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Tunisia: Cement, mineral and banking sectors voluntarily commit to biodiversity

November 30, 2022

(TAP) - The banking, cement and mineral water sectors, on Tuesday, signed, separately, voluntary commitments with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) - North Africa, as part of the project 'Ambition for Biodiversity BIODEV2030.'

This is the first initiative in the country involving the business sector in the preservation of biodiversity and natural heritage signed on the sidelines of the closing Tuesday in Tunis of the project 'Biodev 2030' ambition for biodiversity, which is conducted in 16 pilot countries, including Tunisia.

The project is funded by the French Development Agency (AFD), coordinated by Expertise France, and implemented in Tunisia by WWF-North Africa for two years 2020-2022.

Regarding the cement sector, it is committed through the National Chamber of Cement Producers (CNPC), to promote the consideration of biodiversity in activity of extraction in quarries, to develop and disseminate knowledge on biodiversity in operating and nearby areas, to restore ecosystems and landscapes after the operation of quarries and listening to and sharing with biodiversity stakeholders.

For the banking sector, this means integrating environmental criteria in favor of biodiversity into investment decisions and risk assessment, promoting good practices and appropriate and innovative tools and instruments for investments that mainstream biodiversity protection, ecosystem restoration and climate resilience.

This also involves developing green and eco-responsible investments and encouraging nature-based economic activities and communication on the progress made in this field.

Mouna Saied, General Delegate of the Banking and Finance Council (CBF), signatory of the commitment, it is time 'to commit to a sustainable finance approach, because banks and financial institutions are increasingly aware of the challenges and the need to integrate the risks on biodiversity in finance and to commit to environmental and social standards.

'Making a commitment to biodiversity conservation is new for the banking sector, but we will work with WWF to encourage projects that preserve natural capital and realise these ambitions through technical and scientific support,' she said.

The National Office of Balneology and Hydrotherapy (ONTH) and the Chamber of producers of packaged water plan, on their part, to preserve the water sources and biodiversity of catchment areas and protect them in accordance with what is provided by the specifications setting the general conditions of organisation, operation and production in the sector of packaged water. In this respect, the two structures are committed to setting up immediate and close protection perimeters and remote protection perimeters.

They will also act within the framework of this commitment, to eliminate sources of pollution and preserve a naturally pure water and to establish policies to protect natural sites sheltering springs and protect the fauna and flora, which offer various ecosystems: wetlands, meadows, forests, are sites rich in biodiversity.

Moufida ben Nasr, ONTH communications officer said 'the mineral water sector which is not particularly, responsible for the erosion of biodiversity, has however a major interest to make sure that the use of catchment areas, on which depends in a great part the quality of the water resources, is made according to good practices respectful of the environment'.

The mineral companies are aware of the urgency of issues of biodiversity and environmental protection, 'which require a comprehensive approach to sustainable development involving all stakeholders in a participatory approach geared towards a territorial approach,' she said.

In addition, the agribusiness sector has been cited as a sector impacting biodiversity and could in the future, follow the steps of sectors that are committed today to the preservation of natural heritage Tunisian.

In this regard, the leaders of WWF-North Africa rely on dialogue and multi-stakeholder exchange to encourage other sectoral commitments and to lead political circles to join this ambition for biodiversity, a condition sine qua non for the proper implementation of projects to safeguard and preserve biodiversity.

Tunisia rich in biodiversity (nearly 7500 animal and plant species known) is one of the countries most exposed to the threats of climate change and erosion of biodiversity.

to the reduction of the pressure on biodiversity in Tunisia

In order to reduce the pressure on biodiversity in the country, representatives of WWF-North Africa and partners of the project 'Biodev2030' aim to involve other business sectors in this cause, through the development of green investments and the promotion of corporate social and environmental responsibility.

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