Gov’t initiates public consultation on controversial river dredging

The Presidency has established a committee to conduct public consultations on the controversial dredging of the Nile River and its tributaries in South Sudan.

The body headed by Akoc Akuei Manhiem will also carry out public awareness on the development and management of the Sudd and the White Nile water resources.

It was formed in response to public criticism and misgivings about the dredging of Naam river and the Nile following the arrival of dredging equipment from Egypt to Unity state in May.

‘The panel will facilitate the public discourse on the best option for flood management systems, water policies and implications of the approaches to the proposed dredging operations,’ Akuei said.

He disclosed that the panel will include experts from South Sudan and the international community. Technical experts from line-government agencies, including the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, academics from the public universities, research institutions and civil society, among others will be part of the discussion.

Mr. Akuei emphasized that the public discourse will be guided by the will of South Sudanese to address the underlying problems caused by the climate change.

“These issues are aggravated by the impact of the climate change and its variability that have manifested itself in dual problems of floods and droughts over the past years,” adding that “this should be done in a manner which is compatible with governing regional and international laws, and environmental and social safeguards for the Sudd delicate eco-system as well as the Bahr el Ghazal and the Sobat wetlands.’’

The findings of the committee shall be presented to the national legislature and the national cabinet for further deliberations.

Akuei urged the public to actively participate in the process.