Ceremony for the signature and adoption of the “Charter for the sustainable development of Lake Bizerte”

on 18 October 2012.

A ceremony took place at the Ministry of Environment on the 16th of October 2012 in celebration of the “Charter for the sustainable development of Lake Bizerte” which has been agreed by all of the stakeholders that play a role in its integrated management. Present at the ceremony were Mrs. Mamia El Banna, Minister of Environment, Mr. Mohamed Lamine Chakhari, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mr. Belgac em Ayed, Director General of Infrastructure at the Ministry for Regional Development and Planning, Mr. Abderazak Ben Khlifa, Governor of Bizerte, Mrs. Nathalie Clémence of the European Investment Bank, M. Nick Marchesi, of MeHSIP-PPIF and Prof. Michael Scoullos, of H2020 CB/MEP.

Lake Bizerte is a priority hot spot in Tunisia characterized by multiple sources of land based pollution (industrial emissions, agricultural practices, solid waste and sanitation in terms of waste water disposal, transport, construction activities, etc.). The Horizon 2020 Initiative, through the European Investment Bank (EIB), supports an important investment in the region for the abatement of pollution deriving mostly from industrial activities, on the basis of the preparatory work carried out by the Mediterranean Hot Spot Investment Programme Project Preparation and Implementation Facility (MeHSIP-PPIF) under the supervision of the Tunisian Ministry of Environment.

In support of the ongoing preparatory works undertaken by MeHSIP-PPIF for financing the project implementation, the European Union project Capacity Building/Mediterranean Environment Programme, in close collaboration with the Tunisian Government and MeHSIP-PPIF, organised a workshop last June tailored to the context of Lake of Bizerte that managed to convene all stakeholders around one table and agree on a Charter that will ensure the protection and sustainable development of the lake (lagoon) from all sources of pollution. This Charter not only commits local authorities and stakeholders but also establishes a real national ownership and ensures sustainability of the depollution investments.

The consultation process was initiated already at the project inception phase and has progressed with the project to the scoping and diagnosis phases. Consultations have helped the project in identifying main polluting hotspots, including a number that were not initially considered. This open and transparent process not only supports ownership by stakeholders and national counterparts, it also establishes Horizon 2020 and MeHSIP-PPIF as a credible initiative towards real pollution abatement around the Mediterranean Sea. Further, it also encourages the Government to commit towards effectively controlling pollution around Lake Bizerte given the achieved consensus of all concerned stakeholders and their active participation in shaping an integrated depollution initiative of the lake.

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