Tunisia, 20th April 2012.- Deputy Secretary General Dr. Rafiq Husseini conducted a mission to Tunisia, one of the UfM member countries, where he met with Dr. Mohammed Ben Salem, Tunisian Minister of Agriculture and Hydraulic Resources and Dr. Mamia Elbanna, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development. The Tunisian government conveyed their commitment to strengthen their cooperation with the UfM on key priorities for Tunisia and the region, also to continue seeking for new projects that could obtain the UfM label. Dr. Husseini reaffirmed the commitment of the UfM to assist Tunisia in implementing concrete projects.
Dr. Husseini discussed the project of integrated-depollution of the lake of Bizerte, identified under the Horizon 2020 initiative investment sub-group, with a cost of 61 Million Euros. A feasibility study is under-going by the European Investment Bank, and the funding was also tackled. In addition Dr. Husseini expressed the UfM support to promote and label the Tunisian projects in order to raise the remaining needed funds.
This project is a multi-stakeholders integrated project to restore water quality and ecosystems around the lake Bizerte, tackling several sources of pollution through multi sector activities which will create jobs and improve the socio-economic development in Bizerte region.
In parallel, Dr. Husseini also participated in the 15th session of the Board and the fourth session of the General Assembly of the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) held from 17 to 20 April 2012 in Tunis. The Opening session was inaugurated by The Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali who presented the challenges facing water management in general, provided recommendations regarding methods by which water-related issues can be managed, and expressed his confidence in the OSS’s strategy for 2020.
The General Assembly made important decisions such as the election of Niger as the President of the OSS for the next 4 years, the election of, M. Khatim Kherraz (Algeria) new Secretary Executive of the OSS, for 4 years.