The European Commission and the Government of Palestine, in partnership with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), will host on 20 March, in Brussels, an international donor Pledging Conference to consolidate high-level political and financial support to the construction of a large-scale desalination plant and its associated water supply infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, a UfM flagship project since 2011.
The desalination plant will supply drinking water to 2 million Palestinian inhabitants, thereby ensuring a sustainable solution for the chronic and longstanding water shortage and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, where over 95% of the water is not drinkable due to the over-pumping of the Coastal Aquifer.
The Donor Conference will be opened by the Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah and the EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, in the presence of UfM Deputy Secretary General for Water and Environment, Miguel García-Herraiz. It will bring together representatives of up to 60 countries, international organisations and financial institutions active in supporting development projects in the region. The Conference will take place back to back with the meeting of the international donor group for Palestine, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC).
ACCREDITATION DETAILS – Pledging Conference “Desalination Facility for the Gaza Strip” project
Date: 20 March 2018. Brussels
- 9h25 Doorstep statements. Berlaymont building, rue de la Loi 200. Salle Schuhman.
09h30 Opening session. Only photographers and cameramen can enter the room at the beginning of the conference. Berlaymont building, rue de la Loi 200. Salle Schuhman.
The opening statements will be webcast in the following link: https://ec.europa.eu/avservices/ebs/schedule.cfm
- 13h20 Press Point on the AHLC Conference, with the announcement of the outcomes of the Pledging Conference for the “Desalination Facility for the Gaza Strip”. VIP corner, Berlaymont building.
Media representatives need to provide the following details by email to firstname.lastname@example.org before 16 March at 12h00: Full name, ID card number, ID expiry date, Date of birth, Mobile number, E-mail address, Nationality. The registration request will be shared and managed by the EEAS press service.
Availability of fresh water in the Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated places in the planet, is amongst the lowest in the world. Currently, 2 million Palestinians in Gaza rely almost exclusively on the coastal aquifer as the only source of freshwater in the region, which is inadequate to meet demand from a quantitative and qualitative perspective. Only 3% of the water pumped from the aquifer and consumed by an ever-increasing population complies with the World Health Organization drinking water quality standards.
The overall programme, which requires a €562.3 million-investment, will have a direct impact on the public health and the humanitarian situation of the Gaza Strip as well as contribute to the regeneration and sustainability of the coastal aquifer. It will also provide prospects for jobs and economic development, thereby contributing to the stability of the region.
In June 2011, the 43 Member States of the Union for the Mediterranean unanimously endorsed the Desalination Facility for the Gaza Strip project, promoted by the Government of Palestine as a strategic development project for the region. The project has been developed in partnership with all major international stakeholders, including the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank as the most sustainable option to stabilise the aquifer and secure the water supply of the Gaza Strip. Currently, the project is ready for implementation having achieved significant milestones in all its preparatory stages, including on governance, completion of the required feasibility studies, as well as solutions for the energy supply and the financial mechanism for donor’s contributions.
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