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This project is funded by
the European Union

Tunisia and Integrated Maritime Policy

Partner Countries

The project’s approaches at the national level are designed to be flexible; adaptable to a range of interests and capacities; and tailored to the specific needs of Partner Countries...

Specific objectives, needs and goals are developed in close coordination with each Partner Country, and – where Partner Countries express interest- a flexible “Roadmap” approach is to be developed both to structure the delivery of assistance and to define the long term visions and goals for individual Partner Countries.

Specific assistance can be delivered in a variety of forms, including national meetings or workshops between different maritime and coastal policies.

  • Tunisia and Integrated Maritime Policy

    General presentation: Maritime facs

    With a total area of 164,000 km², Tunisia is the smallest country in North Africa. Its coastline on the Mediterranean Sea is relatively long and stretching over 1300 km, limited on the west by Algeria and on the south by Libya.

    The Sicily channel (mandatory passage crossed by the maritime road connecting Suez to Gibraltar) is the sea arm located between Tunisia and Sicily; its narrowest part is located between Cap Feto and Cap Bon and is 145 kilometers wide. This channel represents an international maritime space: islands, maritime safety and security, environment, transport, fishing, etc.

    The Gulf of Gabes located on the eastern side of the country extends to the Tunisian-Libyan coast. It represents another important maritime zone, associated with important environmental, tourism and fishing challenges. The main cities and economic centers are located on the coast, and 76% of the urban population lives in coastal cities.

    Maritime and coastal assets
    Maritime and coastal policies

    Tunisia has not yet developed a real holistic or integrated maritime policy.

    For instance, there is no specific maritime governance structure at the level of the Government or the Parliament (neither at the decision making nor at the implementation level). Similarly, there is no national forum (maritime council, etc.) where all national maritime stakeholders may meet and discuss maritime issues.

    Most traditional maritime activities are based on explicit and clear sectoral strategies implemented by specialized sectoral agencies, relying on comprehensive legal frameworks that are mostly sector-specific. Frameworks usually include an environmental assessment study at the level of projects, but rarely constitute strategic environmental evaluations at the level of policies, plans or programs.

    Each sector developed specific resources (such as agencies and services) to conduct studies, surveillance or sea police operations. Some coordination and cooperation exists at the operational level: legislation (through the National Sea Rights Commission created in 1998) and sea operations.

    Sectoral or integrated instruments and approaches are progressively developed (integrated management of coastal areas, integrated maritime control and supervision).

    There are needs in terms of knowledge of the marine environment and maritime activities.

    Tunisia did create an exclusive economic area (EEZ but is not yet demarcated) and signed various agreements with neighboring countries concerning maritime borders. There are agreements to demarcate the continental shelf. Tunisia is part of all main international maritime agreements (international maritime organization OMI, Barcelona Convention …).

    Outlook on the development of a national maritime policy

    Integrated approaches constitute possible solutions for Tunisia to benefit from opportunities and face coastal and maritime challenges.

    The development of these approaches must be made in the framework of a national governance structure at the Governmental level. It should also be based on the full diagnosis of the national maritime situation and the regional context, as well as on a prospective study at the national level involving various maritime stakeholders in order to identify opportunities, threats and possible evolutions, and to define a general maritime strategy at the national level unifying all sectoral strategies in coherence with strategies developed at the regional level.

    Shortfalls identified in terms of the availability of and access to data must be addressed as a priority.