The first BONEX workshop for scoping assessment of the WEFE Nexus in Tunisia titled “Evaluation of the Nexus Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystem (WEFE) Framework for the Reuse of Treated Wastewater in Ouardanine” took place on January 25, 2023, at the Hôtel Royal Thalassa, in Monastir. The venue was chosen based on its proximity of most of the local and regional stakeholders. The working languages were French and Arabic therefore a translation of the project title was adopted in both languages.
After the registration, the workshop started with the opening and welcoming words from Prof. Zouhaier Nasr, the Director General of INRGREF, Mr. Ali Ammar, the Regional Director of the CRDA of Monastir, Mr. Mohamed Taghouti, CEO of the partner SmartLogger, and the research team of BONEX project, namely Prof. Abdellaziz Zairi, Dr. Abir Ben Slimane, and Dr. Olfa Mahjoub. The President of the Municipality of Ouardanine and the Delegate (District) of Ouardanine joined the opening session as well for the welcome speech.
The agenda was split into 2 main sessions to stick to the objectives and guidelines of the first BONEX workshop. Indeed, the first part was dedicated to introductory presentations, given by Dr. Abir Ben Slimane and Dr. Olfa Mahjoub on the Nexus WEFE concept and BONEX project, respectively. Then, Dr. Olfa Mahjoub presented the demo site i.e., the irrigated area using treated wastewater in Ouardanine. The second session was dedicated to group work.
In total, 56 participants contributed to the participatory workshop with 29% of women. Participants were stakeholders, directly or indirectly, involved in the reuse of treated wastewater, at the national, regional, and local levels. They were belonging to 17 institutions including 21 farmers. Participants were selected based on the coverage of the WEFE Nexus (Water, Energy, Food, and Ecosystems) topics, considering the recommendations of the steering committee and the experts’ interviews. They can be categorized as follows:
- Regional and local decision-makers: Governorate of Monastir, Delegation of Ouardanine, Municipality of Ouardanine, CGDR Monastir, CRDA Monastir.
- Research institutions: INRGREF and UKS
- Local stakeholders: GDA Ouardanine (Water Users’ Associaton), farmers from the area of Ouardanine and Regional Union of Farmers (URAP Monastir)
- Administration, technical departments, and agencies: AFA, ANPE, DGEQV at the Ministry of the Environment, DGGREE at the Ministry of Agriculture, INSSPA, and ONAS Monastir
- Non-Governmental Organization: the association NOMAD08-OTE
After an introductory session, the working group session was divided into a first session for “the elicitation of variables and the identification of Nexus groups” and a second session including two sub-sessions the first was aiming at identifying the variables of the Causal Loop Diagram and the second was dedicated to the establishment of the Causal Loop Diagram.
For the working group sessions, members of the subgroups were identified beforehand based on gender balance and WEFE coverage with pre-assigned rapporteurs from the Steering Committee (Mr. Nabil Majdoub, Mr. Walid Fekih, Mr. Sabri Regaieg). Facilitators were members of BONEX research team (Prof. Abdellaziz Zairi, Dr. Abir Ben Slimane, and Dr. Olfa Mahjoub.
The participants demonstrated exceptional responsiveness and collaboration in addition to their appreciation of the methodology and the tools adopted for the facilitation of the sessions.
For the dissemination of the workshop, brochures were prepared and distributed to participants to inform about the WEFE Nexus within the irrigated area of Ouardanine and BONEX project.