Tunis, June 17, 2010 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved two loans and a grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to support Tunisia’s development program, in particular the Northern Tunis Wastewater Project, at a total cost of US$68.63 million, and a second Natural Resource Management Project, in the amount of US$57.84 million. These projects will support a number of major sectors in the country, including water, the environment, and agriculture.
The basic objectives of the Northern Tunis Wastewater Project are, first, to reduce the environmental impact of treated wastewater discharge in the Gulf of Tunis by building a submarine outfall to significantly improve the seawater quality on the beaches of northern Tunis. The second objective is to support the implementation of the National Program for Wastewater Reuse. This project will support the first phase of the program, to be implemented by the National Sanitation Office (ONAS), whose aim is to develop the necessary infrastructure to increase the quantity and quality of treated wastewater available to farmers in order to encourage its reuse in agriculture in the area of the Borj Touil irrigated perimeter. This project is financed by a World Bank loan of US$52 million and a GEF grant of US$8.03 million. The Tunisian Government is contributing about US$ 8.6 million.
In the rural environmental sector, the second Natural Resource Management Project is aimed at enhancing living conditions in the rural communities of three governorates (Jendouba, Kasserine, and Médenine). These improvements will include better access to infrastructure and basic services, promotion of income-generating activities, and the use of best natural resource management practices through encouragement of an integrated community development approach.
Another project objective is to curb the threat to vulnerable agricultural production systems associated with soil degradation and climate change in targeted zones, while developing options to combat land-based pollution of the Mediterranean Sea. The project will help the regional commissioners for agricultural development (CRDA) and local development institutions to systematically incorporate an integrated participatory approach to investments and local community development planning in 72 imadas, and possibly others, in the three above-mentioned governorates.
The World Bank is supporting a total of four projects in Tunisia’s water sector and six in the environment sector.