Minister Déo Guide Rurema (right) and the NBI Deputy Executive Director

BUJUMBURA January 29th (ABP) – The Minister of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock and current Chairman of the Nile Basin Cabinet Meeting, Mr. Déo Guide Rurema, proceeded on Sunday January 27, 2019, along with the Deputy Executive Director of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), with the official launch of 2019 as the “Nile Basin Year,” a check on the site by ABP has revealed.

Celebrated under the theme “Placing water at the heart of regional transformation,” the Nile Basin year is a reminder, according to Minister Rurema, of the essential role that cross-border water must play in the Nile Basin countries so that they can move together towards sustainable regional development for current and future generations, despite the challenges that exist because the Nile itself transcends borders, thus implying increasing demands for water, food and energy.

He said that the ceremony he chaired was part of the activities organized on the occasion of the official launch of the Nile Basin Year and that the decision to dedicate 2019 to the Nile Basin has been taken during the Nile Cabinet Meeting held in Bujumbura in August 2018.

A tree-planting activity was scheduled for Monday November 28, 2019 at Rutovu, Bururi province (southern Burundi) where is located the southernmost source of the Nile River, in the same framework, according to Minister Déo Guide Rurema, adding that trees contribute to the protection of the environment and play an important role in climate change. “It is therefore our responsibility to preserve the environment by planting trees,” he concluded, adding that this activity contributes to the environmental protection and, as a result, to the increase in agricultural production.

According to Minister Rurema, for the eradication of poverty, especially for the inhabitants of the Nile Basin region estimated at about 257 million people, the NBI achievements and challenges over the past two decades should be better communicated by using the underlying values ​​and strength to engage the basin cooperation program, as envisaged by the NBI in its current 10-year plan (2017-2027). There is also a need for increased momentum for technical and political cooperation, for stimulating concrete and innovative actions for water cooperation, and for attracting the support and collaboration of strategic partners in the shared water-resource management to improve the quality of life and livelihoods of the people.

He is pleased that the Government of Burundi is on the right track in protecting that common heritage, citing as an example, the decree prohibiting the use of plastic bags in the process of application which will, according to him, contribute to ensuring the quality of the water and protect biodiversity. He also referred to the government-approved ministerial ordinance prohibiting tree species that consume a lot of water in marshes and water sources in order to preserve water from water tables, as well as the “Ewe Burundi urambaye” program which consists of reforestation at the national level.

After this official launch and along the year 2019, Minister Rurema noted, the NBI and member States will hold key events in Kigali, Rwanda, on February 22, including the celebration of the 20th anniversary of NBI Regional Day and the launch of a special anniversary publication.

Those activities also include the holding of the NBI governance meetings in July 2019, the launch of the 20th Anniversary publication and the screening of a new documentary related to it, the launch of the 2018 Nile Basin State Report and the holding of a session on the occasion of World Water Week in August 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden.

It was recalled that the NBI took its inception on 22 February 1999 in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.

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