Tunisia has enhanced their transparency framework for the water sanitation sector including developing a new methodology for data collection which has allowed the country to analyze and recommend concrete actions to use waste water to produce energy while generating climate adaptation co-benefits by improving water quality and reducing water waste.
The country now also have the capacity to use the Greenhouse gas Abatement Cost Model (GACMO) to improve policymaking and report on impacts.
These are some of the main outcomes of the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT) project in Tunisia, wrapping up in September 2023.
The results of the ICAT and Tunisia work on climate transparency was presented at a workshop held on 26 September in Tunis, where key stakeholders validated the project results aimed at increasing transparency in the water sanitation sector.
Transparency is essential to make Tunisia’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) more effective and more ambitious. Having recognized that, Tunisia joined ICAT in 2021 to build and enhance its transparency frameworks. In line with national priorities, the country selected the water sanitation sector as the primary focus area of the project activities. The Tunisian Ministry of Environment and the National Sanitation Office (ONAS) led the project implementation, in partnership with the UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre and the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA).
During the final workshop organized in the framework of the ICAT project, national stakeholders discussed the project’s results, reflecting on the way forward. Attendees included officials Tunisian government officials from the relevant institutions and international experts.
Wastewater management is both a challenge and an opportunity
UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre and ISPRA’s work through the ICAT project has strengthened Tunisia’s capacity for the development of a measurement, verification and reporting system in the sector of water sanitation. More specifically Tunisia developed a methodology for data collection in the water sanitation sector, collected relevant data, and produced recommendations for institutional and legal arrangements through the project.
In addition, experts from the UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre delivered specialized training to national stakeholders, including on the use of the GACMO tool to estimate GHG emissions reductions of mitigation options. This tool allows the tracking of progress towards meeting Tunisia’s international commitments under the Paris Agreement. It can also be used to inform policy decisions and the development of long-term strategies, as the country moves to a low-carbon economy.
According to the International Energy Agency, the collection and treatment of waste water accounts for around 4% of total global energy consumption. But waste water holds about five times more energy than it takes to treat it. Therefore, there is a need to both reduce the amount of energy used to treat wastewater, and to harness the energy in wastewater. The ICAT Tunisia project examined the energy needed to treat wastewater in the country and the potential energy held by wastewater, which the country could use for energy production. It eventually produced concrete recommendations on how to produce energy from waste water, and generate adaptation co-benefits related to improved water quality and reduction of water waste.
Transparency is key for the success of Tunisia’s climate change programme
The transparency framework enhanced through the ICAT project improves the data and stakeholder engagement to meet Tunisia’s climate targets for both mitigation and adaptation. In addition, Tunisia can use the framework and the quality data resulting from the ICAT project to monitor financial resources for the implementation of climate change programmes and projects in the sanitation sector. Likewise, the new framework and data can support the mobilization of additional resources if necessary.
As the project’s recommendations are implemented, and through continuous collection of data, Tunisia can drive and monitor implementation of its NDC, evaluate and readjust as needed. With enhanced transparency, the country can produce comprehensive international reports, and develop informed, evidence-based national policies for effective climate action.