PARIS – French Cooperation Minister Henri de Raincourt met with the Palestinian Minister for Water, Shaddad Attili, and with Deputy Secretary-General Rafiq El Husseini at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, to discuss development projects in the water sector and prepare for the forthcoming World Water Forum to be held on 12 March in Marseille, France.
The talks reviewed the progress made to expedite the water projects in the Gaza strip, in particular the Project for Desalination Facility in Gaza labeled by the UfM. Mr. De Raincourt commended the start-up of the desalination water project which will provide 1.6 million Gazans with potable water at a cost of 350 million euros.
This visit aimed to evoke the preparation of the 6th World Water Forum, where the UfM project tin Gaza will be discussed, as well as the needed actions towards the right to water access. Palestine and France also reaffirmed the importance of entry into force of the 1997 UN Convention which encourages the cooperation between countries who share water courses.
On 22 June 2011, the Union for the Mediterranean “labelled” its very first project which consists of the construction of a 100 million cubic meters desalination facility and distribution system in the Gaza strip that would help to address the major water deficit for a population of 1.6 million. The “labeling” of this large-scale project, submitted by the Secretariat’s Environment & Water Division in collaboration with the Palestinian Water Authority, by the representatives of the 43 UfM countries was partly based on a unanimous recommendation from the UfM’s Water Expert Group. This humanitarian project will contribute to job creation and future economic and sustainable development in that highly populated region of the Mediterranean.