On March 12, 2020, Mr. Jean Pierre Sacaze and Mr. Quentin Peignaux in charge of the Environment, Energy and Climate Programme at the European Union Delegation to Tunisia visited Nabeul commune. This visit took place within the framework of the Clima-Med project and in synergy with the bilateral environmental project being set up by the EUD in Tunisia.

Ms. Basma Maatoug, Mayor of Nabeul, and her colleagues welcomed the guests at the town hall with a speech and presented a brief overview of the municipality. As the administrative center of Nabeul governorate, one of the most important governorates in Tunisia, this municipality is home to a population of about 80,000 inhabitants with a surface area of 7200 Ha (the urban area of 1300 Ha and the rural area of 5900 Ha).

The coordinator of Clima-Med in Nabeul presented the project progress accomplished so far as well as the content of the two workshops that took place in October 8–10 2019 and January 21–23 2020 during which the development of the Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan (SEACAP) in Nabeul was launched and action fiches on climate projects have been developed.

Some of these actions are: :

  • The Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI) established as part of the Clima-Med project which involves collecting raw data on energy consumption by various properties across the municipality. This data will then be used at a later stage to develop the municipality’s SEACAP.
  • Submitting the proposal of an adaptation action regarding the protection of the city against floods and the rehabilitation of the small crafts district (pottery) known as “hirafiyin.” This would involve replacing traditional ovens with a common solar oven as a mitigating action.
  • Presenting previous projects that are part of the environmental protection framework such as COOP-VERD: Cooperation for the valuation of the use of recycling and recovery of waste in the municipality of Nabeul. This project was financed by the Barcelona Metropolitan area and the municipality of Barcelona, to ensure the creation and operation of the Eco-Point—a space dedicated for the purchase, storage, sorting and sale of recoverable waste (plastic).

Additionally, the representatives of the EUD announced the availability of funds that are intended for the communes through the European Bank. These funds would be transferred to the communes based on projects and through State structures such as the Caisse des prêts et de Soutien des Collectivités Locales (CPSCL).

They also emphasized the role of the Agence nationale de protection de l’environnement (ANPE) as an intermediary body between the bank and the communes to manage projects that tackle climate and environmental subjects such as those currently financed by the bank through the Agence nationale de la maitrise de l’énergie (ANME).

The idea of inter-communality, which refers to joint projects between neighboring communes was also discussed, especially since Nabeul has already announced two agreements with six neighboring communes. The first one is part of a waste transfer and recovery project and the second involves establishing an Urban Mobility Plan (UMP). A management structure for these inter-communal projects is needed.

The second part of the morning was set aside for field visits as part of the monitoring of European Union funded projects. The team first visited the photovoltaic station at the commune’s headquarters (financed under the SUDEP project) which supplies part of the public lighting and the lighting of the commune.

It then continued on to the ETE+ association (Eco-tourism and Environment), an NGO working on environmental issues. The president of the association presented the following projects:

  • The green waste composting at the source project: This will enable a 70% reduction of household waste by raising awareness among citizens, encouraging them to perform the selective sorting of the kitchen and garden to create a compost that can be used as fertilizer for plants.
  • The reforestation project upstream from the city of Nabeul which aims to stabilise the land, particularly since the floods of 22 September 2018 , and is operated in collaboration with the forestry services and water conservation services from the Ministry of Agriculture. It involves undertaking water and soil conservation works by earthworks to create carbon sinks around the town (with Eucalyptus, Acacia trees, etc)
  • The ANME’s Energy Climate Information Service Office project will finance this action at the local level according to an annual action plan; the training of the association’s members and the fitting-out of the office will be financed by AFD
  • Capacity building missions among youth through which young academics collaborate and participate in these projects all while benefiting from training sessions related to environment and climate. This approach was particularly appreciated by the EUD team in Tunisia, as it will enable the integration of young graduates into professional life with the creation of small companies and job possibilities.

The final visit of the day was made to the Eco-point in Nabeul, located at the municipal depot. Its objective is to contribute to the development of the sorting and recoverable waste collection by encouraging informal garbage collectors and supporting them to improve their living and working conditions, by means of proposing the following benefits: :

  • Payment for recyclable waste in cash, at market rates, taking into account the need to ensure that informal garbage collectors are provided with stable incomes.
  • Providing social security coverage for garbage collectors who commit to regularly resell their goods to the Eco-Point.
  • The provision of full and adapted work outfits.
  • The periodic organisation of medical monitoring days.

In return, waste collectors commit, in writing, to comply with a certain number of rules defined in consultation with them. Management of the Eco-Point is guaranteed by the ETE+ Association as part of the agreement signed between them and Nabeul municipality. It will be supervised in a completely transparent manner through a steering committee chaired by Nabeul Municipality, with the participation of representatives from ETE+ Association, ANGED, two representatives of the garbage collectors (1 man/1 woman) and any other designated stakeholders identified according to their qualifications.

The EUD in Tunisia was warmly thanked for its commitment to projects which tackle climate and environment at local level, and which are the main focus of communal work. For its part, the Clima-Med project will seek greater synergy between all these projects through its 3 components, the development of the SEACAPs, and providing support to the commune of Nabeul to identify and formulate other urgent medium- and long-term actions for climate mitigation and adaptation.