The NBI Policy Portal is a web-based platform and repository that brings together all the different policies, strategies, and guidelines of the Nile Basin Sustainability Framework (NBSF) under a single user interface allowing for their easy access for use by the NBI Centres, Nile riparian countries, and members of the general public.

 

The NBSF was initially developed in 2011 as a suite of policies, guidelines, and policies which guide the efforts of the Member States towards the attainment of sustainable development and management of the common Nile water resources. This collection of policies, strategies, and guidelines, which is referred to as the Nile Basin Sustainability Framework (NBSF), guides NBI’s work, ensuring it is based on international best practices and supports the attainment of NBI’s shared vision. The NBSF serves as a guide to the NBI on matters of the cooperative management and development of the common Nile water resources until such a time that the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) comes into force.

 

The policy portal follows the structure of the NBSF. The NBSF is comprised of nine (9) thematic sections under which relevant legal documents, policies, and guidelines are listed. The thematic areas are the following:

 

The Guiding Principles of the NBI’s Nile Basin Sustainability Framework (NBSF) are the principles of the Shared Vision as set out in the Policy Guidelines for the Nile River Basin Strategic Action Program (1999), the NBI 10 Year Strategy, and the principles of policies approved by NBI governance bodies over the years, such as the Environment and Social Policy (2013).

 

The principles from the above-mentioned sources include equitable utilization of transboundary water resources; obligation not to cause significant harm; cooperation and joint action seeking win-win outcomes; promotion of public participation and awareness; promotion of dialogue and consultation to build trust and confidence; data and information exchange; evidence-based decision making; subsidiarity principle; integrated regional planning; and poverty eradication and promotion of economic integration.

 

They also contain the principles of sustainable development; wise use of natural resources; integrated natural resources management; water resource monitoring and assessment; legitimate, transparent, accountable, strong, and adaptable institutions; participatory and inclusive decision-making processes; and gender equity and equality.

 

The Policy Portal includes polices, strategies, guidelines and manuals defined as below..

 

Box 1: Elements of the Policy Portal.

 

Policy: A formal statement of principles or values that establishes the parameters for decision making and action. Polices may set broad directions or goals in the specific areas that they address. Policies are approved by Nile-COM upon recommendation of Nile-TAC.

Strategy: A prudent and sagacious plan or course of action, selected from among alternatives, to operationalize policy principles and reach policy goals. Strategies may set quantitative targets, and timeframes, contain budgets and assign responsibilities to implementing agencies. Strategies are approved by Nile-CoM, upon recommendation of Nile-TAC.

Guideline: A general rule, principle, or piece of advice, that suggests how something should be done. Guidelines may contain checklists and general guidance on practices or approaches used to perform tasks related to the implementation of NBSF policies and strategies. Guidelines may be prepared for use at different levels, i.e., basin-wide, sub-basin, or project level. Guidelines prepared by Nile-SEC will be approved by Nile-COM while guidelines prepared by ENTRO and NELSAP-CU will be approved by ENCOM or NELCOM respectively on recommendation of the technical advisory committees (Nile-TAC, ENSAPT, and NEL-TAC).

   Manual and Roadmap: A book containing detailed instructions, explanations, and procedures for the step-by-step performance of specific tasks. Manuals and roadmaps under the            NBSF fall in the category of guidelines.

 

In addition to policies, strategies, and guidelines, the Policy Portal contains legal instruments for the establishment of the NBI, agreements between the NBI and host countries for NBI Centres, and agreements between the NBI and other regional organizations. 
There are a number of benefits to the Nile riparian countries from their decision to develop and apply the policies, strategies, and guidelines in their cooperation on the Nile, helping to:
(a)    demonstrate to national governments and the international community that the NBI has a systematic approach to dealing with sustainable development issues, thereby helping           to create a climate of certainty, minimize risk, and improve the        confidence of investors.
(b)    allow for joint actions that increase mutual trust and promote a deepening of riparian States’ cooperation. 
(c)    increase the ability of the NBI to mobilise much-needed investment capital for the management and development of the river basin