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Slovenia allocates EUR 500,000 for a desalination plant in Gaza

Ljubljana, 8 January 2019 – At a donor conference in Brussels in March 2018 dedicated to raising funds for the construction of a desalination plant in Gaza, Slovenia pledged a contribution of EUR 500,000. The contribution was transferred to the European Investment Bank trust fund at the end of last year.

 

Slovenia attaches great importance to the access of drinking water as a means for achieving peace and prosperity. It was in this spirit that the country also amended its Constitution to make access to drinking water a fundamental right. By contributing EUR 500,000, Slovenia will help the inhabitants of Gaza to implement this human right and contribute to preventing a humanitarian and ecological disaster. At the same time, the construction of the desalination plant will significantly improve security and development possibilities of the Gaza Strip.

 

The access to drinking water in Gaza is among the worst in the world: two million Palestinians in Gaza rely almost exclusively on the coastal aquifer as the only source of fresh water in the region and only 3% of the water complies with the World Health Organization’s drinking water quality standards. Several studies express caution about over-pumping the aquifer and warn that without radical measures this will lead to irreparable damage as well as to an ecological and humanitarian catastrophe already in this decade. The majority of people depend on small privately held units for the desalination of the brackish water, but the water produced in these units is of poor quality and the production is costly. After its construction, the desalination plant will supply drinking water to two million Gaza inhabitants. The project is worth 562.3 million; the European Commission will support it with EUR 70 million, and EU Member States, including Slovenia, will raise additional funds.

 

Within the framework of its global humanitarian efforts, Slovenia also supports other activities for assisting Palestinians. At the UNRWA extraordinary ministerial conference, held on 15 March 2018, it pledged a contribution of EUR 165,000 in the period between 2018 and 2020, and has already transferred the first part of the payment. Through the ITF - Enhancing Human Security, Slovenia also supports bilateral projects related to the health and psychosocial rehabilitation of Palestinian children, and trains experts in this field.