Tunisia: The right to water
Tunisia’s constitution guarantees its people the right to water but the lack of inclusive public policies and the state of infrastructure and governance in marginalised areas is leaving many citizens thirsty.
International Alert Tunisia has launched an awareness campaign #Access_to_water_is_a_constitutional_right, presenting the documentary ‘Kasserine, Water of Dignity’ and a legal research paper highlighting shortcomings in current legal and institutional guarantees to the right to water and showing the impact it is having on a climate-stressed and marginalised region.
Read the press release
The legal view
In ‘The Water System in Tunisia‘ lawyer Mohamed Bouzagro reviews the legislative framework for water governance and the guaranteed right of access. This was ratified in the 2014 constitution but laws have not been revised to guarantee access for all citizens and policies to implement just distribution of water resources are yet to be adopted.
The film and research paper were launched at the conclusion of a pilot project, ‘Strengthening Participatory Democratic Governance of Water in the governorate of Kasserine’ , in partnership with the Nomad08 association, aimed at supporting marginalised communities struggling with water quality and access.
The project promoted local and national advocacy on democratic water governance, with a focus on the role of poor farmers and civil society in inclusive water management strategies, including awareness campaigns and convening dialogue meetings between civil society and local and national government. The aim was to empower them to take part in decision making of public water resources, better advocate for a more equitable public water policy (including revision of water pricing for the poorest) and to respond to climate challenges in this water-stressed region.
Find out more about water resources in Kasserine and the agencies involved with governance there:
Citizens’ rights to access clean, drinkable water is a rising source of tension in Tunisia, particularly in the border and interior regions, with a growing number of social movements calling for government action. However, protests have been repressed and charges laid against activists.
The water project in Tunisia is one of four pilot projects being carried out by International Alert, with funding from Sida, to explore ways to better integrate climate and environmental considerations into peace and conflict analysis. Other pilot projects are taking place in Lebanon, Jordan, and Central Asia.