Tunisian Youth from Ghar El Melh discusses Green Jobs opportunities

Youth representatives from Ghar El Melh, some 60 Km north of Tunis gathered on 24 June 2019, to identify options for green employment in their home area, also interacting with local authorities responsible for promoting employability (The Employment Office of Utique). During the Workshop on“First Green Jobs”) participants enhanced their understanding on green economy and its role in sustainably managing natural resources while providing opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship.

The Workshop kicked-off a process of establishing a circle of Youth, aged from 25 to 35, to assist them design a green-projects trajectory, from conceiving them to making them happen. The process aims at asssiting employability opportunities while tackling reasons that may lead Youth to internal or cross-country migration in the area of the extended Ghar El Melh wetlands.

The members of the Youth circle were selected through a call for applications. Twelve (12) applications were received and approved, however only three (3) youth were able to attend the event; all three have followed Environmental studies. The main reason for low participation in both the call and the Workshop is telling of the local situation: youth engages in temporary jobs, especially over the summer period and in different locations, given the absence of steady jobs.

Preliminary ideas for green projects were presented and discussed at the Workshop, including on aquaponics, eco-camping and eco-parks. A profiling of each candidate and possible linking with the project ideas was done.

The 1st Workshop was organized by the Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean (GWP-Med) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF). It is part of the Project on ‘Conservation and Sustainable Development of Coastal Wetlands with High Ecological Value’ (GEMWET), that is financially supported by the MAVA Foundation.

Participants expressed their will to engage in the process, starting from refining and concretizing their ideas, and already initiating the design of the 2nd Workshop. In this direction, youth participants requested more information by and interaction with representatives of employment services of national and local authorities seeking advice on tangible steps they could take. Furthermore, a new call for applications will be launched to reinforce participation while this will extend to a larger geographic area in the Ghar El Melh wetlands vicinity.

The GEMWET Project (2018-2020) aims to assist economic, socio-cultural and ecological development in the Ghar El Melh. It is a wetlands area known for its ecological and heritage richness (classified as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 2007 & the first Arab and North Africa city to be recognised as Ramsar city), which, however, is facing a range of developmental pressures particularly under climate vulnerability and change impacts. Economic activities are mainly related to tourism, lagoon/coastal fishing and agriculture.

Applying principles of the Integrated Methodological Framework for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)[1], the project aims at strengthening governance and local capacities for ecosystems’ monitoring and management; promoting the sustainable use of water resources; contribute fighting urban and industrial pollution; assist strengthening traditional farming practices; promoting responsible tourism; supporting the Ghar El Melh Coastal Development Programme; and engaging youth. With the support of the MAVA Foundation, the GEMWET Project is implemented under the lead of WWF North Africa and in partnership with BirdLife Europe, Association "Birds Friends", GWP-Med, UN Environment / Regional Activity Center of the Priority Actions Program (PAP/RAC), National Agronomic Institute of Tunis, Tour du Valat and IUCN.

[1] IMF for IWRM/ICZM, developed by PAP/RAC, GWP-Med and UNESCO: www. pap-thecoastcentre.org/pdfs/IMF%20Guidelines.pdf