The Nile Basin Capacity Building Network for River Engineering (NBCBN-RE) brings together professionals from the 10 Nile riparian countries to foster cooperation between the countries and to strengthen the human and institutional capacity to manage the water resources in the Nile River Basin in an effective and environmentally sound manner.
In 1995, as a direct response to the need for professional manpower development in the water sector, the Egyptian Government took the initiative to establish the first regional centre for capacity building in River and Hydraulic Engineering. The regional training centre (RTC) was established at the premises of one of the strongest research institutes in the region: the Hydraulic Research Institute (HRI) in Egypt.
In a short time the Centre became a success and well known in the Nile basin countries and beyond. The Centre offered mid-career professionals the opportunity to exchange different views and knowledge which fostered collaboration in the region.
This triggered the idea of developing a network of professionals that could facilitate a continuous interaction among them once the training had been finished.
The NBCBN-RE was initiated in 2000 with financial support from the Dutch government and in January 2002 the network was officially launched during a kick-off workshop in Cairo where representatives from all the 10 Nile Basin countries signed the Cairo Declaration.
The aim of NBCBN-RE is to create an environment of trust in which professionals from the water sector have the possibility to strengthen their capacities through exchanging ideas, best practices and lessons learned.
To achieve this aim a network of key Knowledge Institutes has been established in the Nile region in which over 250 professionals of all 10 riparian countries participate.
So far NBCBN-RE has, amongst others, successfully:
Established Network Nodes and National Networks in 9 Nile riparian countries, including Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and D.R. of Congo, leaving Eritrea to be established in 2008.
Enhanced communication between water sector professionals and institutions in the region through an on-line NBCBN-RE Knowledge Platform, facilitation of active Communities of Practices for knowledge generation and staff exchange programmes. Over 250 professionals from the region are actively involved in the network activities.
Improved the accessibility to water education and training in River Engineering in the region by offering a 3-month diploma course in River Engineering and offering 6 regional specialized short courses for professionals.
Facilitated and regionalized joint research on River Engineering in the Nile basin countries through the establishment of 6 thematic research clusters and 13 Communities of Professionals involved in four research modalities: (i) Regional applied research, (ii) Integrated research, (iii) Multi-disciplinary research and (iv) Local action research.
NBCBN-RE has joint forces with the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) and has been recognized as one of the main vehicles for conducting research activities to achieve the ambitions of NBI.
Activities and Outputs
NBCBN-RE adopts an innovative network approach at various levels.
In each country a Network Node is established which hosts the In-Country Network to facilitate and sustain capacity building activities and cooperation between professionals at national level. The Nodes of the different countries are linked to form the Regional NBCBN-RE Network.
Within the Regional Network clusters of countries are formed with a common interest on specific research domains in the field of river engineering (e.g. river structures, flood management, hydropower, river morphology, environmental aspects, GIS & modeling). Each research theme is hosted by a Network Node, whose role is to develop and sustain regional research capacity in the research domain.
The network promotes knowledge sharing and collaborative working through Communities of Practice. The NBCBN-RE Knowledge Platform (www.nbcbn.com) facilitates the cooperation between institutes and individual professionals and includes amongst others a comprehensive database with regional data on river engineering, a digital library and an extensive knowledge map of the region.
The project so far has launched and strengthened Network Nodes in 9 of the 10 Nile riparian countries. The most recent established Networks Nodes are in Rwanda (2006), Burundi (2006) and Congo (2007). Depending on the political developments the last country, Eritrea, is expected to be connected to the network by the launch of the Network Node in 2008.
With the educational activities of the network well established the network has focused in 2006 & 2007 mainly on the development of integrated and interdisciplinary research within the region. So far more then 35 joint research proposals have been developed. Part of them have already been approved and obtained funding from the Research Development Fund of the network. At the moment the activities are focused on getting all the research projects started and to be carried out in the coming years.