Barcelona- Secretary General Lino Cardarelli and Deputy Secretary General Rafiq Husseini welcomed a number of institutions and stakeholders to a preliminary technical and financial coordination meeting which confirmed interest in establishing a multi-donor implementation mechanism for the Desalination Facility for the Gaza Strip project.
Following several missions to the Gulf Countries by the Environment & Water Division, coordinating the promotion of the project, where the project was very positively received, the Secretariat hosted a number of representatives of interested institutions including the Country Director of the World Bank to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Islamic Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank, the European Commission, as well as a representative of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Recognizing the ongoing technical assistance provided by the EIB to the Palestinian Water Authority, it was the occasion to assess the state of play of the fund-raising efforts and the way forward, both from a financial and technical point of view.
The Palestinian National Authority as the project promoter was represented by the Minister and Head of the Palestinian Water Authority, Dr. Shaddad Attili, and also the Deputy Head Rebhy El-Sheikh.
The EIB took the opportunity to inform about its ongoing technical assistance for organizing the best conditions for the implementation of the project, and the timeline of their transactional advice to the project in advance of launching the bids.
All participants recognized the project as a critical humanitarian project, and considered it a legitimate response in addressing the water crisis in the Gaza Strip. On behalf of the Islamic development Bank, Mr. Mansour stated the Desalination Facility for the Gaza Strip “was one of the most important project in the pipeline since a very long time”.
The three major IFIs (EIB, World Bank and IsDB) have agreed to have an efficient coordination in order to establish the optimal financial mechanism to encourage and manage donor´s contributions to fund the project.
The participants were informed of additional communications events to be planned at the upcoming 6th World Water Forum in Marseilles on 12 March 2012.