The Nile Basin Discourse (NBD) is a network of civil society organizations from the 10 countries of the Nile Basin -- Burundi, DRC, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda -- which seeks positive influence over the development of projects and programmes under the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) and other Nile-related programmes.
The overarching objective of the NBD is to promote sustainable and equitable development, poverty reduction, and cooperation between all stakeholders in the Nile Basin. Working at the level of civil society engagement, the NBD seeks to maximise the social, economic and environmental benefits available to poor people within Nile countries and to ensure that there is a more equitable distribution of these benefits across the Nile basin as a whole.
Currently, the NBD is working to a two-year action plan with funding from DFID and technical assistance and support from IUCN and ODI.
News-General Assembly Meeting 8 June 2006
The NBD held its second General Assembly meeting in Entebbe on 8th June, attended by over 30 delegates from all 10 Nile basin countries. The rich discussions and debate covered a range of topics and issues. At the end of the session the GA endorsed the steering committee members elected by their respective National Forums. The Steering Committee elected its executive officers by secret ballot.
Following the GA, the NBD convened an international workshop on ‘The Role of Civil Society in Poverty Reduction and Development’ on the 9th June. Presentations covered critical issues of civil society development and its role in the complex of basin-wide development process. The workshop was aimed at bringing the NBD to the attention of a wider set of civil society stakeholders and to build synergies between poverty reduction initiatives at different levels and the programme of the NBD.
Participants discussed many issues including the challenges of effective participation, addressing preconceptions and understanding -- and reacting to -- the political nature of such development processes. Messages included the need for civil society to 'put its own house in order', to be more receptive to local community levels, and the need to move from weak to strong civil society -- i.e. to establish long-term goals. The Discourse Coordinator underscored the issue of the feminization of poverty and the critical need to address this specific aspect through stronger civil society engagement.
The NBD is rapidly developing its engagement in NBI activities and in so doing bringing the voices of the voiceless into the heart of this key inter-governmental process.