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The U.N. Democracy Fund Grants Funding for NRGI Programming in Tunisia

  • Press release

  • 27 January 2020

The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) has launched a new project “Promoting Democratic Consolidation through Inclusive Natural Resource Governance Reform in Tunisia,” funded by The United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF).

Following is a summary of the project programming:
Poor governance of natural resources was a contributing factor leading to the Tunisian revolution. Eight years on, poor governance remains a chronic problem: successive governments have failed to address the local needs of marginalized producing regions in an inclusive or sustainable manner. While Article 136 of the country’s 2014 constitution acknowledges the right of producing regions to a share of natural resource revenues for sub-national development, the government has failed to adopt a mechanism for the transfer of producing regions’ share of revenues. This has resulted in a lack of public trust in the government and continued social tensions and unrest in producing regions which threaten the country’s fledgling democratization process.
This project aims to foster inclusive multi-stakeholder approaches to addressing socioeconomic inequities in marginalized natural resource producing regions. NRGI will build on its current two-fold approach in Tunisia of (1) increasing the capacity of oversight actors (civil society and media) to play an informed and positive role in shaping debates and influencing policy, while (2) building trust between various governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to ensure multi-stakeholder reform is informed by local needs.
This project is based on the theory of change that if oversight actors (civil society and media) are empowered technically and financially, then they will be able to effectively contribute to informed natural resource reform debates. Furthermore, if venues are institutionalized for multi-stakeholder dialogue, then this will support extractives sector reform through an inclusive process informed by local demands because various natural resource stakeholders will have institutionalized opportunities and safe spaces to build trust. 
This project will target three key natural resource producing regions: phosphate producing Gafsa and oil producing Tataouine and Kebili. This project’s target beneficiaries are local civil society actors, journalists from local outlets, female activists (from Tataouine and Kebili), government officials from key relevant institutions, and parliamentarians in relevant committees. NRGI will organize capacity development trainings targeting civil society actors and journalists. In addition, we will allocate four grants to selected civil society organization (CSO) trainee project proposals applying their gained skills and knowledge for advocacy, and, in partnership with freedom of expression and media training organization Article 19, three media grants to journalist trainees to inform public opinion on local issues of producing regions. Subsequently, NRGI will aim to increase the government’s commitment to the inclusion of civil society in joint sector reform through supporting the institutionalization of two key venues for multi-stakeholder reform, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and Open Government Partnership (OGP).