Ankara, 19th October. UfM Deputy Secretary General, Rafiq Husseini, and the Minister of Water of the Palestinian Authority, Dr. Shaddad Attili, conducted a working mission to Turkey with an aim to seek the Turkish support for the UfM project “Desalination Facility for the Gaza Strip.” They met with the Minister for Forestry and Water Affairs of Turkey, Prof. Dr. Veysel Eroglu and some Turkish high officials. Talks were also held with the Deputy Director of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) and the Deputy Undersecretary for Economic Affairs of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Discussions focused on the water crisis in the Gaza Strip and they went over the recent UN report “Gaza, A liveable place by 2020” which highlights the disastrous implications of the current situation affecting the Gaza Strip. All of them agreed on the fact that water in Gaza is a key issue that needs urgent action to be taken and the Turkish authorities expressed their full support to the UfM project.
On 22 June 2011, the Union for the Mediterranean “labelled” its very first project which consists in the construction of a 100 million cubic meters desalination facility and distribution system in the Gaza Strip which will help to address the major water deficit for a population of 1.6 million. The urgency for the Desalination Facility for Gaza has increased with the rising level of Humanitarian crisis in Gaza related to inadequate water resources with related impacts on human health. This humanitarian project will contribute to job creation and future economic and sustainable development in that highly populated region of the Mediterranean. The Arab states and France have already committed financially, and the European Investment Bank is financing the technical assistance towards the implementation of the project.