Within the framework of the project “Development of eco-tourism activities for the Conservation of Five Key Sites for Biodiversity in Northern Tunisia” and under the theme “Local Initiatives of a Social Economy at the Service of Nature and the Environment”, the Forum on Biodiversity, Ecotourism and Local Development (BioEcoDev) was organized on 4 March 2017 in the youth center of El Haouaria, Tunisia.
The Forum, funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), was organized by the Association ‘’ Les Amis des Oiseaux (AAO/BirdLife Tunisia) and its partner associations; Réseau des Enfants de la Terre (RET) (Network of Local Children), the Tunisian Association for the Protection of Nature and Environment (ATPNE) in Korba, the Eco-Tourism and Environment Association (ETE +) and Association ‘’ Les Amis des Oiseaux Cap Bon Section (AAO Cap Bon Section). The event was part of the celebration of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development in Tunisia.
The Forum was designed to be a moment of sharing experiences and reflections on the future of the eco-tourism programs developed around the five key sites of the project (Djebel El Haouaria, Korba Lagoon, Maâmoura Lagoon, Sebkhet Soliman and South Lake of Tunis). This Forum also celebrated the networks of citizen advocates of the Key Areas for Biodiversity that have been set up in the five key sites of the project.
During the Forum, visitors were able to:
- Visit exhibitions of ecotourism service providers who have presented their local craft and culinary products such as products of terroirs “Dada Zaineb”, honey from nature, host table “Dar Mehrzia” … These service providers are involved in the implementation of eco-tourism activities through their services, thus supplementing the guiding and interpreting activities proposed by the local associations involved in the project to contribute to the sustainable socio-economic development of the region, to the monitoring and the good management of the natural sites targeted by the project;
- Learn about eco-tourism programs through information booths;
- Listen to the testimonials of the partners and stakeholders of the project;
- Discover the photographic exhibition of CEPF: “Wonders of the World”; and
- Experience the use of optical equipment for bird observations on the coast of El Haouaria.
During the Forum, there were debates on the future of ornithological tourism in Tunisia, as well as on income generating activities related to eco-tourism and conservation of sites and natural resources.
The project, which began in 2013 and ends in March 2017, aims to strengthen the capacities of five Tunisian associations: RET, AAO Cap Bon, ATPNE Korba, ETE+ and the AAO/Birdlife Tunisia in the framework of participatory management actions in order to preserve these sites and contribute to the socio-economic development of local populations.
Through this project, the AAO has succeeded, with the support of its partners, to:
- Establish local management support committees (CLAGs);
- Strengthen the capacity of the associations and train five active ornithological guides on the five project sites;
- Develop protocols for the monitoring of biodiversity in the five sites and implement them;
- Develop eco-tourism programs at the five sites according to impact and capacity studies that have been carried out there;
- Establish a network of eco-tourism service providers around the 5 sites; and
- Establish a system for the collection and recovery of solid waste.
A closing workshop of the project was held on 30 March 2017. During this workshop, the AAO presented the objectives, the steps and the results of the project at the national level and those of the local projects in Jbel El Haouaria and South Lake of Tunis. The workshop was also an opportunity for participating partner associations to testify to the results of theirs local projects in terms of biodiversity conservation at key sites such as Sebkhet Soliman and lagoons of Korba and Mamoura.
The partner associations and stakeholders of the project have expressed their commitment to continue to play a dynamic driving role in the 5 sites through the development of other activities beyond the project.
Watch the video on the training and accompaniment of ecotourism service providers within the framework of the project ” Development of eco-tourism activities for the Conservation of five Key Sites for Biodiversity in Northern Tunisia ”
Facebook page of the associations partners:
Ms. Claudia Feltrup-Azafzaf
Mr. Moujib Gabous