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Supporting the Nile Basin Shared Vision with “Food for Thought”: Jointly Discovering the Contours of Common Ground

A paper was published describing the findings and outcome of a scenario process organized by the project.

A scenario exercise – called “Food for Thought” (F4T) – was initiated to explore the uncertain future of the dominant water user in the ten Nile countries: ‘demand for agricultural produce’. The anticipated outcome of the exercise was to obtain a realistic range of future agricultural demand levels in the basin, quantified in terms of population growth, nutrition pattern, urban-rural population distribution, and potential of commercial agriculture focused on export.

F4T evolved into a much broader exercise. It became a systematic and participatory analysis of a broad set of development issues in the Nile basin. It provided suggestions to decision makers how to address the various underlying drivers of the resource conflict. It put rural areas back on the agenda, and examined the potential role of agricultural development and trade, both to ensure food security and to foster economic development. The exercise also confirmed the scope for regional cooperation.

By taking a wider view, F4T proved useful for stretching the Nile debate. A number of shared-interests were identified and examined, in particular related to agricultural trade. Crucially, these are not directly related to river flow and therefore offer much better prospects for negotiated solutions. It demonstrated the effectiveness of scenarios to support a negotiation or re-conciliation process.

Click here to download the paper.

The scenario process was designed and conducted by the FAO project team in Entebbe, supported by Dr. Peter Schütte as an external adviser / process facilitator.

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Fred Mutebi: "Silent Activists", woodprint 2001