Barcelona, 5th May, 2012. – The UfM Secretariat organized, at its Barcelona premises, the second coordination meeting on the Gaza Desalination Facility for the Gaza Strip Project, which updated existing technical information, discussed implementation conditions, as well as the financing mechanism and fundraising.
The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) was notably represented by the Head of the Water Authority Minister Shaddad Attili and the Head of the Energy Authority, Minister Omar Kettana. The meeting also included representatives from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the World Bank (WB), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as well as the Office of the Quartet Representative.
Secretary General Sijilmassi reaffirmed the commitment of the Union for the Mediterranean to promote this project, especially in the fundraising and coordination spheres, highlighting the importance of not only reaching the “implementation” stage, but delivering an operational Project, a goal that remains the objective of the PNA and the UfM.
The EIB provided the preliminary results of a technical assistance consultancy in the form of a Project Information Memorandum for Potential financiers. The document synthesizes existing studies of options for water supply in Gaza and previous feasibility studies, and presents the different Project components, including cost estimates related to the different sub-projects, scenarios and conditions which would lead towards the successful implementation and sustainability of the Project. Minister Kettana presented the Power Supply Plan for the Gaza strip for the short, medium and longer terms, and discussion included power needs for running the desalination plant.
The one-day discussions resulted in a broad consensus of the next steps forward. Minister Attili expressed full satisfaction with the outcomes, stating that “there was full agreement on the speedy finalization of the Information Memorandum prepared by EIB consultants in consultation with the PWA, the drafting of terms of reference for the implementation consultancy and the funding strategy to be implemented without delay.”
Deputy Secretary General for Environment and Water, Rafiq Husseini, concluded that “we have today agreed with the PNA, EIB and the World Bank on how to proceed with the Project Information Memorandum, the next consulting needs and the detailed fundraising strategy… Together, we have established a clear roadmap for the Gaza Desalination Project from today up until the end of 2012”.