The EU has mobilised a total of €456m and secured support from a broad international coalition for the biggest ever Gaza strip infrastructure project.
The Gaza strip infrastructure project funding includes support for the Gaza Central Desalination Plant and Associated Works Project, which will be used to provide upwards of 55,000,000 m3 of clean and safe drinking water annually to people in dire need in the Palestinian region.
The announcement was made yesterday at a pledging conference in Brussels, where the infrastructure project secured support from delegations from 42 countries, including 20 EU member states. Support was also expressed by institutions such as the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the Islamic Development Bank.
What did the parties say about the agreement?
Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, welcomed the agreement, which he explained is increasingly necessary to address the water needs of the two million people living in Gaza.
“This project will meet the most urgent water needs in Gaza, providing drinking water and at the same time contributing to economic growth, environmental sustainability and stability … Today’s successful pledging conference takes us a step closer to making a reality of this project and to improve living conditions in Gaza, and remove obstacles to economic development there.”
He also expressed pride at the EU’s financial commitment to the project; at the conference, the European Commission pledged €70 million for the desalination plant, alongside an additional €7.1 million for management costs.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said that addressing the need for clean drinking water in Gaza would be a fundamental step towards reinforcing stability in Palestine. He said: “This conference carries a message of hope to our people in Gaza, stressing that the international community is not neglecting their suffering … The project will contribute to the political stability of the region as water scarcity can have grim repercussions and spark further tensions”.