Grand Sfax Sustainable Development Observatory

Grand Sfax includes the municipalities of Sfax, Sakiet Eddayer, Sakiet Ezzit, Chihia, Gremda, El Aîn and Thyna. In 2002 a strategy was designed to develop the city (SDGs).

 When adopting this strategy in 2005, it was recommended that a development observatory should be created, with the aim of helping to design a strategy and, more generally, to assess the performance of the Grand Sfax region in terms of sustainable development.

The study for the observatory was conducted between 2008 and 2009 as part of the second phase of the strategy, which included the participation of many national and international partners.


M. Mounir Rekik


Date: 2013-06-20

State: Fini

City: Sfax

Country: Tunisia

Category: Urban Planning

  • Innovation and Strategy

    Given the speed and complexity of urban change, many large cities have observatories, which act as tools to monitor, supervise and evaluate urban policies. 

    As a real tool to aid the decision making process, the Observatory will evaluate development strategies and generally help Sfax perform relevant metropolitan functions.

    It is also an instrument to continuously monitoring the state of the environment and a means of assessing the degree of implementation of urban projects.

    The aims of the Observatory:

    The Observatory must ensure information is disseminated to all the public and private organisations involved.

    As part of the process initiated by the Greater Sfax Development Strategy, the Observatory will:

    - Encourage participatory processes to identify the information needed as well as define the appropriate policy choices and indicators for policy implementation;

    - Promote coordination and cooperation between the various organisations involved in the region: the governorate, municipalities, regional administrative bodies, and academic and research institutions;

    - Promote coordination and cooperation with the relevant national authorities;

    - Develop the ability to collect information, manage and use it when implementing policy in the municipalities in the region;

    - Provide regional organisations with objective information and analysis that can inform the local policy choices and their implementation on a regional and local level;

    - Share information and make it easily accessible.

    The Strategy:

     To achieve its objectives, the Grand Sfax Sustainable Development Observatory will have a variety of tools at its disposal, including:

     - A statistical database for Grand Sfax

    - A monitoring chart for sustainable development, including the relevant indicators

    - An appropriate Geographic Information System.

         The statistical database:

    The statistics given are the basis of all the indicators needed to monitor sustainable development in Grand Sfax, and will serve as an aid for the decision making process.

        The dashboard:

    The Observatory will have a dashboard made up of a series of software programs that will allow a list of sustainable development indicators to be included on a database, and for these indicators to be evaluated and published on the internet and intranet.

    There are several different criteria for selecting these indicators, including the quality of the data, as well as the accessibility, simplicity, scalability, measurability, frequency and consistency of the information.

    Considering the systemic approach to sustainability, the indicators were grouped into four categories: the human and social dimension, economics, the environment and territory:

    - 8 indicators for the "human and social" stage:

    - 14 indicators for the "economy and development" stage:

    - 9 indicators for the "natural environment" stage

    - 9 indicators for the "territory and governance" stage

        The geographic information system

    It is an ideal tool to compile information relating to nature, structures and organisations, which can be used to collect, store, retrieve and visualise spatial data.

    It allows users to describe the components of a territory and analyse the natural and human phenomena that occur there.

     The design of the SIG for the Grand Sfax Sustainable Development Observatory requires setting up an inventory of the current situation in Grand Sfax, in order to collect as much data as possible and supply the various layers of information.

  • Concertation

    The process of developing a study on how to set up the Observatory is characterised by a participatory approach including the different actors involved in developing the city.

    This process has been supported from the outset for:

    - The involvement of the seven municipalities in Grand Sfax: Sfax, Sakiet Addayer, Sakiet Ezzit, Chihia, Gremda, El Aîn and Thyna.

    - The active participation of local governments, associations and many experts and scholars.

    Adopting a constantly evolving institutional approach, starting from the first step in creating a unit within the Municipality of Sfax, to be later integrated into a development agency within Grand Sfax.

  • Impact and evaluation

    1. The impact in socio-economic terms:

    - Achieving the ultimate goal of the vision of Sfax 2016 by monitoring the implementation of strategic projects

    - Follow-up on the economic development of Grand Sfax and improvements made in terms of the area's competitiveness in strengthening good governance.

    - Evaluation of the implementation of the SDGs and proposed corrective action or complementary measures to achieve the objectives for Sfax 2016

    Impact in terms of support given to the population and strengthening local authorities:

    - Better information on the population, wide dissemination of the monitoring chart for the SDGs and any key reports, most notably by creating a website.

    - Creating a policy of informed local development by ensuring that observation and analysis tools are used by local authorities.

  • Sustainability

    The Observatory will develop a set of indicators for sustainable development. These indicators will cover the urban reality of Grand Sfax and its evolution. The indicators must help to identify additional programs that might improve the situation based on the requirements for sustainability and environmental protection.

    41 indicators were chosen in order to assess the state of the environment and to monitor and measure the components of strategy to develop Grand Sfax. Thus, the indicators used consist of:

    - 8 indicators for the "human and social" stage

    - 14 indicators for the "economy and development" stage

    - 9 indicators for the "natural environment" stage

    - 9 indicators for the "territory and governance" stage

    - 1 indicator for follow-up work on large projects.





    Human and social

    - Birth rate for the population

    - Total fertility rate

    - Number of doctors/inhabitants

    - Activity rate

    - Graduate unemployment rate

    - Annual expenses

    - Net migration

    - Car ownership levels

    Economy - development

    - Export value

    - Foreign investment in industry

    - Foreign investment in services

    - Number of industrial jobs

    - Number of industrial companies

    - Number of industrial estates managed by A.P.I

    - Number of services companies founded

    - The value of agricultural exports

    - The value of agricultural production

    - Number of bed places for tourists

    - Number of overnight stays

    - Number of beds in private clinics

    - Public investment

    - Private investment

    The natural environment

    - Number of urban parks

    - Surface area of green spaces

    - Surface area of organic agricultural land

    - Surface area of irrigated land with a water saving system

    - Surface area of land threatened by erosion

    - Number of artificial reefs in the sea

    - Air quality

    - Seawater quality

    - Number of ISO 14000 certified companies

    Territory- governance

    - Percentage of houses connected to the sewage system

    - Housing density

    - Separate public transport lanes

    - Public facilities for leisure and culture

    - Recovery rate for municipal taxes

    - Remote municipal services

    - Municipal revenue

    - Total municipal expenditure

    - Municipal expenditure on equipment

    - Follow-up on large projects


  • Transfer capability

    - A number of national and regional administrations have observatories

    - Opportunities for coordination with other observatories

    - Possibility of creating observatories in other cities that are also creating development strategies