ORIENTATE: OceanogRaphIc and Ecological dAta for Nature-based coasTAl proTEction


Project duration
2022 to 2025

project summary

Tunisian coastlines were identified as the ones receding the fastest at the Mediterranean basin averaging 64 cm per year with annual losses estimated at 3% of GDP. Few datasets on local coastal erosion assessment are available and, with climate change, historic data are no longer adequate for planning and decision-making. A shortage of local skills in coastal erosion risk management further exacerbates the problem. 

OceanogRaphIc and Ecological dAta for Nature-based coasTAl proTEction (ORIENTATE), implemented by Alfred-Wegener-Institut (AWI) and University of Sfax (US), attempts to facilitate the adaptive governance of the coastal erosion risks in Tunisia by providing sustainable, cost-effective data and developing a living lab of nature-based mitigation.  

The project expects to help to secure the livelihoods of coastal communities and costal erosion mitigation through a sustainable and tested concept for maintaining observational oceanographic data and a proven practical approach to secure the coastal areas by seagrass plantation. To that end, the project will be co-designed and implemented with key stakeholder groups (e.g. national and local government representatives, local community representative, NGO specialists, researchers, private sector, etc.) to ensure local acceptance and project sustainability.


Provide sustainable, cost-effective data and an ecologically sound way to facilitate the adaptive governance of erosion risks in Tunisia’s most vulnerable coastal areas.

Find a suitable and sustainable solution of retrieving relevant data for coastal erosion risk and support the decision-making processes by engaging local stakeholders and policy makers

Develop a living lab of nature-based mitigation using intertidal seagrass plantation as well as a training scheme for coastal communities and stakeholders.

Make available datasets on local erosion hotspots, local skills on coastal erosion risk management and therefore to safeguard the local tourism-based economy.

areas of work

Development of efficient data acquisition, sustainable usage of data and data validation

  • Workshops in Tunisia and Germany
  • Development of efficient methods for data acquisition
  • Implementation of an application to disseminate data tested by different stakeholder groups and evaluated according to user friendliness.

Development of a coastal living lab of nature-based mitigation

  • Bringing together key stakeholder’s through a co-design process
  • Studies and pilot trials, monitoring and evaluation phase

Development of an educational unit as well as teaching and training modules

  • Development of a training outline and concept for multiplications and educators
  • Development of short training units with interested people of local communities e.g. fishermen
  • Summer school / summer camp for the youth

Development of a strategy for continuation of the monitoring after the project’s lifetime together

  • Development of a handbook and educational guidelines of best practice for seagrass plantation


University of Sfax

Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung