The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam: Legal, Political and Scientific Challenges, Water International, Special Issue Vol. 41, No. 4, 2016.

This Special Issue of Water International articulates the opportunities and challenges surrounding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) through multiple disciplinary lenses: its possibilities as a basis for a new era of cooperation in the Eastern Nile basin; its regional and global implications; its benefits and posible drawbacks; the benefits of cooperation and coordination in dam filling; and the need for participatory and transparent decisión making. The Issue, which contains the first collection of articles exclusively devoted to the GERD, is the result of a special session at the 25th World Water Congress of the International Water Resources Association, which was held in Edinburgh on 25-29 May, 2015. In the first article, Salman M. A. Salman explores the relevant legal instruments and the history of dams in the Nile basin. He provides a detailed account of the sequence of negotiations that led to the Declaration of Principles in March 2015 and the December 2015 Khartoum Document, which endorsed the decision to have the French firms BRLi and Artelia conduct an impact study on GERD. The second article, by Z. Yihdego and AIDA member A. Rieu-Clarke, examines the fairness principle both as a framework for substantive and procedural equity and as a tool for promoting compliance with international commitments. In the third article, A. E. Cascão and A. Nicol follow with a comprehensive critical assessment of GERD as both an outcome of change and an opportunity to enhance cooperation in transboundary water resources management, as well as to expand regional development and integration in the Eastern Nile Basin region. In the fourth article, R. Tawfik questions whether the steps taken for GERD coordination imply the application of benefit sharing in the sub-basin, while the fifth article, by Y. Zhang, S. T. Erkyihum, and P. Block addresses from the technical side the critical issues of initial dam management. In the sixth article, K. G. Wheeler et al. apply a “river basin planning model”, to analyze potential coordination and adaptation strategies among the dams of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt during the initial filling of the GERD reservoir. The final article, by AIDA’s Vice-Chair M. Nanni, illustrates recent efforts made by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), of which six out of eight member states are also Nile riparians, towards the adoption of  a regional water resources policy and the formulation of a draft regional water protocol.  On the one hand, these two instruments draw lessons from the Nile basin experience. On the other, they may encourage those IGAD member states which are also Nile riparians but have not yet signed and ratified the CFA, to do so, thus enabling the CFA’s entry into force. The Special Issue is available online, at