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Meeting brings together donors, stakeholders to mobilise support for National Water Carrier Project

Deadline for prequalified companies to submit technical, financial offers extended until July 3

By JT - Mar 29,2023 - Last updated at Mar 29,2023

Officials during a meeting hosted by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation to discuss the developments of the Aqaba-Amman National Water Carrier Project for Water Desalination and Transport on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of Planning Ministry)

AMMAN — The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation on Wednesday hosted a meeting that brought together ambassadors and representatives of donor countries of the Kingdom and international banks and financing institutions to acquaint them with the developments of the Aqaba-Amman National Water Carrier Project for Water Desalination and Transport. 

The meeting also sought to mobilise further funding for this strategic project and follow up on the outcomes of the project's pledging conference held in March last year, according to a Planning Ministry statement.

This meeting comes in light of the importance of this strategic national project, which is considered the top priority for water security on the agenda of the government's executive programme within the Economic Modernisation Vision 2023-2033. 

The meeting also aimed to emphasise the importance of providing further grants to this vital project, which will provide approximately 300 million cubic metres of desalinated water annually to various governorates of the Kingdom.

During the meeting, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Zeina Toukan reviewed the Kingdom's water sector and the government's efforts in this regard, including the National Water Strategy (2023-2040) and the roadmap for the financial sustainability of the water sector, and the National Water Loss Strategy (2022-2040).

Toukan noted that the National Water Carrier Project is in line with the government's efforts to implement vital projects to address water loss, reviewing top challenges at the current stage as a result of the pressures of the Syrian refugee crisis, the effects of climate change and population growth.

The minister acquainted attendees with the various facilities provided to the project by the government, mainly preferential treatment relating to arrangements for the project's access to its energy needs, and reviewed ways of coordinating with various bodies to consolidate coordination and follow-up mechanisms.

She also emphasised that in the coming period, coordination with development partners interested in supporting the project will be intensified on the available technical options to develop a framework governing the management of donor commitments from grants and concessional loans, including the government's contribution, in order to ensure that these pledges and contributions reach the project during the implementation process as planned.

The minister reiterated her gratitude to donor countries and international institutions for the pledges they have made since the project's pledging conference in March last year, which amounted to $2.4 billion in development and investment grants and loans, including grants worth $472.2 million, $694 million in development loans and $1.28 billion in investment loans to the project's developer.

Government officials also thanked USAID for the technical support provided to this project from its early stages, particularly in the development of studies and designs related to the project, the development of its documents and the provision of technical support to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation in following up with the preparations for the project at all stages. 

They also expressed appreciation of the European Investment Bank for its contribution to the preparation of environmental and social studies of the project.

Prime Minister for Economic Affairs and Minister of State for Public Sector Modernisation Nasser Shraideh stressed that the National Water Carrier is the most important project on the government's agenda to overcome the growing challenges facing the water sector, which were exacerbated by the consequences of hosting Syrian refugees. 

Shraideh added that the project will serve all residents of the Kingdom, noting that the project is in line with the government's plans and strategies for the water sector and has followed international best practices in its design in terms of adhering to environmental requirements and using renewable sources to secure its energy needs.

Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Najjar briefed the participants on the technical aspects of the preparation of the project and the steps that have been achieved from the tender and the amendments that have been approved to date, in coordination with donors, financers and coalitions eligible to implement the project.

Najjar also said that the deadline for prequalified companies to submit technical and financial offers has been extended until July 3. 

The attendees expressed their understanding of the strategic importance of this project for Jordan, given the scarcity of available water resources and its importance in the water sector, which is prioritised on their development agenda at the current stage, the statement said. 

They also expressed the support of their countries and institutions for the government's efforts towards all the requirements for translating this project on the ground and their commitment to supporting the project by possible means, stressing the continued partnership with the government to support and implement the project, according to the statement.

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