Tunisia: Cop 25 - Tunisia to Propose Project for Sustainable Management of Oasis Ecosystems

Tunis/Tunisia — The project for the sustainable management of Eastern Ecosystems in Tunisia will be proposed for funding at the next COP 25 conference of parties to be held from December 2 to 13 in Madrid, said on Tuesday Basma Jbali, Secretary of State for Local Affairs and Environment.

This project, which has already been launched in 6 pilot oases, will be extended to the different Tunisian palm groves, she added, during a closing workshop of this project, held in Tunis.

According to the Secretary of State, this project has created 184 small businesses in different sectors and generated more than 1,400 jobs for women and youth in the six oases.

In this regard, the World Bank plans to mobilize US$ 50 million to expand this project in 126 traditional oases in Tunisia, said Antonius Verheijen, Director of the Bank's office in Tunisia, pointing out that this project has already borne fruit in some regions, notably in modernising the production system.

The project, which was launched in August 2014, over a period of 5 years, is financed by a grant of $5.7 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), through the World Bank. It was implemented by the Directorate General for the Environment and Quality of Life," said Mohamed Zmerli, Project Manager.

He added that 119 microprojects in different sectors such as biodiversity and sustainable water management have been carried out under the project for the sustainable management of Eastern Ecosystems, with a total cost of over 9.2 million dinars.

According to him, this project has been beneficial for the tourism sector as it has helped to develop ecological tourism and generate projects for unemployed young people.

However, despite its success, the project has not been able to solve some problems related to the proliferation of wild boars in oases, Mohamed Ben Younes, president of the development group at the Chbika oasis, told TAP.

Participants in this workshop pointed to other issues including the depletion of water resources, the degradation of irrigation water quality, increased pressure on natural resources and attacks by rodents and parasites.

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