UNEP/MAP was instrumental in the introduction of a ban on single-use plastic bags in Tunisia.
The ban, which entered into force on 1 March 2020 for supermarkets by virtue of Decree No. 32 dated 16 January 2020, prohibits the manufacturing, import and use of conventional single-use plastic bags.
Compostable and reusable plastic bags will still be allowed in the market as an alternative, provided that they bear a specific marking. A comprehensive ban will be extended to all producers and suppliers of plastic bags by 1 January 2021.
Partner Tunisian institutions received technical support in the preparation of the draft decree on aspects such as limitations of compostable bags to prevent plastic leakage.
Funded by the EU and implemented by UNEP/MAP, the Marine Litter MED project also supported the elaboration of the legal and technical framework required for enforcement, including through the revision of industrial norms regulating plastic bag manufacturing.
Given the crucial importance of buy-in from the private sector, the project built on a voluntary agreement that was in place between the Government of Tunisia and supermarkets and pharmacies to encourage an inclusive dialogue on the scope and content of the decree and on sustainable alternatives for industry actors.
The project’s delivery in Tunisia and other Mediterranean countries fed in the elaboration of the Guidelines to phase out single-use plastic bags in the Mediterranean, recently adopted at COP 21. A Regional Cooperation Platform was also established to provide coordinated support and guidance to the implementation of the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean.
The delivery of the Marine Litter MED project encompassed substantial inputs from related regional processes, including UNEP Global Partnership for Marine Litter, the European Union (EU) Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the UfM H2020 initiative for a cleaner Mediterranean and the SwitchMed Programme.