Barcelona, 19 February 2016. Delegations from Palestine, Israel, the European Commission and the office of the Quartet met on Monday 15 February in Brussels under the auspices of the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean to discuss the next concrete steps for the launch of the UfM-labelled Desalination Facility project for the Gaza Strip.
The meeting consolidated the ground for the forthcoming Donor Conference. All the participants agreed on the project’s vital importance for the region in terms of humanitarian and development impact. The large-scale desalination facility and its associated water supply infrastructure will supply drinking water to more than 1.8 million Palestinian inhabitants, thereby presenting a sustainable solution for the chronic and longstanding water shortage in the Gaza Strip. The Donor Conference should secure the necessary funds for the construction of the facility.
The Israeli Delegation confirmed its Government’s political support to the project and its commitment to facilitate the construction of the facility.
The Palestinian Delegation confirmed its readiness to take all necessary measures for the project’s implementation.
Michael Koehler, Director for Neighbourhood South at the European Commission expressed the European Union’s full support to the project through contributing to the financing of the project .The Commission also expressed its commitment to participate in the ongoing efforts aiming at reaching significant progress in the coming months at both political and technical levels.
UfM Secretary General Sijilmassi presented a roadmap of activities leading to the Donor Conference, possibly to be held at the beginning of June 2016.
Notes to editors
About the Desalination Facility for the Gaza Strip
On 22 June 2011, the 43 member countries of the UfM unanimously endorsed the Desalination Facility for the Gaza Strip project. The project, developed with the Palestinian Water Authority, aims to address the water crisis in Gaza; where over 95% of the water is not drinkable.
The investment of the project is of 350 million Euros. The UfM Secretariat is working closely with the Government of Palestine to help secure the engagement of a number of international financial institutions and international organisations. Outstanding efforts have been led by the European Investment Bank to advance technical preparations for the desalination plant, including the preparation of all tenders for different studies and engineering work, procurement and construction.
About the UfM
The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organisation bringing together 43 countries: 28 EU member states and 15 Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries. It provides a platform for political dialogue, coordination, and regional cooperation.
The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, established in Barcelona in 2010, focuses on enhancing regional cooperation and integration through the implementation of regional cooperation projects and initiatives. During 2015 the Secretariat has developed and accelerated the implementation of new regional projects that are key socio-economic and strategic drivers: over 40 regional labelled projects worth more than €5 billion in areas including inclusive growth, youth employability, women’s empowerment, promotion of student mobility, integrated urban development and sustainable development. The Secretariat works in close collaboration with government agencies and an active network of Euro-Mediterranean partners to assist project promoters throughout the entire project cycle, from technical assistance to project implementation, as well as financial planning and fundraising.