EIB assists Gaza desalination progress

The desalination project for Gaza backed by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) took a small step forward at a meeting in Barcelona on 4 May 2012.

The European Investment Bank (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 water supply options in Gaza and previous feasibility studies. It presents the different project components, including cost estimates related to the different subprojects, scenarios and conditions which would lead towards the successful implementation and sustainability of the project.

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) was 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 EIB, the World Bank, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Office of the Quartet.

The one-day discussions resulted in a broad consensus of the next steps forward, says the UfM. 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.

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.”

UfM secretary general Sijilmassi reaffirmed the commitment of the union to promote the 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.