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20 Years of Dutch-Palestinian Relations: From Perceptions to Cooperation. Associate Professor of Sanitary & Environmental Engineering Institute of Environmental & Water Studies (IEWS) Birzeit University (BZU), Birzeit, Palestine. Rashed Al-Sa`ed. First Palestinian Water Forum

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20 years of dutch palestinian relations from perceptions to cooperation
20 Years of Dutch-Palestinian Relations: From Perceptions to Cooperation

Associate Professor of Sanitary & Environmental Engineering

Institute of Environmental & Water Studies (IEWS)

Birzeit University (BZU), Birzeit, Palestine

  • Rashed Al-Sa`ed

First Palestinian Water Forum

28 May 2014, Birzeit University, Palestine


  • Trends in Palestinian water and sanitation services

  • Cooperation between Dutch academic institutions-BZU in water and sanitation sectors

    • Training & MSc programs; R&D; partnership and networking

  • Was the cooperation successful?

    • Measurable impacts in facts and figures

    • Pitfalls and setbacks

  • And what next?

Water and sanitation services in palestine
Water and Sanitation Services in Palestine:

Current Main Trends

  • Environmental awareness

  • Regulation [N & P & odors)

  • Energy costs

  • Sludge disposal costs

  • Chemicals costs

  • Fresh water price

  • Regional political constraints

  • Water availability/accessibility

  • Available land for WWTPs

  • Financial aids for desalination

  • Infrastructure quality (aging)

  • Cost recovery/sustainability

  • Water governance (enforcement)

Dutch Academic Institutions-BZU Cooperation

1994: First training programs in water and sanitation

IHE-Delft and Birzeit University organized a Training Program for about 40 Palestinian Professionals

  • Technical Training Modules

  • IWRM, hydrology, groundwater modeling

  • Water quality, supply and treatment

  • Wastewater engineering, facility design, OM&R

  • Waste management, cleaner production, landfills

Germany: GIZ [GTZ-Invent] Technical Training Program, 1995

Dutch Academic Institutions-BZU Cooperation

[1994 - 1998] Capacity Building-M.Sc. Research

  • About 70 Palestinians got NFP fellowships for M.Sc. studies at IHE-Delft, The Netherlands

[1997 - 2004] Capacity Building-M.Sc. & Ph.D. Research

  • BZU-IHE launched a joint project “WAterSector CApacity Building in PALestine” (WASCAPAL)

    • Establishing two M.Sc. programs in Water Sciences and Water Engineering as well as a water laboratory at Birzeit University

    • Short-Intensive educational missions from IHE staff at BZU

    • Two Ph.D. candidates obtained their degrees from TU-Delft and UNESCO-IHE and returned to work at Birzeit University

Dutch Academic Institutions-BZU Cooperation

[1997 - 2004] Capacity Building-M.Sc. & Ph.D. Research

  • BZU- Wageningen Universitylaunched a joint project “Capacity building on Wastewater Valorization for Agricultural production in the Middle East area by using low-cost treatment technologies (WASTEVAL I; WASTEVAL II)

    • Selective Palestinian M.Sc. students obtained fellowships at BZU

    • One PhD candidate obtained his degree from Wageningen University and returned to work at Birzeit University

Alternative Treatment Technologies & Effluent Reclamation for Reuse

  • Reclamation option & reuse guideline

  • Hygienic aspects and effluent quality

Dutch Academic Institutions-BZU Cooperation

  • [2001] Institute of Water Studies (IWS)

  • IWS was created and officially registered at Birzeit University

  • IHE short education missions with 2 local staff members

  • [2001] Partnership for Water Education and Research (PoWER)

    • Lead by UNESCO-IHE and jointly conducted by other 17 international academic and research agencies including IWS

    • IWS obtained the status as a “Collaborative Centre of UNESCO-IHE Institute of Water Education”.

Dutch Academic Institutions-BZU Cooperation

  • [2002-2014]Supported by PoWER initiative, IEWS was involved in a large number of joint research and educational projects

    • Many small research projects were conducted

    • PoWER Newsletter edited and issued by IEWS [12 issues]

    • One Ph.D. returnee got a post-doctoral position

  • [2007] IWS restructured into Institute of Environmental and Water Studies (IEWS)

    • TEMPUS, EU funded project lead by BZU, the MSc programs were upgraded to “Water and Environmental Engineering” & “Water and Environmental Sciences”

    • New M.Sc. Courses developed and old ones updated

Dutch Academic Institutions-BZU Cooperation

  • [2012-2016] Palestinian-Dutch Academic Consortium on Water (PADUCO)

  • PADUCO was established between 5 Palestinian Universities (Birzeit, An-Najah, Al-Quds, Kadoorie, and Polytechnic) and

  • 5 Dutch Universities (Twente, Maastricht School of Management, TU-Delft, Wageningen and UNESCO-IHE)

  • Small joint research projects are screened and financially supported for the first phase: M.Sc. Fellowships, pilot & lab scale units, etc..

  • The consortium is supported by the Netherlands Representative Office in Ramallah [NRO-Ramallah]

Was Cooperation Successful?

  • Measurable impacts in facts and figures

  • M.Sc. Programs:

  • More than 150 students graduated from BZU M.Sc. Programs

  • Tens of M.Sc. Alumni have lead positions in governmental agencies, NGOs, and private sector

  • 14 Alumni of BZU M.Sc. Programs got Ph.D. degrees and are working

  • R&D projects:

  • Three Ph.D. holders are working at BZU

  • More than 50 article published in refereed journals [5 PhD faculty]

  • Research Lab upgraded with equipment, bench scale pilots and lab tools

  • Partnerships & Community Services:

  • Sustainable partnerships and durable networking with Dutch Universities

  • Several local training and community service programs conducted

  • Feasibility and detailed design of sanitation infrastructures performed

Was Cooperation Successful?

  • Pitfalls and setbacks

  • Former Head of M.Sc. Programs left while being abroad

  • A Ph.D. candidate quitted amid of her thesis works [Sanitary]

  • A Ph.D. candidate failed finalizing his Ph.D. proposal [Hydrology]

  • A Ph.D. candidate was about to leave during his final thesis writing

  • A Ph.D. candidate faced difficulties performing experimental works locally

  • M.Sc. Degree in Hydrology concentration frozen

  • Decreased enrolment of new students in M.Sc. Programs [Science]

  • Little staff exchange between partnerships members

  • Occasional BZU reforms in administrative and academic regulations

And what next forum topics
And What Next?Forum Topics

  • Gaza crises reduction: water, sanitation and energy?

  • Role of private sector: PPT initiatives?

  • How link R&D efforts to the national sector needs?

  • Improve employment, governance & donor aid coordination?

Through dry, still water

and energy rich!