Many of the challenges fishing communities face on the European side of the Mediterranean are shared by those on the African coastline. As such, the EU’s Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME) call to support a sustainable blue economy across the whole of the Mediterranean presented an opportunity for collaboration. Recognising this opportunity, the Costa Degli Etruschi FLAG was able to transfer its CLLD experience beyond the EU in a collaboration with fishing communities facing similar challenges in Tunisia.
It partnered with a cooperative of entrepreneurs, Petra Patrimonia, in Corsica (FR), the fishing organisation, LegAmbiente, in Tuscany (IT) and WWF Mediterranean North Africa. This partnership aims at launching networking and capacity building activities to support the emergence of local CLLD-type groups in Al Huwariyah and Tabarka (Tunisia). Such actions focus on fostering economic diversification and social inclusion in these fishing communities.
The first phase of this project, known as ENSAMBLE, focused on the construction of an affordable administrative framework. This allowed the two future Tunisian groups to develop projects with their own objectives and priorities. This also involved developing a communities’ network through twinning sessions and offering basic training on CLLD to allow each community to develop their own local development strategy.
The second phase will help develop sustainable tourism, starting with a series of pilot projects and the involvement of the community, young people and women in promoting environmental, cultural and traditional resources related to fishing and the sea. Later phases of ENSAMBLE will feature further communication with the general public and events to demonstrate the results to local stakeholders.
The project is ongoing but has already helped Al Huwariyah and Tabarka to set up a participative process between public and private actors, identify common goals and facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experience. This is empowering local communities to plan the development of their coastal areas sustainably. Early outputs include:
This project was carried out between three territories motivated by previous cooperation and shared cultural and environmental heritage. This type of cooperation can be useful for areas that can identify potential partners among other territories between which the exchange of knowledge can be complementary and beneficial for the different stakeholders.
Lessons & contribution to CLLD objectives:
Lessons: The prior relationship between the partners involved was a key success factor for setting up the project. Communication was smooth and actions were developed in an agile way. Flexibility was also essential for adapting the timing of activities to new situations during the various phases of the project.
Contribution to CLLD objective: d) strengthening the role of fisheries communities in local development and the governance of local fisheries resources and maritime activities.