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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
News article26 April 2019Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

Giving Gaza hope: EU and partners take stock of biggest ever water programme for Gaza

On 30 April, the European Commission, the Palestinian Authority and the Islamic Development Bank will co-chair an information session in Brussels on the Gaza Central Desalination Plant & Associated Works Programme (‘the Programme’) for key donors and...

Gaza Plant

On 30 April, the European Commission, the Palestinian Authority and the Islamic Development Bank will co-chair an information session in Brussels on the Gaza Central Desalination Plant & Associated Works Programme (‘the Programme’)[1] for key donors and other partners.

The session will be an opportunity to inform participants on the state of play of the various components of the Programme and on progress achieved since the pledging conference held in Brussels on 20 March 2018.

‘The Programme’ is the largest ever investment in Gaza. It will provide 55 million m3 of quality fresh drinking water per year, allow over 2 million Gazans to live their lives in dignity, mitigate health risks and insecurity, and create a perspective for a better future. Currently, 97% of available water is undrinkable due to the contamination of the over-pumped coastal aquifer.

The total cost is around 580 million. Pledges from 16 countries and international organisations already cover nearly 80% of this. The information session will raise awareness of remaining financing opportunities for donors/potential donors.

The initiative has the support of a broad international coalition. Partners, including the Islamic Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank, The Union for the Mediterranean, and the Office of the Quartet, have joined efforts with the European Commission in providing technical, financial, fundraising and political assistance. The Palestinian Authority and Israel are both committed to see the Programme make a tangible difference to the lives of Palestinians, and contribute to broader stability and security.

The Programme is becoming a reality on the ground. The first tenders have been launched, with the support of the World Bank, and the first construction works are due to start in August. Substantial progress has been achieved in ongoing discussions between the Palestinian Authority and Israel regarding arrangements for the entry of materials into Gaza. As a result of the commitment of the Palestinian Authority, we are advancing in securing the required energy supply for ‘the Programme.

Michael Köhler, Director of the Southern Neighbourhood at the European Commission, will open the information session, followed by His Excellency Mr. Mazen Ghunaim, Head of the Palestinian Water Authority and Mr. Abdul-Hakim Elwaer, Adviser of the President of the Islamic Development Bank.

The information session will take place back-to-back with the annual spring meeting of the international donor coordination group in support of the Palestinian economy, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), which will include discussion of the situation in Gaza. Since 1993, the AHLC has served as a key policy-level coordination mechanism for financial assistance to the Palestinian people, with a purpose of preserving the vision of a negotiated two-state solution.

For more information:

Gaza Central Desalination Plant Programme Infographic

[1] The Gaza Central Desalination Plant includes the construction of a seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant and the installation of an on-site power plant fossil plant and a photovoltaic plant. “Associated Works” refers to the construction of a north-south water carrier for transport of desalinated water and a project to reduce water leakages.

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