Mediterranean coastal zones and marine protected areas (MPA) were the protagonists in Tunisia from the 16 to 19 of October. Firstly, welcoming the national capitalization event in Sfax aiming at local actors and Tunisian cities and, secondly, hosting the final event of the project in Tunis intended for regional and ministerial actors.

In Sfax and with the participation of around forty participants of Tunisian councils, coastal and port management agencies, scholars, and, members of civil society, the ENSERES partnership presented the actions carried out in the area during the last 24 months to preserve coastal and marine ecosystems and ensure sustainable livelihoods to coastal urban communities. Emphasis was placed on three of the project tools transferred to the commune of Sfax and its surroundings; actions carried out by civil society through sub-granting, mentoring processes, and training on participatory governance in areas of environmental interest and for small-scale fisheries. A final day in the port of Sfax where participants were able to learn in detail about the mentoring process on marine litter monitoring protocols which included a practical basic training on how to collect, process, and read data on waste in port areas, to facilitate decision-making.

In Tunis, around 30 representatives of national and regional organizations in biodiversity conservation, attended the final project event. By debating on ecosystem conservation around protected areas in the Mediterranean and the presentation of good practices developed on the ground for coastal conservation, the event emphasized the power of little actions to have impactful achievements. It also was an opportunity to debate the continuity of these kinds of actions and the considerations that might be taken into account in the next program INTERREG NEXT MED.

To talk about the role of cities in ENSERES project, MedCities Director, Oriol Barba underlined: “We can’t just turn to cities when there are issues (for instance in MPAs) we need to break the way of thinking to work in solutions.”

Barba: “Cities can help a lot because on some occasions they have the power to promote concrete activities and the combination of instruments is always necessary. The actions at a local level are not opposed to the ones taken at the State level”.

The project will close with one more event back to back to MedCities General Assembly in Sarajevo. The seminar “Reversing biodiversity lose in urban environments in a context of climate crisis: ecosystem approach and nature-based solutions” seeks to transfer ENSERES results to all MedCities members and engage, to showcase collaborative successes achieved among protected area and city stakeholders for enhancing socio-ecological resilience levels and to share other local transferable experiences in applying NbS and EBM experiences to blue and green infrastructure.

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