Rome, Italy: Under the Information Products for Nile Basin Water Resource Management project, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) consolidated spatial information on water and agriculture in the region, a forecast of the region’s future food requirements, a survey of the types of farming systems practiced along the Nile and an analysis of possible future scenarios for water management and agriculture development. The project, worth USD 5 million, was financed by the government of Italy as the last of three projects it funded in the region for a total investment of USD 16 million.
This project aims to deal with rapid population growth and natural resource degradation in the Nile River Basin which is likely to pose the risk of intensified hunger and poverty in the region, according to FAO. The Organisation observed that the situation requires better, more forward-looking development planning to prevent that from happening. Hence, the Organisation also developed and disseminated 18 technical manuals on water measurement techniques and technologies. It provided training to hundreds of staff in water management and agriculture agencies.
Under the FAO-Italy project, a wealth of GIS data on water, land and agriculture was acquired. Better data permitted the creation of the Nile Decision Support Tool (Nile-DST) — software that models the entire Nile system and allows planners to assess the trade-offs and consequences of different possible development scenarios.
At the same time, the project has strengthened a shared vision of natural resource management and sustainable developments among the governments of the Nile. “Only through a joint effort of the riparian countries can a sustainable future be designed and built,” said Pasquale Steduto, head of FAO’s Water Development and Management Unit.
Some of the eleven countries that share the Nile — Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda — are among the poorest in the world.