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Sustainable Management of Oasis Ecosystems in Tunisia
Traditional oases in Tunisia have significant potential in terms of: intensive development leading to job creation; biodiversity support; diversification through innovative and green activities; and tourism based on exceptional natural beauty in the South. However, these oases face a number of threats. Traditional oases are characterized by: old plantations; three-layered vegetated surfaces; high-tree density (400 trees/ha); very fragmented and small sized individual plantations; low yields; and irrigation from declining water tables. In addition, poor marketing opportunities, limited credit, inheritance practices that continually subdivide land holdings and result in poor land management, and inappropriate tourist development have increased the overuse of natural resources, especially water. This, coupled with the breakdown of land management practices, has helped to increase salinization, loss of soil fertility and sand encroachment. Access to crop and livestock resources to cope with these conditions, and the increased pest and disease problems associated with biodiversity loss, are affecting the survival of oasis farmers. Other challenges include: limited opportunities for capacity development; inappropriate policies and legislative instruments; low level of involvement of local populations, particularly women, in decision-making processes; and the continuing loss of traditional knowledge.
This activity seeks to support the development of a coherent and comprehensive national strategy for the sustainable management of traditional oasis ecosystems in Tunisia, or an Oasis Participatory Development Plan (OPDP), which will involve all stakeholders. This strategy will provide a framework for initiatives aimed at supporting and improving the specific ecosystem services that oases provide, conservation and enhancement of the genetic diversity, and improving livelihoods of people living in traditional oases. The aim will be to develop and pilot a new dynamic participatory approach that enhances the resilience of the traditional oasis ecosystem and involves all relevant stakeholders at local and national levels. The studies supported by the project will build on the findings of a number of analytical studies already carried out by the Government and its development partners (such as the GIZ-supported study on sustainable management of oasis systems, including appropriate indicators, and the IUCN & UKaid study on natural resource governance), and enlarge their scope.
An overall strategic vision for the sustainable management of oasis ecosystems has been prepared, stakeholders have reviewed a comprehensive draft of the strategy, and a number of baseline studies have been produced. The OPDP framework was prepared and reviewed by stakeholders, and six oases were selected, representing a variety of Tunisian oasis ecosystems, and are currently under completion. In addition, a communications strategy and an action plan are being developed, with expected completion in March or April 2015.
An overall national strategic vision for the sustainable management of oasis ecosystems has been prepared. Stakeholders reviewed and approved the national strategy. The development of the strategy has been completed in the context of the World Bank (WB)/Global Environment Facility (GEF) Oasis project, by the elaboration of an action plan which was validated during a national workshop in September 2015.
The framework of an OPDP has been prepared and reviewed by stakeholders, and six oases were selected, representing a variety of Tunisian oasis ecosystems. The OPDP includes a number of priority community-based micro-projects, which translate the strategic vision into immediate investment priorities, including sustainable management of water and soils, protection of biodiversity and diversification of local livelihoods).
Several national workshops and regional consultations have been organized to disseminate, present and validate the strategy and the OPDPs with national and local stakeholders. A communication strategy has been developed and disseminated.
Author : World Bank
Last Updated : 05-23-2017