The EU funded “Water and Environment Support (WES) in the ENI Neighbourhood South Region” project in cooperation with the Tunisian Government (Ministries of Environment and of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries) organised a WES National Meeting on the 28th of November 2023 in Tunis, to present an overview of WES Activities developed in Tunisia and discuss the way forward.

More than 300 key Tunisian stakeholders have gained valuable knowledge and experience by actively participating in 5 National Activities (3 for the environment and 2 for the water sector) and 12 Regional and 3 Horizontal WES Activities.

The event was honored by the Minister of the Environment, H.E. Ms Leila Chikhaoui Mahdaoui.

H.E. Ms Leila Chikhaoui Mahdaoui, in her opening speech, underlined the fact that 3 WES environment activities were designed and implemented in cooperation with the Ministry and highlighted their successful alignment with national strategies addressing critical areas such as waste management, particularly in managing plastic waste, climate change mitigation, and the green transition as well as advancing the national agenda for the establishment of sustainable public procurement services.

Mr Gianfranco Bochicchio, Deputy Head of the European Delegation in Tunisia, emphasized the importance of the WES project, funded by the EU, in the development of a very large number of regional activities. of a strong notable impact on the field of water and the environment, which ensured the active participation of many Tunisians, as well as experts from other partner countries of the WES project in the MENA region since 2019.

The results of WES Environment and Water National Activities in the country were indeed significant.

The Environment Activities included: Coaching sessions; Workshops; Field Visits; Production of technical guides and manuals; Roadmaps; Project proposal for funding and Policy notes, in three key sectors, namely:

Environment Activity 1, on Sustainable Management of Construction and Demolition Wastes.

Environment Activity 2, on Practices Related to Tomato Cultivation and Processing in Seven Industrial Units.

Environment Activity 3, on Strengthening Political and Legal Measures for the Reduction and Prohibition of Certain Types of Single-Use Plastics (SUPs).

The Water Activities included: Trainings; Workshops; follow up meeting with the donors; Consultations; Study Visits, Production of Manuals, Guides and Brochures on irrigation technologies and management; Sedimentation models, Design of water and soil retention measures and Information Notes, in two key sectors, namely:

Water Activity 1, on Collective Irrigation Networks with Emphasis on Water Saving and Modern Irrigation Technologies.

Water Activity 2, on Measures that can Increase Water Storage in two Dams in Tunisia (Lebna And Siliana), through Natural Water and Soil Retention Measures.

Mr. Paolo Scialla, of the EUD in Tunisia presented key EU environmental activities in Tunisia; Ms. Dhekra Gharbi, Head of UGPO – EcoPact at the Ministry of the Environment presented the Integrated project for the depollution of the Lake Bizerte region; Mr. Giuseppe Cammarata, Mr. Fethi Bouksila and Ms. Mayssa Hamdaoui presented the activities of the WISPER Project, and ARESET GIZ, Tunisia, respectively.

Professor Michael Scoullos, WES Team Leader, following the presentation of the WES work program at national and regional level, its achievements and lessons learned, expressed the satisfaction of the WES Project for the close cooperation with the Tunisian Authorities and the EU Delegation in providing useful assistance to the country. He also announced that WES, in its next phase 2024-2028, will have the opportunity for further cooperation and synergies. Prof. Scoullos thanked both the Environment Focal Point, Ms. Sabria Bnouni Ben Ammar, Ministry of the Environment, Mr. Karim Sahnoun, Director of International Cooperation, Ministry of the Environment and Mr. Slaheddine Ounissi, Water Focal Point, Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries, as well as the coordinating teams of CITET and ANPE for their valuable contributions.

More than 70 representatives of Ministries, Institutions and Agencies involved in the water, irrigation, agriculture, environment, as well as representatives of local Authorities, the private sector, experts, associations and media participated in this National Meeting and briefly discussed proposed priorities for the way forward.