Simplified Peer Review Mechanism (SIMPEER) - Mission to Tunisia

The project team (Wafa Essahli and Spyros Kouvelis) of the Activity "Simplified Peer Review Mechanism (SIMPEER)" carried out a mission to Tunisia, from 23 to 25 September 2019, organized in cooperation with the General Directorate of Sustainable Development of the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development. The team was led by Elen Lemaître-Curi, Director of Plan Bleu.

During the first two days, the SIMPEER team, accompanied by its Tunisian national correspondents, was received by heads of central administrations (Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries - Ministry of Industry - National Agency of energy management - National Office of Tunisian Tourism - Ministry of Development, Investment and International Cooperation with its General Committee for Sectoral and Regional Development and its General Commissariat for Regional Development) and the private sector (Tunisian Union of industry, commerce and crafts - Tunisian professional association of banks and financial institutions). A meeting with representatives of civil society was also organized with the  Officer in charge of relations with the associations of the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

These bilateral meetings helped to identify the main achievements of stakeholders in sustainable development, their implications for the development and implementation of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSSD) and the constraints that have marked its implementation. 

The third day of the mission was devoted to a plenary meeting co-chaired by Mosbah Abaza, Director of Sustainable Development, and Elen Lemaître-Curi. This interactive meeting brought together about fifty participants representing the different ministerial departments of the Tunisian government, as well as national stakeholders in the field of environment and sustainable development of the central and northern regions of Tunisia. The high number of participants at this meeting attests to the interest of national decision-makers and stakeholders for the 2016-2020 NSSD and regional cooperation issues through the SIMPEER process.

The discussions allowed to deepen the analysis and the synthesis of the processes and structures related to sustainable development in Tunisia, while putting them in perspective for the revision of the NSSD 2016-2020.

Previously, Wafa Essahli participated in regional meetings organized by the Directorate General for Sustainable Development in Gabes (South Region, Thursday, September 19, 2019) and Kairouan (Central Region, Friday, September 20, 2019) where the same questions related to the analysis of the process of developing and implementing the NSSD were discussed with the representatives of the decentralized administrations of the State, local authorities and associations. In the current context of decentralization, participants at both meetings emphasized the increasingly important role that local and regional levels must play in integrating sustainability principles into the planning stage of development, taking into account specificities and local potentialities to be valued.

Recall that SIMPEER, a Simplified Peer Review Mechanism, is implemented to facilitate dialogue and exchange of experiences between Mediterranean countries, as well as to facilitate the appropriation of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development 2016- 2025 (MSSD 2016-2025).

In accordance with the methodology tested as part of the SIMPEER Activity (2016-2017), the consultation exercise conducted during this mission focused on the five key dimensions of NSSDs that are put into perspective with the MSSD 2016-2025 and the global specifications of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The results of this consultation will enrich the national report prepared from a synthesis of national legislative, regulatory and policy documents related to sustainable development.

This national report will be debated during the Peer Review Meeting that will bring together, at the beginning of November 2019 in Marseille, France, the three volunteer countries for this second SIMPEER 2018-2019 exercise, namely Albania, Egypt and Tunisia. The volunteer countries in the first pilot exercise 2016-2017 (France, Morocco and Montenegro) will also participate in this peer review meeting to bring their feedback and ensure the continuity of the process.

The country mission is at the heart of the SIMPEER process; it facilitates the appropriation, by the national stakeholders, of the MSSD 2016-2025 which can be considered as a regional variation of the global SDGs and to strengthen the dialogue between the various stakeholders around the NSSD.

Plan Bleu would like to thank its correspondents, for the SIMPEER activity, to the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, in particular Lotfi Ben Said, Director General of Sustainable Development, Mosbah Abaza, Director of Studies and Environmental Planning, Nahla Ouni, Deputy Director of Processes and Abderrajah Salhi, Head of Department at General Directorate of Sustainable Development.