Copernicea : Ecosystem Natural Capital Accounting data national exchange and validation workshop, Tunis, June 29, 2022

Upon initiative of the Ministry of the Enviornment, a national exchange and validation workshop took place in Tunis under the Copernicea project, with the aim of discussing Ecosystem Natural Capital Accounting indicators and valuing biophysical data for monitoring and reporting.

Copernicea, an AFD-funded project and implemented by the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) in 6 countries, including tunisia, has the ambition of ensuring spatio-temporal monitoring of the state of ecosystem services and reporting on their evolution. It also focuses on the quantification and qualification of ecosystems. It was agreed that the implementation of the Ecosystem Natural Capital Accounting (ENCA) needs for the technical and human resources to be mobilized to better invest in and for ecosystems.

The debates were initiated by Mr. Hedi CHEBILI, Director General at the Ministry of the Environment, with the support of Mr. Nabil HAMADA, OSS Strategic Development Department Coordinator, and made it possible to restitute and validate the national study on the situational analysis of data necessary for the development of ecosystem accounts in Tunisia.

During the opening session, Mr. Hedi CHEBILI and Mr. Nabil HAMADA, brought to light the benefits of biodiversity preservation. They insisted on the economic importance of the ecosystem services as well as the role they play in improving decision-making. 

Mrs. Abir BEN ROMDHANE (OSS), opened the first session on the importance of Ecosystem Natural Capital Accounting indicators and data, and presented the regional assessment of the Copernicea project activities. Mrs. Samia KCHOK, from the Ministry of the Environment of Tunisia, took the floor to focus on the project evolution at the national level. 

Mr. Thierry TAPSOBA (OSS), made a presentation on the data necessary for the ENCA development, listed the biophysical and socio-economic data and explained the interest of inclusive approach, will and commitment as drivers of success.

During the second session, Mr. Kamel TOUNSI, national consultant, summarized the main results and highlighted the objectives and expectations such as the organizational plan provided with information details, mobilization strategies and recommendations. In his speech, he put the stress on the restitution and validation of the national study on biophysical and socio-economic data for ecosystem accounting in Tunisia. 

Mr. Nabil HAMADA insisted on the need to strengthen the capacities of countries to understand the ENCA approach and to adopt an accessible, updated and sustainable process.

Mr. Hakim ISSAOUI, National Desertification Focal Point, presented the status and prospects for reporting to the UNCCD Convention. He also mentioned the strategic objectives and statistical tools necessary for capacity building. 

Speaking of ENCA indicators for the improvement of the convention reporting systems, Mr. Youssouf AMADOU (OSS), made a presentation on the OSS-countries’ collaboration that aims at identifying the real needs, setting up a detailed work plan, capacity building for the countries’ discussion partner and consolidating the synergy between ENCA and the reporting system.

The last session of the workshop gave room to debate on the importance of geospatial tools for improved reporting and decision support. Mr. Edward BOAMAH, Digital Earth Africa (DEA) expert, shared the DEA platform using experience to provide land occupation, water, satellite images and pollution data for all Africa. He made it clear that these data were open and free of charge and congratulated the collaboration with the OSS, in the field of land degradation.

Mrs. Samia KCHOK ended the workshop with the recommendations of the participants. In their recommendations, the Copil and national institutions’ members reaffirmed their support to the Copernicea project and called upon all stakeholders to work on ENCA sustainability at the national level and to produce data that are more easily accessible.