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The establishment of the Nile Basin Capacity Building Network (NBCBN) was in the year 2000, founded as a network aimed at; “building the capacity of researchers and water professionals in the Nile basin countries in the field of hydraulics and water resources management, encouraging on the positive involvement and interaction between them as well as to create a spirit of cooperation and communication between the different experts and to increase awareness of the importance of water problems on the regional level.”

The network activities included the support of regional collaborative research projects and providing specialized training courses in all fields that serve the integrated water resources management. The establishment of the network was in the framework of cooperation between the Government of the Netherlands represented by the Institute IHE-Delft, of the Netherlands and the Egyptian Government, represented by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.

In January 2002 it was the official launch of the network during a regional workshop in Cairo-Egypt in the presence of H.E. Prof. Dr. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid former Minister of Water resources & Irrigation of Egypt and the President of the Arab Water Council, H. E. The Ambassador of the Netherlands to Egypt, the Ambassadors of the Nile basin countries in Egypt, in addition to a large group of representatives from international organizations, regional universities and research institutions in the Nile Basin Countries. In recognition of the success of the activities of the network and its importance in building and supporting the capacity of researchers and technicians working in the field of water resources in general and water management in the Nile basin countries specifically, a second phase of the network was initiated in July 2007 after the approval of the Dutch government and the donor to complete the project and provide financial support for its research and training.

In 2010, the second phase of the Dutch funding to the network was concluded with a conference that presented remarkable outputs of applied research with effective participation of members across the region. In the same year, the network prepared a strategy for the future (2011-2015) which was endorsed by the NBCBN Steering Committee in December 2010.

In December 2013, the IHE management of the NBCBN network project named “KNNB project”, as well as the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, requested a support mission to advice on (1) the future strategic objectives and activities of NBCBN and the opportunities to be an independent organization and (2) to advise on the level, contents and duration of support to the NBCBN network in the future and assisting NBCBN in the formulation of an exit strategy as a funded project.

Based on the approval of the support mission report and agreement of the NBCBN Steering Committee and, the new goal for NBCBN was defined to become: “a financially sustainable, registered, regional Nile Basin network of water professionals firmly rooted in the academic and applied research world with a demand driven research and knowledge agenda with special reference to trans-boundary water related issues and with strong functional relations with its major clients in the Nile Basin.” Such a network would then be effective to: contribute to the development, dissemination and packaging of relevant knowledge and focused capacity building for the Nile Basin.”

In 2015 a detailed study was done on the objectives, activities and future strategy of the network, and opportunities for the network to get an independent status to become a legal entity hosted in one of the Member countries. At the annual meeting of the Steering Committee of the network in the same year, an approval and agreement by all Member institutions representatives of the countries network nodes, to establish the legal network entity in Egypt, and a consensus on the hosting of Egypt to this new entity was reached. It was recommended to the network Secretariat office in Cairo to take the necessary actions to achieve this legal registration.

At the annual meeting of the Steering Committee of the network for the following year 2016 the members approved the necessary steps to create a legal independent entity and to start the necessary actions for the registration process. Since then, network Secretariat office started the communications and procedures necessary to activate these recommendations. The investigation process of getting the legal status of the network started in the year 2017 and after many communication and advice steps on official levels with different ministries and authorities, the network succeeded to apply for the legal registration in 2019.