The Project for the capacity building of the Joint Service Council for Solid Waste Management was launched on the 13th of May 2012 at Hebron Municipality as part of the Southern West Bank Solid Waste Management Project.
The project, with a total cost estimated at more than 1 million US dollars, shall be implemented with support from the Italian Government through the Italian Cooperation Agency and the Palestinian Ministry of Local Government in partnership with three Italian municipalities and the Palestinian Wastewater Engineers Group (PWEG).
The launching ceremony was attended by Hebron Mayor Khaled Osaily, Chairman of the Joint Council for Solid Waste Management in Hebron and Bethlehem Governorates, Dr. Victor Batarseh, Mayor of Bethlehem and Vice Chairman of the Council, Mr. Moussa Al Froukh, Mayor of S’air and member of the Council, Mr. Danieli Manchini, Deputy Mayor of Pisiolli (Italy), Mr. Guido Angellini, member of the Municipal Council of Capanori (Italy), Mr. Fabiano Martinelli, International Cooperation Officer at San Giolino Termi Municipality, Mr. Munther Hind, representative of PWEG, Eng. Yasser al Dweik, Executive Manager of the Joint Council and Eng. Joudeh Morkoss, Executive Manager of the Bethlehem Council.
At the beginning of the meeting, Osaily expressed his gratitude and that of the Palestinian people for Italy’s support of Palestinian institutions. “This support has greatly helped in improving citizens’ lives, developing service-providing institutions, supporting projects aimed at enhancing the quality of services and enhancing staff capacities. This important top-notch environmental and sanitation project shall serve 33 local councils in Hebron and Bethlehem Governorates. It shall also develop capacities for the safe collection and handling of solid waste and shall provide support to the Joint Service Council which was created through an ideal partnership between the two Governorates and which has succeeded despite some serious challenges. Cooperation between local councils constitutes a strategic approach to secure the best services to Palestinians in both Governorates. The implementation of the Project shall start in a few weeks when we receive the equipment and vehicles required for collecting and handling solid waste. Moreover, several studies shall be initiated on the most efficient ways to handle solid waste and on means to engage citizens and enhance the capacities of staff working in the field of solid waste management in all local councils which are part of the project”, Osaily said.
At the end of his speech, Osaily addressed his thanks and appreciation to the Italian Government, Italian Municipalities, the Italian Cooperation Agency and the Italian Representative Office in Palestine for the efforts they have made in preparation for this Project. “Hebron Municipality is keen on furthering cooperation with Italian Municipalities which I would like to invite to the “E-Municipality” Conference co-organized by Hebron Municipality and the Greater Amman Municipality at the end of June 2012”, he added.
Dr. Batarseh spoke about the importance given by Palestinian municipalities to the Solid Waste Management project as well as to the Government’s Strategic Plan for the development of this sector. “Local councils believe in the importance of cooperative partnerships to achieve success and complementarity with a view to providing better services at a lower cost. We must prepare a case study, assess the current situation in both Governorates, understand our environmental and sanitation contexts and communicate with inhabitants to ensure that we engage them and that we achieve the project’s desired results so it can positively impact Palestinians and their environment”, he added.
Mr. Manchini lauded this great cooperation with Palestinian municipalities. “We consider our partnerships with Palestinian municipalities as a step towards more cooperation and exchange of experiences. Italian municipalities have been working for many years to develop the management and recycling of solid waste and we have made great progress in this field that can be easily witnessed in our cities: the environment has improved at a lower cost to inhabitants. We hope to be able to transmit our experiences to you in this field”, he added.
At the end of the meeting, and prior to a visit to several sections at Hebron Municipality, Osaily offered his guests gifts that showcase the history and magnificent artifacts of Hebron.