Tunisian NGOs unite to tackle urgent threats to Protected Areas

By AAO, Wed, 09/02/2011 - 11:52
Following the recent political instability in Tunisia, environmental and developmental NGOs have received a number of alarming reports of aggressive attacks to staff, animals and plants at Protected Areas (PA) within the country. In the face of these threats, the NGOs met recently to unite in their action to tackle the plundering of their natural resources. Since January 14, Tunisian Protected Areas have been subject to multiple aggressive attacks including: the ransacking of equipment and infrastructures; persecution of animals, and; degradation of plants and habitats. Furthermore, Tunisian NGOs have received reports that park staff – who have been working alongside local people to protect the reserves – have been verbally and physically attacked. In face of this alarming situation, representatives of Environmental and Development NGOs held an urgent meeting on Saturday 5th February to discuss the urgent situation. The NGOs attending the meeting were: Association des Amis du Belvédère; Association “Les Amis des Oiseaux” (BirdLife in Tunisia); Association pour la Protection de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable; Association de Sauvegarde du Patrimoine Environnemental et Naturel du Cap Bon ; Association Tunisienne pour la Protection de la Nature et de l'Environnement; Association Tunisie-Méditerranée pour le Développement Durable; Fédération Nationale des Associations de Chasseurs et des Associations de Chasses Spécialisées, and; WWF Tunisia. As a result of this meeting, the eight NGOs agreed the following actions:
  • On-the-ground assessment of the actual situation in the PAs with field visits by NGO representatives in collaboration with local NGOs and groups.
  • Report on the actual situation supported by photographs, videos, interviews, documents in view of the drafting of a press and communication kit.
  • Request an urgent meeting with the Minister for agriculture and the environment in order to solicit a rapid and effective intervention by the government.
  • Organization of information and public awareness campaigns for local communities in and around PAs, in order to discuss with these populations the approach and the means to implement real protection of these sites and to ensure a sustainable and harmonious development, which takes into account people and nature at the same time.



what is really important for the future is that eco-tourisme in the nationale parks get a boost: to few topurists could visit the nationale parks now, nothing was organized and thus local population did not profit enough of the presence of so many tourists in the sea-side resorts. this could triple employment of rural people living around the national parks and thus create more aceptance of protection measures in these regions instead of anger because protective measures are not always welcomed by people who used to have "rights" in the parks. the are visitor centres in dghoumes, in the bou hedma, chambi, feidja, ich keul ....but they are hardly ever visited by tourists !! tourism maney should go there and eco-tourisme should be developed and not stopped by some officials in some offices. generally speeking the conservators are ready for it , but there must be a good system installed and the tourism operators must be brought in koen de smet

The BirdLife Partnership in Africa expresses solidarity with Association “Les Amis des Oiseaux” (BirdLife in Tunisia) and the NGOs in Tunisia, which are focusing attention to the crucial issues of biodiversity and protection of the environment, during this difficult time when the country is trying to recreate itself.

that national parks are plundered during phases of political instability shows the deep problems of acceptance of the natural heritage to local communities. I visited Bouhedma NP last spring (very interesting by the way) and was puzzeled by the difficulties to enter the park. It was not possible just to go there or to book there directly. It was even a real task to find at all a way to enter the NP and in my travel guide it was stated, that to get a licence to visit NPs in Tunisia is challenging.

Il est donc d’assurer l’équilibre socio-culturelle et écologique tout en favorisant la façon dont les destinations de développement fiscales et visiter les entreprises d’attractions.

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