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[PANEL] 0602 DEVELOPING WATERS, CRAFTING THE STATE, AND REMAKING SOCIETY IN ETHIOPIA
Emanuele FANTINI, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Netherlands
Herman SMIT, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Netherlands
TESFAYE Tafesse; Abeer R.Y. ABAZEED; YIRGALEM Haile; Federica SULAS; Kristin FEDELER;
ENDALCACHEW Bayeh; ATAKILTE Beyene; MARKOSE Chekol Zewdie; Steven VAN PASSEL; GASHAW Ayferam
Water development, both through large scale projects (e.g. large scale irrigation/hydropower development) and micro-scale projects (e.g. construction of terraces for soil conservation), lies at the core of the Ethiopian government strategy for development and economic growth. It plays an important role in shaping relations between state, society and nature at different scales. Many of these projects are advanced in the name of connecting Ethiopia to global markets by increasing food and energy production and exports. They reorder local, national and regional distributions of water, food and energy in transboundary basins like the Blue Nile or the Omo Turkana. In doing so, these projects also contribute to redefining national (The Ethiopian Renaissance) or local identities and centre-periphery relations. The big questions this panel asks are how and for whom?
The panels aims to explore issues such as:
- water/food/energy development and frameworks/discourses thereof as projects for reorganising society and their distributed effects;
- the unfolding of relations between state, society and infrastructure through particular projects of water/food/energy development;
- innovations and continuities between different political regimes in planning and implementing infrastructural projects for agriculture or hydropower development;
- the culture and practice of water development in Ethiopia (knowledge, institutions, models, technical expertise,…).
COOPERATION ENDEAVORS AND INSTITUTION BUILDING IN THE NILE RIVER BASIN: OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS [Abstract ID: 0602-20]
There are more than 200 transboundary river basins in the world that are shared by two or more countries. All of them possess their own peculiar problems and conflict resolution mechanisms. The variations thereof could be attributed to the differences in the physical, economic and political geographies of the basins as well as the extent of water availability in relation to demand. A classic source of conflict between downstream and upstream states has always been surfacing with the former underpinning the ‘no-harm rule’ and the latter ‘absolute sovereignty’. Being cognizant of the divergences in the interests of up-and downstream states, various international bodies, chief of which being the UN, have tried to come up with international laws on the non-navigational uses of international waters’. Due to historical, geographical, geo-strategic, and developmental factors, an asymmetry in the utilization of the water resources of the Nile is evident. Prior to the emergence of the NBI in 1999, there were some three attempts to forge cooperation. The fact that they were project-oriented and non-inclusive in nature hampered their evolvement into viable basin-wide organizations. The NBI has been established in 1999 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as a transitional institution pending the advent of a permanent Nile River Basin Commission (NRBC). The latter requires, among others, the signing up of a legal and institutional framework, viz. the Nile Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (in short CFA) which is not yet concluded. This paper tries to look into the disagreements between upstream and downstream countries over the ‘water security’ issue that led to the stalemate of signing the CFA. Neither the technical expertise nor the Nile Council of Ministers (Nile-COM) nor the Heads of States of the Nile basin countries have failed to break the impasse. The fear is that such a situation may lead to partial multi-lateral and/or unilateral utilization of the Nile water resources. Since the ‘water security’ issue is more of a ‘political pronouncement’ than a ‘legal concept’ per se, there is a possibility for the two downstream states to give political credence to break the stalemate. It should be known that the United Nations Water Convention (UNWC) can take care of the fears and scepticism of the up-and downstream states through its two counter-balancing provisions, viz. ‘equitable and reasonable utilization’ and ‘obligation not cause significant harm’. This can, in turn, pave the way for the establishment of the much anticipated Nile River Basin Commission (NRBC).
