Strengthening capacities and awareness on communication and cooperation related to water security challenges and water goals within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Tunis, Tunisia
The Workshop was designed to accommodate a strong participatory approach; it used a dynamic methodology that interwove frontal lectures, group discussions and working group sessions to foster dialogue and cooperation among diverse actors who operate at different governance levels.
The Workshop opened with a welcome note delivered by officials Mr. Ridha Gabouj and Mr. Sofian Meddeb of the Ministry of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries of Tunisia.
A stage-setting presentation introduced the centrality of water within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and provided crucial information about the sustainable development process post-2015. Specific attention was granted to SDG 6 (Ensure access to water and sanitation for all) and its cross-cutting nature, along with its inclusiveness. This session also allowed participants to better understand the collaborative nature of the SDGs and the importance of multi-level, inter-institutional and inter-institutional stakeholder engagement and dialogue to achieve the set SDG targets. The group discussion underscored the momentous shift from the MDGs, considered as silos with little or no interrelation to one another, to the SDGs, which are heavily interlinked, pull together all countries with no distinction in development standards, and require an inclusive approach in order to be fully attained.
The second session provided an overview of how Tunisia, and other countries, are approaching the challenge of implementing, monitoring and reporting progress on water-related development and SDG 6 targets, in the context of promoting a transformational approach to SDG implementation that accelerates collaborative knowledge creation and collective action and shifts the political-economic-environmental vision of our future. Policies, methodologies, best practices and tools were showcased, with a focus on how attaining the Global Goals benefits from coordinated action between local, national and regional players.
Participants then split into three small working groups to create a moment of dialogue between diverse stakeholders, operating at different levels within the country, to identify challenges and propose solutions and ideas to achieve the goals and targets set in SDG 6 as well as to fulfil the participatory approach advocated by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The leitmotiv of transformational approach through SDG implementation, explored in Session II, underpinned the group exercise. Outcomes and recommendations from the group exercise include:
- Importance of defining roles and responsibilities of the national/local authorities and communities and of involving all relevant actors from the planning phase of projects that support SDG6 progress and monitoring;
- Encourage action at local level to bring the public into the SDG picture and to boost engagement, increase ownership and reinforce trust between the public and the authorities;
- Map available human and financial resources that can be exploited for SDG6 implementation, and plan accordingly based on the available, identified resources;
- Agree on a common working methodology among stakeholders, involve research institutions and experts, and make use of innovative technology.
- Address shortfalls connected to specialized human resources and funding opportunities linked to SDGs. Capacity-building training and exchange of experts among institutions at different levels should be sought.
Day 2 of the workshop focused on Water Security and the Water, Energy and Food Nexus (WEF).
Session IV presented an integrated approach to water security that contributes to efforts to combat water scarcity, reduce the threat of conflict, halt environmental degradation and increase human wellbeing. Moreover, it underscored how water security is a keystone element in achieving the 2030 Agenda – not just for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 that focuses primarily on water security, but a number of targets embedded within other SDGs related to health, cities, consumption, marine resources, and terrestrial ecosystems. For the SDGs to succeed, water security must be achieved across all geographic scales – from international to national to sub-national to community – and across all social strata.
The next session focused on the dynamics of the water, energy and food sectors in Tunisia as drivers to develop effective strategies for the sustainable use of these resources. It also discussed how policies and projects that contemplate the Water, Food and Energy Security Nexus contribute to creating opportunities for sustainable growth and to achieving the SDGs, and it introduced tangible tools and examples that address the challenges posed by a nexus approach to global and local challenges.
The Working Groups Session
During the closing session, the WATER POrT E-Practicum – a data-base-like online tool, including a collection of good practices on water scarcity and drought management that can offer valuable lessons and prospects of repeatability – was also introduced.