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Save the forest of Rades, Tunisia


In order to fluidify transportation traffic in the region of Ben Arous, South-east to Tunis, and to improve the connection between the north and south regions of Tunis, the ministry of Habitat and territory development (Ministère de l’Equipement et de l’Habitat et de l’aménagement du territoire) through the Directorate of bridges and causeways (Direction Générale des Ponts et chaussées) launched a project to build an express road of 3.3km passing through the forest of Rades which lays on 260ha [5].

This forest represents the biggest green part of Tunis’ southern periphery and is located in an industrial zone, surrounded by three cities: Ben Arous, Megrine and Rades.

Considering the short timeframe allowed for the conception of the project, the non-inclusion of civil society and the fact that this road would cut part of the forest to split it in two parts, local NGOs and inhabitants have raised their voices in order to make sure that this road does not pass through the forest.

Besides requiring the cutting of 30ha of the forest equivalent to 15,000 trees [1] (6000 according to the government [6]) this project represents a loss of vegetation and related ecosystem [2], a decrease of green public space, the warming of the local environment [3], a threat to the local biodiversity [3], and a new source of noise pollution. Local NGOs also fear that this project would favor and accelerate the urbanization of the area with new constructions coming along or later with this project [12].

With regard to legal aspects, local NGOs have claimed that few principles enshrined within the Tunisian constitution have not been taken into consideration while elaborating the project, such as: Article 139 which highlights the need to integrate a large participation from the citizens and civil society into the elaboration of development and urban planning projects ; Article 45 which underlines the right to a healthy environment ; and the preamble of this constitution which stresses the need to preserve a healthy environment [10].

Local NGOs claim that alternatives to passing through the forest do exist but have not been taken into consideration. Besides criticizing that this project only adds value to the use of means of transportation which pollute and degrade the environment, while meeting with the respective ministry, a few representatives of NGOs have provided elements for alternative solutions including another way for the road that would not pass through the forest, but such proposals have been refused by the ministry.

Already discussed in 2016, the project was planned to start in June 2018 [4]. As of today (August 2018) the work did not start. The fight against the beginning of the construction is still ongoing and NGOs have warned that new forms of mobilizations might appear if the project goes further [8] [9].

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Save the forest of Rades, Tunisia
State or province:Governorat Ben Arous
Location of conflict:Rades
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Land
Transport services

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The planned road is located in the governorate of Ben Arous, south east to Tunis. The road would link “cite sportive” from Rades with the RR33 and the intercommunale Nord. This road would have a total length of 3.3km. [5]

Project area:30,000
Level of Investment:22,000,000.00 [11]
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:175 100
Start of the conflict:16/02/2018
Relevant government actors:Ministère de l’Equipement, l’habitat et l’aménagement du territoire - Direction Générale des Ponts et chaussées
Ministère des affaires locales et de l’environnement
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Association de Mégrine pour l’Innovation et la Sauvegarde
Biati- بيئتي
WWF Tunisia (World Wildlife Fund)
Earth Hour Tunisia
Zero Waste Tunisie
Debout pour notre environnement (Feykin el Biîetna)

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Development of alternatives:Besides asking the government to cancel this project, the coalition of NGOs leading this campaign has brought another proposal of road construction to the respective ministry in order to avoid crossing the forest, but this idea has been rejected by this ministry. [7]
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Although the government still did not start the construction of the road, it remains determined to its implementation.

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Constitution de la République Tunisienne

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[4] "Rassemblement pour sauver la forêt de Radès samedi 23 juin 2018 au parc Farhat Hached"

[3] "Une pétition pour sauver la forêt de Radès fait son apparition sur les réseaux",537,79955,3

[5] "Etude de la liaison routière cite sportive-mc33-intercommunale nord dans le gouvernorat de Ben Arous"

[6] "Ministère de l’Equipement : Nous allons couper des arbres à Radés mais nous allons les replanter !",520,79962,3

[7] "Encore un pas dans la concertation sur la route traversant la foret de Rades"

[1] "[Communiqué] Mobilisation citoyenne pour sauver la parc Farhat Hached"

[9] "بعد فشل جلسة مع وزير التجهيز ..20 جمعية بيئية تهدد بالتصعيد والتصدي لمشروع غابة رادس"

[11] "بن عروس: جزء الوصلة الرابطة بين الطريق الوطنية 1 والجهوية 33 العابر لغابة رادس ... بين إصرار السلطة ورفض المجتمع المدني"

[12] " Déforestation de Radès : L’environnement, cadet des soucis du gouvernement "

Communiqué, Biati

Site du ministère de l'équipement

[10] Communiqué, Earth Hour Tunisia

[8] "الصندوق العالمي للطبيعة يهدّد بالتصدي لأشغال الطريق بغابة رادس"

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[2] Petition "Help us to save the Forest oF Rades In Tunisia"

Related article "Forêt de Radés: Massacre à la tronçonneuse ! "

Other documents

Campaign poster to save the forest of Rades

Meta information

Contributor:Association Tunisienne pour la Justice Climatique, Sociale et Environnementale (ATUJUCLIS)
Last update06/11/2018