The FRIEND/Nile project is a member of the Global FRIEND family. The FRIEND/Nile is a cooperative research project in the field of water resources management in the Nile basin given the complex hydro-politics and conflict situation. It was initiated by UNESCO in March 1996. The project aims at creating a better understanding and quantification of the river Nile system to enhance the management of the Nile water resources. This is also done to improve the planning of water resources projects in the Nile Basin countries.
The FRIEND (Flow Regimes from International and Experimental Network Data) Project was first established by UNESCO as part of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP). In general, the Global FRIEND project aims at creating the necessary and sufficient knowledge. This is in addition to understanding the flow regimes on various scales based on regional data of experimental basins and hydrological networks. Currently, there are ten FRIEND Projects covering the world.
Within the framework of the Flanders-UNESCO Science Fund-In-Trust cooperation, the Flemish Government of Belgium supported the FRIEND/Nile project. They supported the project with an amount of US$ 929,700 for the first phase (2001-2006) and US$ 958,345 for the second phase (2006-2011). The second phase of the project has been officially launched in August 2006.
Objectives of the project
The FRIEND/Nile aims at enhancing an integrated management of the water resources of the Nile and its tributaries through enhanced cooperation amongst the Nile countries. This will ultimately contribute to meet the basic human needs of safe water supply. It will also help in promoting sustainable development of the region.
- To enhance the capacity building and collaboration between the water experts of the Nile basin countries
- To enhance research cooperation among Nile Basin countries through hydrological research projects on selected topics, conducted by researchers from all participating countries
- To increase the number of trained personnel in the region with the view to improve the sustainability of the present initiative and to reduce, in the longer term, the dependence on external support agencies
- To enhance the networking between training institutions in the countries of the region
- To enahance the linkage with similar institutions worldwide
Six Nile basin countries showed interest and willingness to participate in the project. These countries are:
Recently, however, the project has been opened to all interested other Nile basin countries. The Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI) of Egypt is the overall coordinator of the project.
The Nile river has been providing life to the vast Nile basin for thousands of years. It is notable among the largest rivers of the world with the astounding civilization along its banks for more than 7000 years. The catchment area of the Nile basin is about 3,349,000 squared kilometers, which approximately represents one tenth of the area of Africa. From Ruvyironza River in Burundi to the Mediterranean Sea, the length of the Nile is 6671 km.
The catchment of the river Nile embraces parts of many countries which are:
- R.D. Congo
While making up 10% of the land mass of Africa, these 10 countries contain 40% of the African population. There are 263 million inhabitants (in 1993), half of which are estimated to live in the Nile Basin. The population density in the well-irrigated parts of the basin is more than 386 per km2.
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