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EU grants to support water, sanitation projects in northern region

By JT - Dec 24,2016 - Last updated at Dec 24,2016

Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury signs an EU grant agreement in Amman in this photo released Saturday (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation)

AMMAN — EU grants to Jordan for water and sanitation work, worth 40 million euros (around JD30 million), were signed by Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury as part of the EU’s support for Jordan’s response to the Syrian crisis, the ministry said on Saturday. 

The new water and sanitation projects are intended to help Jordanian host communities and the large Syrian refugee population in the Kingdom, where over 1.3 million Syrians currently live. 

The grants are allocated for the expansion and improvement of water networks in Irbid and Ramtha, the connection of sewage networks to the wastewater disposal network in currently underserved areas in east and west Irbid, and to enhance the capacities of Yarmouk Water Company, the ministry said in a statement. 

Fakhoury signed two grants which will be administered by the French Development Agency (FDA). 

Serge Snrech, the director of the FDA in Amman; EU Ambassador to Jordan Andrea Matteo Fontana; and French Ambassador David Bertolotti attended the signing ceremony.

Fakhoury noted that the total cost of the project would be 144 million euros, with 50 per cent being covered by soft loans from the AFD and the German Development Bank (KfW), with the rest to be received in grants from the KfW and the EU. 

On November 30, the AFD signed a highly concessional loan with the Kingdom for the project, worth 32 million euros. It is expected that further agreements will be signed in early 2017 with the KfW for the remaining funding, the statement said. 

Fakhoury explained that the EU funding was divided into two parts, with the first grant of 21 million euros being provided by the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis. 

The Water Authority of Jordan will manage 11 million euros from this grant to support water distribution networks in Irbid, 80km north of Amman, while the AFD will manage 10 million euros in order to provide access to water for vulnerable Jordanians and Syrians. 

The second part of the grant, worth 19 million euros, is a contribution by the EU for the Neighbourhood Investment Facility. 

Fakhoury said he considers the funding, with the AFD as lead donor, to be an important response by the donors to help mitigate the consequences of the Syrian crisis in Jordan, and to improve the Kingdom’s development and resilience. 

“This is a project that has important social aspects promoting cooperation between communities in sharing water resources and targeting vulnerable households,” the statement quoted Fontana as saying at the signing ceremony.

“This joint European effort in this region is another sign of the continuous appreciation of the EU, its member states and the international community for Jordan’s efforts in addressing the Syrian crisis,” he added.

The funding comes in the context of the London donor conference that was held in February, in which donor countries pledged to support the region to deal with the consequences of the continuing war in Syria. 

As well as Jordan, donors also pledged support to Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. 

 

As part of the Jordan Response Plan, it is estimated that around $8 billion of international support will be needed for 2016-2018, the ministry statement said. 

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