NGOs and CSOs discuss water-related challenges in Tunisia
Responding to the need to adapt to changing current and future conditions, civil society is expanding its role in sustainably managing water resources. Still, additional efforts are needed to get the general public and other water actors to work together more closely.
With this goal in mind, the WATER POrT team held a very interesting and successful workshop on April 14, 2016 in Tunis. The event brought together several civil society stakeholders from different Tunisian regions who are active in water resources management.
The workshop served a two-fold purpose: first, to allow the civil society representatives to become more familiar with the activities of the WATER SUM project’s WATER POrT component (especially those connected to its “dialogue and cooperation” cluster); and, second, to gain additional insight into water-related challenges from the public’s perspective.
Participants identified the main challenges of water resources management and suggested ways to approach them. Interestingly, the attendees emphasised how “old” water management techniques — “Majel”, for example —can help with challenges that are interconnected with rapidly changing climate conditions.
Other suggestions included: developing enhanced campaigns in schools to raise awareness of water scarcity and the importance of water saving; aligning local and national efforts with global initiatives, such as the SDGs and the post-COP21 agreement phase; augmenting media outreach and ensuring access to information; and strengthening coordination and dialogue between different water stakeholders.
Many participants also stressed the need for harnessing awareness raising to practical solutions, and argued that forward-looking planning can help ensure that project-inspired successes will continue long after a project closes.
The WATER POrT Team is currently building on the workshop outcomes to shape the upcoming “dialogue and cooperation” activities foreseen for 2016. These will include organising tailored communication and awareness-raising activities aimed at the wider public (as well as more specialised audiences), dedicated national and regional workshops at which civil society will have the chance to sit down and discuss across-the-board solutions with other water actors, and a support programme for empowering communities.