Connecting water and climate change challenges in Tunisia
The REC held the national workshop “Water Resources Management in a Changing Climate” on September 29 and 30, 2016, in Gammarth, Tunisia.
The workshop was organised in the framework of the WATER SUM project’s WATER POrT component and brought together national- and regional-level representatives from various technical sectors of the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries, as well as researchers, professionals and experts dealing with water and climate change issues within other Tunisian institutions.
The workshop’s first session provided an overview of climate change issues in Tunisia, with a closer focus on recent climate trends, as well as a summary of the country’s National Report on Climate Change. The following session introduced the Task Force on Climate Change, a body set up within the Ministry of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries that pulls together representatives from the ministry’s different units to act as a single reference body for all matters related to climate change.
In the second part of this session, Tunisian and international experts presented the current status of drought management in Tunisia and examples of how other countries cope with water-related extremes.
The third session focused on a more specific analysis of the existing practice framework concerning climate change issues in Tunisia. This session led to a lively discussion among the participants, which resulted in a better understanding of the national strategies linking water and climate change. It also generated exchange on how to improve the visibility and enhance the coordination of future synergies on climate change issues.
The day’s final session centred on fostering dialogue and cooperation among existing institutions. The participants, divided into three groups, were asked to discuss ideas on how to manage and improve knowledge and information sharing on water-related adaptation measures in Tunisia — both between different institutions and within individual institutions.
Day two of the workshop introduced tools, instruments and case studies on monitoring and detecting climate change effects in the MENA region, as well as other areas with similarly diverse hydrometeorological and climatic conditions. The participants took advantage of the working sessions’ hands-on approach and learned how to use the Flood and Drought Portal (www.flooddroughtmonitor.com/map) to facilitate the inclusion of information about floods and droughts and future scenarios into integrated water resources management (IWRM) planning, water safety planning (WSP), transboundary diagnostic analyses (TDA) and strategic action plans (SAPs).
As the workshop wound down, the participants engaged in an interactive exercise that led them to understand and convert different sources of satellite data linked to the Medjerda River Basin, and to use this crunched data in a planning context.
All of the participants praised the structure of the workshop, which created a purposeful balance between theoretical and practical sessions, and underlined the necessity for Tunisia to continue exploring the interlinkages between water management and climate change adaptation tools and solutions. Moreover, a few of the practitioners who participated in this workshop will be invited to join the "National Workshop on Overall Guiding Principles Concerning Flood Risk Management and Adaptation", scheduled to take place on October 18 in Tunisia.
Key messages and workshop documents and materials pertaining to the workshop “Water Resources Management in a Changing Climate” in Tunisia will be published in due course on the WATER POrT trainings/Workshops webpage.
A bespoke, similar national workshop is planned for October 24 and 25 in Jordan.
Photo gallery of the “Water Resources Management in a Changing Climate” workshop in Tunisia