Tunisia is the country with the highest rate of erosion for eroding sections, which are losing 2.4 meter a year on average, causing an estimated annual asset destruction cost amounting to the equivalent of 2.8% of the country’s GDP, the World Bank (WB) said in its “Disappearing coasts in the Maghreb: Coastal erosion and its costs” report published last September.
“Estimates show that in Maghreb countries coastal erosion entails substantial direct costs, ranging from USD273 million per year in Libya to more than USD1.1 billion per year in Tunisia” the report reads.
In this regard, the WB said that advancing sea level rise and a higher probability for extreme weather events due to the effects of climate change will most likely culminate in even higher costs in the future.
“Immediate action should thus be seen as indispensable, both to mitigate direct costs
now and in the future with their associated impacts on coastal populations, many of which are dependent on intact shores for their basic income,” the WB pointed out.
In Tunisia, economic activity connected with the tourism sector amounted to 14.2% of GDP in 2018, offering job opportunities for more than two million Tunisians, the WB indicated.
“Imminent threat posed by the disappearance of beaches due to coastal erosion for tourism in the region should be recognised,” the same source said.
To this end, the WB indicated that identifying localities where indirect and direct costs due coastal erosion are highest combined with hotspots thereof is imperative in order to assist policy-makers to make informed decisions that yield a favourable cost-benefit ratio.
“This is particularly important in light of constrained budgets that governments might be willing to set aside for coastal protections.”
A forthcoming regional report entitled «Blue Skies, Blue Seas» will discuss other pressing environmental issues that the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region faces besides coastal erosion, namely air pollution and plastic marine pollution, and provides recommendations drawing on regional as well as international experience and best practices, the WB announced