Climate change cemented into Tunisian constitution

Tunisian constitution

Water shortages and rising temperatures will put increasing pressure on Tunisia. Creative Commons: Lara RT, 2007

Tunisia has become the third country in the world to make a constitutional commitment to tackling climate change.

Tunisia’s long-awaited new constitution – passed by the country’s constituent assembly earlier this week – obliges the state to guarantee “a sound climate and the right to a sound and balanced environment,” and “provide the necessary means to eliminate environmental pollution.”

It has become the first country outside of Latin to make such a commitment to combat climate change – joining Ecuador and Dominican Republic.

The new constitution marks a new era for Tunisia, three years after protests led to the toppling of autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

Speaking to RTCC from Tunis, MP Dr Dhamir Mannai, who proposed the inclusion of a climate amendment, said legislators were concerned about the potential impacts a warming world could have on Tunisia.

“This opens the door for legislation for both the environment and climate protection,” he said.

“As MPs we wanted to tackle the issue head on, and then tackle it through climate legislation, and hopefully put us in a position where we can demand that other countries do the same”.

In statement supplied by the Climate Parliament NGO, fellow MP Hasna Marsit added:

As the first such initiative after the Arab spring, it represents a break from the inadequate policies of the past regarding sustainable development, and the first step towards building an effective climate policy which combines long term vision with a comprehensive and regionally-blind approach to sustainable development.

Read more: RTCC >>

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