Climate Risk Profile: Tunisia - Fact Sheet

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Tunisia, a lower-middle income country located in North Africa on the southern Mediterranean, is vulnerable to climate variability and change in numerous ways. Stressors such as rising temperatures and varied precipitation levels coupled with potential increased frequency of extreme events, such as floods and droughts, could threaten agriculture, economic development, and availability of water resources throughout the country. Tunisia’s susceptibility to climate variability and change is also tied to its reliance on agriculture and tourism; agriculture accounts for 10 to 14 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs approximately 16 percent of the workforce, while tourism accounts for 6.5 percent of GDP and directly supports 6 percent of Tunisia’s workforce. The southern and western parts of the country have the highest poverty rates, as much as four times higher than the resource rich coastal region. Tunisia’s coastal region, by contrast, harbors 80 percent of the country’s economic activity and is home to two-thirds of the country’s 11.6 million people. However, the nearly 1150 kilometers of coast is significantly threatened by sea level rise. Without adaptation measures, and under a high emissions scenario, 78,700 Tunisians would be affected annually between 2070 and 2100 by sea level rise and flooding. Sea level rise also threatens the water scarce low-lying islands off Tunisia’s coast, where climate change will likely exacerbate existing water security challenges and may also result in coastal erosion and increased evapotranspiration due to rising temperatures. The Government of Tunisia recognizes the threat that climate change poses, with climate change explicitly discussed in the country’s constitution. However, the country still faces numerous technical, financial, and institutional challenges in effectively responding and adapting to the impacts of climate variability and change (2,3,5,6,15,18,21,24,25).