Ethiopia’s third filling of GERD violates international law: Expert 

Mohammed El-Said
2 Min Read


Ethiopia’s letter to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 26 July stating that Addis Ababa would continue with the third phase of filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’s (GERD) reservoir during the current flood season does not comply with what Addis Ababa announced before, says Abbas Sharaki — Professor of Geology and Water Resources at Cairo University.

Sharaki explained that the notification, which came more than two weeks after the start of the filling (11 July) and did not mention the start date, is in violation of what Ethiopian officials announced last May when they said that the filling would take place in August and September.

On Friday 29 July, the Egyptian foreign ministry sent a letter to the President of the UN Security Council to voice Egypt’s rejection of Ethiopia’s continued unilateral filling of the dam’s lake, which is a violation of the 2015 Declaration of Principles Agreement and a clear violation of international agreements.

Egypt also described the acts as a violation of the presidential statement of the Security Council that was released in 2021, the recommendations of the summits held under the auspices of the African Union (AU) in 2020, and the rules of international law.

Sharaki pointed out that Egypt’s return to the Security Council for a third time — despite the council’s abandonment last year of the issue by returning it to the AU and declaring that it is not specialised in water affairs — stresses that it is not only a water issue, but an issue that threatens security and peace in the region. 

He further explained that Ethiopia has increased the dam’s capacity sevenfold from 11.1 billion m3 in the 1964 design to 74 billion m3 in 2022.

He also warned that if the dam collapsed, it will cause the annihilation of more than 20 million Sudanese living on the banks of the Blue Nile and others north of Khartoum.

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Mohammed El-Said is the Science Editor for the Daily News Egypt with over 8 years of experience as a journalist. His work appeared in the Science Magazine, Nature Middle East, Scientific American Arabic Edition, SciDev and other regional and international media outlets. El-Said graduated with a bachelor's degree and MSc in Human Geography, and he is a PhD candidate in Human Geography at Cairo University. He also had a diploma in media translation from the American University in Cairo.