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A More Sustainable Future? Tunisia’s Climate and Energy Challenges

A More Sustainable Future? Tunisia's Climate and Energy Challenges


In 2014, Tunisia became the first country in the MENA region to include recognition of climate change in its constitution, guaranteeing the right to “a sound and balanced environment while contributing to the safety of the climate by all available means.” Thus, the country set out to significantly reduce its carbon footprint over the next two decades. With limited access to energy resources, Tunisia has the unique opportunity to develop its renewable energy sectors. Yet, the country faces a range of other challenges–including its economic reliance on agricultural food production–that require policy innovations beyond developing  sustainable energy sources.

This panel brings together three specialists on Tunisia’s unique climate and energy challenges, Achref Chibani, Dr. Hanne Knaepen, and Dr. Adel Ben Youseff, to explore the possibilities and problems facing Tunisia as global average temperatures rise.

The panel will be moderated by Dr. Graham H. Cornwell, Assistant Dean for Research at the Elliott School of International Affairs.

The Middle East Policy Forum is presented with the generous support of ExxonMobil.


  • Achref Chibani is a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for scholars and a Tunisian journalist, researcher, and civil society activist whose core areas of focus are climate change, renewable energies, and environmental protection. Chibani is also an Early Career Researcher Representative at the MENA Social Policy Network.

  • Dr. Hanne Knaepen is Head of Green Transitions and Climate Action workstream at the European Centre for Development Policy Management. She specializes in climate change adaptation within the context of Europe-Africa relations, with a strong focus on agri-food systems and climate finance. Dr. Knaepen is also a Visiting Lecturer at Nyansapo College of International Relations and Diplomacy, Accra.

  • Dr. Adel Ben Youssef is an international expert on climate change, green economy, and energy transition. He has worked for many international institutions, including the African Development Bank, the UN Development Programme, the European Union, and World Bank. He was a negotiator on behalf of Tunisia during COP 23, 24, 25 & 26. Dr. Ben Youseff is a Professor of Economics at the Université Côte d'Azur and a member of the CNRS research laboratory.