Tunis/Tunisia — Thirty-six thousand jobs will be lost by 2050 in Tunisia, in agriculture and tourism, as a result of climate change.
"These losses are the result of the vulnerability of the Tunisian coastline. The rise of sea level by 30 to 50 cm will certainly lead to various direct and indirect socio-economic impacts," said Minister of Local Affairs and Environment Riadh Mouakher at a meeting organised on Tuesday by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on planning and coastal resilience.
"One of our urgent needs today is to find the most effective ways to address the degradation of vulnerable coastal ecosystems due to the pressure of climate change," the Minister pointed out.
In the agriculture sector, the environment ministry projects a flood loss of about 16,000 hectares of agricultural land in low-lying coastal areas and about 700,000 hectares of built-up areas.
For tourism, climate change will lead to the deterioration of beach front hotels, with a total capacity of around 30,000 beds, due to the withdrawal of beaches and also port and coastal infrastructures.
The productive capital losses caused by this damage are worth about $2 billion (about 5.6 billion dinars).
The annual production losses are estimated at about 0.5% of the current GDP, mainly from tourism (55%) and agriculture (45%).
Tunisia provides, among other priority measures for adaptation to climate change on the coast, rehabilitation and fight against coastal erosion.
According to a diagnosis made by the Coastal Protection and Planning Agency (APAL) on the Tunisian coast, there are about 100 kilometres subjected to erosion requiring interventions. Projects are already under way.
Coastal risks in Arab and African countries are at heart of works of the Africa-Arab Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, held in Tunis October 9-13, with the support of the United Nations.