Tunisia is taking part in the Summit on Climate Change, held in Copenhagen which started focusing on ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through an international agreement, as well as preventing global warming.
Tunisia has adhered to major international efforts aimed at reducing pressure on natural resources and limiting gas emissions.
In his address to the Euro-African Summit in Lisbon on December 2007, President Ben Ali advocated the necessity to sustain international cooperation and assist developing countries to cope with climate change and reduce the development gap between countries.
Tunisia has also hosted several events and conferences on climate change such as the recent “International Solidarity conference for Strategies to tackle Climate Change”, several of whose decisions, have been adopted in regional and international meetings.
Tunisia is also preparing prospective studies in order to preserve natural resources and economic activities, including those related to strategies adopted in the agricultural sector and ecosystems to cope with climate change.
Tunisia began the implementation of projects to reduce gas emissions, under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). So far, 28 projects have been set up in the sectors of energy, waste management, industrial methods, transportation, agriculture and forestry, apart from future projects funded by international cooperation
The Tunisian ministries have a comprehensive report at their disposal which identifies the regional impacts of climate change. Key decision-makers in all sectors at risk as a result of climate change can refer to these findings and forecasts in order to adopt appropriate measures. The adaptation strategy and action plan for the agricultural sector were coordinated and agreed with all relevant sectors and institutions. It became apparent that the climate problems cannot be resolved by the agricultural sector alone but require a coordinated inter-sectoral approach.
The shared understanding of the problem makes it easier to undertake the adaptation work which is now required.
The National Adaptation Strategy contains detailed proposals and criteria for the authorities on adaptation to climate change and the specific measures which must now be implemented.
As the next step, the findings should be extended to the health, coastal protection and tourism sectors as well.
The work on the adaptation strategy also generated considerable interest among the Tunisian public. A number of newspapers, radio and TV stations followed the project work and reported on the conferences that took place.
This did much to raise general awareness of climate change and triggered a lively public debate about its impacts in Tunisia.
Tunisia calls on developed countries to be more committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors, because of the historical, present and direct responsibility to climate change; and that the post 2012 period should include quantitative targets with emphasis that adopted measures and policies to achieve these targets do not adversely affect sustainable development in developing countries.
It thinks that actions to the benefits of developing countries should rise to the level of international commitments agreed upon and the challenges posed by climate change, and support currently available mechanisms, especially the clean development mechanism, as well as funding mechanisms and Funds that emerged from the Kyoto Protocol but not yet into force.
Finally, Tunisia asks developed countries to provide the necessary support for technology transfer, capacity-building and financing to undertake a deeper and more comprehensive assessment of the potential impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable developing countries, including the Arab countries, to identify priorities and implement mitigation and adaptation programs to climate change, and impacts of mitigation measures.
In short,, the international community is increasingly being urged to give a concrete meaning to international solidarity, particularly through implementing adequate measures, mechanisms and adaptation programmes to tackle climate change, but also through financing the Sustainable Development Programme with a view to bringing the world as close as possible to the targets defined by the UN Millennium Project (2005) and the decision of the Gleneagles G8 Summit (2005).