Tunisia - The World Bank has called on Tunisia to implement a series of measures and priority actions to within the framework of its roadmap, for a transition to the blue economy which offers an opportunity for sustainable development and wealth creation for the country.

In a report entitled "Opportunity for an Integrated and Sustainable Development of the Sea and Coastal Areas" published on Thursday, the WB recommended the establishment of an institutional governance involving all stakeholders and ensuring the coordination and coherence of public policies, strategies, and sectoral plans and programmes.

The international financial institution also advocated the promotion of "appropriate" and "innovative" resources and financing mechanisms for blue economy programmes and projects.

In this context, an in-depth analysis of the financial investments necessary for the effective development of the blue economy is required, with a view to identifying innovative financing for blue growth (bond issues, insurance products, public-private partnerships and private investments), establishing an appropriate tax system and developing incentives for climate-resilient blue investments at sea and on the coast.

Blue economy contributes nearly 14% of the national GDP

According to the World Bank, Tunisia has more than 1,300 km of coastline, home to 7.6 million people (more than 66% of its population), who depend heavily on coastal and marine resources for their livelihood.

Consequently, the blue economy, which contributes nearly 14% of the national GDP, represents a "definite opportunity" for the diversification of its maritime and coastal economy.

In order to take advantage of this opportunity and advance the blue economy, the World Bank considers it essential to pay particular attention to coastal and marine natural capital, which today shows "worrying signs of overexploitation and degradation in both continental and marine environments".

This capital is often the support for all socio-economic activities at sea and on the coast, hence the need to protect and preserve marine and coastal assets through the conservation of marine and coastal areas and their biodiversity.

This will condition the sustainability and performance of all components of the blue economy, the same source said.

The Bank also stressed the need to develop the resilience of marine and coastal resources to climate change, promoting the resilience of key sectors of the blue economy such as tourism, fisheries and aquaculture.

It called for the prevention and management of marine and coastal pollution of all kinds and in particular by plastics and the development of sustainable and climate change resilient marine and coastal tourism.

On the legal front, despite a substantial arsenal in the maritime and coastal fields, there is a need today to promote the harmonisation of sectoral and disparate texts, and to fill the legislative and regulatory gaps in certain areas.

The WB pointed out that the ability to develop and manage knowledge in this area remains a "no less important" condition for developing the blue economy in Tunisia.

It also called for the development of functional and accessible digital and geographic information systems for all coastal and marine users, stressing that investment in knowledge would constitute "a major pillar in Tunisia's future blue economy strategy".

The World Bank has mobilised the PROBLUE Trust Fund to undertake the second phase of technical assistance, supporting a roadmap for the development of the blue economy in Tunisia.

In the second phase of assistance to Tunisia, the Bank will conduct analyses and offer advice on institutional policies and promotion of public and private investment, in addition to providing support for strategic and operational dialogue with relevant stakeholders.

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