On November 9, 2016, a REC delegation led by Ms. Jovanka Ignjatovic, REC senior expert and WATER SUM project manager, met with H.E Mr Abdallah Rebhi, state secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries of the Republic of Tunisia.
The meeting was an important opportunity for taking stock of and advancing those actions – such as integrated water resources management (IWRM), dialogue and cooperation, and adaptation to the impacts of climate change on water resources – that the Water Resources Management Good Practices and Knowledge Transfer (WATER POrT) component of the WATER SUM project is addressing across the country and, in particular, within the Medjerda River Basin.
H.E. Mr. Rebhi underlined the valuable synergy between WATER POrT activities and the goals enshrined in the ministry’s short- and medium-term strategies. The WATER POrT focus on capacity-building activities for young technicians and engineers and on water governance, which have been lacking in other, similar projects implemented in Tunisia, were also highlighted as added values. H.E. Mr. Rebhi also praised the inter-institutional approach embraced by the project, which is bringing together different water stakeholders and facilitating mutually beneficial dialogue and collaboration.
The discussion then moved on to support for purchasing targeted equipment and software, as well as for stepping up activities linked to flood risk management and control. H.E. Mr. Rebhi stressed the increasing threats to Tunisia's water resources caused by more frequent climate extremes, including floods and droughts.
Ms. Ignjatovic spoke about the REC’s interest in exploring additional cooperation opportunities with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries. She mentioned the organisation’s willingness to continue the good work carried out so far by building on the project’s results and on the water-related priorities and needs that have emerged over the past three years.
H.E. Mr. Rebhi closed the meeting by thanking the REC and the Government of Sweden for the support given to his ministry and to Tunisia through WATER SUM, and by wishing the team a successful continuation of the project.