timeline will drastically limit the water flow to its fields in the areas surrounding the Nile, resulting in projected losses of approximately $1.8billion in annual economic production. In a region with a rapidly growing economy, this dam could be make or break for North Africa. With the tensions running high all it takes is one spark to ignite what could be the deadliest conflict of the last twenty years.

Blunt refusal by the Ethiopian government to halt construction or release an independent impact survey coupled with Egyptian government’s refusal to compromise on it’s demand have made hostilities solidify over the past decade. Despite the call for arbitration by other countries, little progress has been made. Surrounding countries are increasingly being pulled into the conflict and are expected to pick sides depending on their relations with the Nile water flow as well. As the dam slowly begins to approach completion, the UNSC is being called in to resolve the tensions before it escalates into military conflict. However, the conflict has not yet arrived and there is a chance the United Nations can step in and stop tensions from boiling over, but the end date of construction is rapidly approaching and if something is not done by then it will likely be too late. The UNSC will have to evaluate not only the questions of national sovereignty and the rights of each country to act on resources within its own borders, but also consider the economic and environmental impacts of the dam itself.