GERD: RESHAPING DIASPORA AND OROMO ENGAGEMENT WITH THE STATE DEVELOPMENT PLANS [Abstract ID: 0602-08]
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is a critical fact that has reshaped not only the trans-boundary politics in the Nile but also the relation between the state and society inside Ethiopia. The GERD is a key component in economic transition because water is an initial natural resource to generate energy for strategic development plans. Based on the potential energy and irrigated agriculture that will be attained after the dam construction, the government has mobilized its diaspora community to purchase bonds issued for the dam. Furthermore, the government formed the 'National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on the Construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam' to manage the involvement of diaspora. On the contrary, Oromo ethnic group has added the GERD issue in their contention with the Ethiopian government. Particularly, Oromo refugees who are based in Cairo took a position against the dam which made the relation between Egypt and Ethiopia more complicated. The research will attempt to explore how GERD is a double-edged sword: one leads to reconnect the state with society (diaspora) and the second one disconnects the relation (Oromo).
GRAND ETHIOPIAN RENAISSANCE DAM (GERD) VS ETHNIC NATIONALISM NEXUS: ITS IMPLICATION [Abstract ID: 0602-21]
This research attempt to show how Ethiopian nationalism reflected within the historical, social, political and economic background combined with the contemporary national identity, GERD, and with other instances of Ethiopian national identity and ethnic nationalism.
The research employs qualitative analysis to achieve its stated objectives and discusses different sorts of the manifestations of nationalism in Ethiopian history. Consequently, the finding indicates that the contemporary erupted ethnic nationalism has a scant repercussion on the present-day national identity of the country, GERD, thus, the notion that Egypt to using ethnic nationalism for destabilizing Ethiopian polity a pipe dream.
HISTORICAL ECOLOGY OF WATER MANAGEMENT IN NORTHERN ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0602-17]
Water has been a fundamental companion to societal development in northern Ethiopia over millennia. Known for a long history of farming, social complexity and early kingdoms, the highlands of northern Ethiopia are often seen as prone to water-scarcity in the past as well as today. Yet, water resources are here diverse from rainfall to highly productive aquifers. Today, much of this water is often readily lost due to evaporation, or it runs away as stream flow, or is stored beyond reach underground. But these problems are not new for the farming and agro-pastoral communities living in these highlands. Indeed, archaeology and history do illustrate how sophisticated socio-ecological knowledge has supported resilient water management across a great geographical diversity in the highlands since the first millennium BC. Building on recent and ongoing work, this paper reviews the legacy of the past water systems into present-day, traditional water management practices. By examining archaeological and historical records, I look into how people may have managed water at two ancient urban landscapes (Aksum and Qohaito), which developed in the first millennium AD and continued to be settled today. The archaeological records is then discussed in the light of traditional practices and modern, state-sponsored initiatives. The exercise allows for identifying properties and conditions for traditional water systems that supported communities in the past, and continue to do so today.
HYDRAULIC MISSIONS, RUINS AND REVIVAL: POLITICS OF SPACE IN THE TANA-BELES BASIN FROM 1985 TO TODAY [Abstract ID: 0602-07]
Triggered by the catastrophic 1984-85 famine, the Derg regime launched the large-scale resettlement of drought-affected populations towards the Blue Nile Basin, particularly the Metekel 'awraja' along the Beles River. With Italian support, the first Tana-Beles Project was implemented between 1986-1992 with the primary objective not only to provide basic emergency relief, but to develop a mechanised agro-industry, based on an enhanced hydraulic infrastructure. However, while Ethiopia was politically transformed by the overthrow of Derg in 1991, Italian cooperation projects in the Tana-Beles area were abruptly discontinued. Assetless settlers, who had worked in collectivised schemes, paradoxically returned from mechanised to plough agriculture; general socio-economic conditions deteriorated significantly. Aware of the area's great development potential, and with financial and strategic support from the World Bank, the incumbent Ethiopian government launched the "Tana-Beles Integrated Water Resources Development Project" in the mid-2000s, targeting especially private sector investment into large-scale irrigated agriculture. A key feature of the scheme was the construction of the 460 MW Tana-Beles Multipurpose Hydroelectric Power Plant completed by the Italian contractor Salini Impregilo between 2005 and 2010. My paper analyses these two phases of hydraulic development in the Tana-Beles Basins from a comparative perspective with a focus on the Ethiopian and international institutional actors involved in the planning, financialisation and implementation of the projects. Leaning on Lefebvre's concept of spatialisation, my work seeks to understand how these national, bilateral and multilateral agencies with their respective ideological and scientific approaches engage in or contribute to practices of "encadrement" (Clapham 2002) of water, land and people within the structures of modernist developmentalism. Methodologically, I combine elements of historiography, new institutionalism and organisational sociology as guiding approaches with an emphasis on the interrelationships between the different statal, parastatal and private bodies and the resulting outcomes thereof. Findings may eventually be contextualised with the broader development projects in the Blue Nile Basin to provide a constructive case study of historical initiatives, challenges and possible future trajectories.
NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN THE ETHIO-EGYPT RELATIONS OVER THE HYDRO-POLITICS OF NILE: ASSESSING THE CHALLENGES TO OPTIMAL COOPERATION [Abstract ID: 0602-19]
The central objective of this study is to examine new developments in the Ethio-Egypt relations over the hydro-politics of Nile and assess the existing challenges to optimal cooperation. To this end, the researcher employed a qualitative methodology and relied on secondary sources of data. Based on the data analyzed, the findings of the study show the starting of a relatively better relation between Ethiopia and Egypt, following the coming into power of president El-Sisi in Egypt. However, the study also outlined the following challenges for optimal cooperation: the still persisting mistrust among Egyptians, the existence of anti-Ethiopia forces and Egypt’s failure to stop the acts of destabilizing Ethiopia, the steadily increasing water demand in the basin states and absolute dependence of Egypt on the Nile, the possibility of using visits by Egyptians for spying purpose, the possibility of buying a time, Egypt’s inherent worry on the development of Ethiopia, Egypt’s unwillingness to adhere to the principles of CFA, unchanged legal frameworks in Egypt, Egypt’s refusal to cooperate in Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP), Egypt’s presence in the Horn of Africa, and lack of consistency as to the capacity of the GERD. Thus, this paper concludes that the new friendly approach of El-Sisi may be a new tactic to pursue the old objective. Following this conclusion, the study suggests that there is a need to work hard on the aforementioned core strategic areas by basin states.
SCALING UP COLLECTIVE ACTIONS OF SMALLHOLDER FARMERS IN LARGE-SCALE IRRIGATION SCHEMES, ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0602-06]
This paper explores theoretically and empirically how collective management systems evolve in state-driven and potentially transformative large-scale irrigation infrastructures that are specifically designed for use by numerous smallholder farmers. Thereby, we strive for both progressing basic research and meeting immediate policy demands. Using the Koga Irrigation Scheme, which is one of the first large-scale scheme fully developed for use by smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, as a case study, we use interactive qualitative methods and analysis to generate empirical evidence. Key informant, focus group discussion and document analysis were used to gather data on objectives, perspectives, priorities and power relations of key stakeholders, institutions and organizations involved in the use and management of the scheme. Our results indicate that the scheme-level collective management system operates through incipient institutional and organizational structures that are highly fluid, oscillating between formal and informal institutional mechanisms. It also highlights that asymmetries in power relations and access to information about the distribution and use of water across the scheme are critical factors that undermine scheme-level collective management. To address these challenges, the paper suggests that smallholder farmers require broader roles and engagement in the decision-making system of the scheme. Furthermore, the paper argues that the existing management system need to align or reconcile two prevalent and parallel management practices in order to improve collective management. These are the more bureaucratic practices in water distribution on the one hand and the more informal practices in the use and conflict resolutions of water among the smallholders.
THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF KOGA DAM IRRIGATION WATER ON AGRICULTURE IN NORTHWEST ETHIOPIA: EVIDENCE FROM A STRUCTURAL EQUATION MODEL [Abstract ID: 0602-16]
Ethiopia has, recently, constructed a number of multi-purpose dams and has plans to construct more dams in the near future with the goal of supplying energy and irrigation water. One of the constructed dams is the Koga dam, located in the Lake Tana catchment of northwest Ethiopia, supplies water for 7,000 hectares of small holder dry season irrigated land. Ethiopian government believes that dam construction has a positive economic impact on agriculture. However, from a global perspective, the construction of dams has become a controversial issue as a means to improve agricultural production. For instance, in contrary to others, some researchers warn that the dam may actually have cut agricultural production (Strobl, E. & Strobl, R.O., 2011; Duflo & Pande, 2007; and Richter et al. 2010). The aim of this study is, therefore, to examine the economic impact of the Koga dam irrigation scheme for small holder farmers. In this paper, we will present the results of a survey with 450 households in the Koga Dam irrigation scheme. Our approach, Structural Equation Model, is different from the previous research’s. Previous research on the economic impact of dam construction on agriculture is mainly based on simple and partial mappings of bi-variate associations between dam driven irrigation water and agricultural outcomes. To overcome this fragmentation and polarization, we need to provide and empirically test an integrative framework which is different from prior researchers in two ways: First, it simultaneously takes account of the two dependent variables (Household Farming Asset and Crop Revenue). Second, it considers both the direct and indirect effect of availability of dam driven irrigation water on agricultural production. That is, it simultaneously takes account of dam driven irrigation water and yield enhancing modern farm inputs in order to assess the extent to which yield enhancing modern farm inputs mediates the relationship between availability of dam driven irrigation water and crop revenue. This integrative approach will increase our insight into the impact of availability of dam driven irrigation water by revealing why some irrigation scheme achieves higher agricultural productivity performance than others.
THE QUEST FOR HYDRO HEGEMONY AND THE CHANGING POWER RELATION IN THE EASTERN NILE BASIN [Abstract ID: 0602-18]
This paper examines the hydro hegemonic power configuration and changing power relations in the Eastern Nile basin. The hydro politics of the Nile have been at the centre of academic debates since antiquity, and several scholars in this realm have studied the multifarious aspects of the hydro-politics of the Nile River and different contentious issues. However, little attention has been given to the study of the evolving hydro hegemony and counter hydro hegemony in the aforesaid river basin. The overall objective of this paper is therefore to examine the hydro hegemonic strategies and tactics used by Egypt in its long journey towards establishing, maintaining, and consolidating the current hydro political status quo and the reaction of non-hegemonic riparians with the intent of transforming the established order and thereby creating a new playing field. Accordingly, I argue that Egypt has used smart power, a combination of hard and soft power, in establishing, maintaining, and consolidating its preferential situation. In the meantime, there is no pragmatic change, but only signs of changes that can be explained by alterations in the domestic, regional, and international environment. The study employs qualitative research methodology, drawing on both primary and secondary data sources. The primary data sources were key informant interviews, while the secondary data was collected from books, published journal articles, published and unpublished theses and dissertations, reports and remarks by governmental and non-governmental organisations, speeches, magazines, and internet sources. Given that the data gathered are qualitative, the study employed qualitative data analysis techniques, notably critical discourse analysis on historical narratives and documents. The study's findings are that a ‘hegemonic mythological view’ was initially planted in the minds of ancient Egyptians, which later grew to be seen as a ‘sacred reality’ and was finally institutionalized through ineffective legal agreements. Although Egypt’s hydro hegemonic position was institutionalized in the first and second halves of the twentieth century, it is not a new phenomenon, but rather as old as the Pharaonic era, so the 1959 agreement should be understood as a continuation and revitalization of the Egyptian ‘hegemonic mythological view of the Nile’. However, since the 1990s, Egypt’s continuing hydro hegemony has been challenged and contested by non-hegemonic riparians largely because of the changing domestic, regional, and international environments. It can be concluded that there is no change, but signs of change foreshadowing a new order. This anticipated new order, however, is now influenced by the hegemonic power’s use of a mechanism of securitisation to produce hegemonic compliance by claiming an existential threat. Non-hegemonic riparians therefore need to use smart power, a combination of hard and soft power, to successfully transform the established order. First, there is a need to ‘decolonize the hegemonic mindset’ to show that ‘Egypt is not the scared husband of the Nile, rather that the Nile has made a geographical and legal marriage with 11 countries’. Second, there is a need for an ‘historic non-hegemonic block’ to bring into effect a consistent unified upstream position which will bring about a pragmatic change. Failure to do so would mean blessing the current hegemonic status quo and calling for the extinction of the commonly shared resource of the Nile waters.