Maya_Boureghda Chebeane

COP 28 Insight: Maya Chebeane on Tunisia’s Climate Adaptation Vision 

With Suzan Taha

Embarking on the intersection of law and climate action, LegalcommunityMENA engages in a thought-provoking interview with Maya Boureghda Chebeane (pictured), a distinguished lawyer at Jurismed and co-founder of  

In the context of COP 28, Maya shares insights on the anticipated impacts of climate change on Tunisia and the broader region, emphasizing the economic, social, and environmental challenges that lie ahead. She underscores the pivotal role of law in swiftly and effectively addressing the evolving landscape of climate-related concerns, shedding light on the ongoing legal reforms in Tunisia and its journey towards sustainable development, aligning with the goals of COP 28. 

How do you anticipate the impacts of climate change on Tunisia and the broader region, particularly considering economic, social, and environmental challenges? 

Climate change is expected to have significant impacts on Tunisia and the broader region, involving economic, social, and environmental challenges. 

Climate change is increasing water stress, affecting traditional agricultural cycles, and impacting in soil quality and shifting agricultural zones. These challenges will directly impact the economic and social situation, leading to greater challenges to overcome, not only in Tunisia but in the whole region increasing poverty and migration. 

Tackling these challenges swiftly using conventional and traditional methods and current resources might prove challenging, especially considering the urgency of the problem. Innovation can be a key factor in meeting these challenges, both technically and financially, as well as on the legal side. 

Innovative solutions must be sought to address these challenges globally, tackling the different issues of energy, waste-to-energy conversion, new agricultural techniques coupled with water issues, promoting circular economy and working for everyone’s well-being… 

In the face of water stress, shifting agricultural zones, and soil quality concerns due to climate change, how can legal innovations contribute to addressing these challenges swiftly and effectively in Tunisia? 

Legislations should be adopted to limit activities that impact too much climate change and increase the water stress while promoting the ones that fits with these constraints. Legislation is essential for the functioning of a society, but it has also to adapt to the society it regulates otherwise it’s obsolete and can be a factor in the destruction of value. Law as did economy or medical care should adapt to changing circumstances with the aim of promoting general welfare of the community. 

Hence, legal innovation can play a key role in tackling these challenges by establishing laws and regulations that are not only tailored to the current context but also anticipate and address future challenges. 

For example, the laws governing water, drilling and the use of groundwater remain stuck in a bygone era and are no longer adapted to the problems of today’s society, leading to an increase of illegal drilling and inadequate use of water. In Tunisia, reforms related to this matter are currently underway but have not yet been finalized and adopted. 

An innovation act has also been prepared in Tunisia, with the help of the whole community of innovators in the country, to spread innovation all over the society, the administration, and the economy, putting in place tools to test regulatory innovation within Sandboxes. 

The challenges of climate change will be difficult to solve solely by means of binding legislative measures or changes in human habits, innovation should be accelerated to find alternative solutions to these challenges. 

Legal sandbox can help in by allowing innovation to be tested more smoothly, outside existing legislative constraints. 

Could you elaborate on the main provisions of Tunisia’s legal framework governing renewable energy, the governance of the sector, and the incentives in place to promote the development of renewable energies, especially in light of COP 28 discussions? 

Tunisia is a country with a solar radiation intensity of between 1800 kWh/m²/year and 2600 kWh/m²/year, and a wind energy potential estimated at 8 GW over an exploitable surface area of 1600 km². A country with ambitions to increase renewable energy to 35% of the energy mix by 2030. To achieve these objectives, a legal framework has been implemented, and various incentives have been established. 

The promotion of renewable energies is defined by article 2 of the Energy Efficiency Act (Law 2004-72 of 2 August 2004 as amended by Law 2009-7 of 9/02/2009 and Law 2015-12 of 11 May 2015 on the production of electricity from renewable energies), as all actions aimed at exploiting all forms of electrical, mechanical, or thermal energy obtained by transforming solar, wind, biomass, geothermal or any other renewable natural source. The above definition aims at promoting renewable energy generalizing the use of primary energy sources (solar energy, wind energy, etc.), so that these sources can be used in the production of electrical, mechanical, or thermal energy. In the current state of Tunisian legislation, it is mainly electrical energy that receives the most incentives. 

The Law of 2015-12 of 11 May 2015 on the production of electricity from renewable energies established a National Plan for Electricity Produced from Renewable Energies and provided for three independent electricity production schemes: 

· Production for self-consumption; or 

· Production for local consumption needs; or 

· Production of electricity for export. 

In all three cases, a set of specifications, approved by order of the Minister for Energy, sets out the technical conditions for connecting the generating unit to the National Electricity Grid. 

These projects of power production can be implemented on private lands or public lands under concession agreements. Financial and tax incentives have been provided under certain conditions. 

How are renewable energy projects typically financed in Tunisia, and what perspectives do you see for the future development of renewable energy initiatives in the country? 

Renewable energy projects are mainly financed by banks and development financial institutions through project finance structuring and partly by private equity, supporting in equity the companies investing in renewable energy. There were some problematics around project finance structuring due to land’s constraints, legal issues around taking the relevant securities and the bankability of the power purchase agreement, but it has been mostly solved. 

However, the banking system is still too cautious in financing new projects and sometimes overly rigid. That’s why innovative financing means should be sought to fill in the financing gap and promote additional projects, including small projects. 

For example, renewable energy projects can be financed by tokenization, which has been done in other countries but also through the issuance of green bonds or through crowdfunding platforms. 

A law has been adopted in Tunisia on crowdfunding allowing financing of projects through crowdfunding in the form of donations, loans and investments. 

The Financial Market Council, with the International Financial Corporation has developed a guide on green bonds to promote their use. 

The draft Innovation Act may allow some form of tokenization. 

What role does the law play in promoting the circular economy in Tunisia and how legal frameworks can contribute to overcoming challenges in areas like reuse, repair, recycling, and waste reduction? 

Law can contribute to overcoming these challenges by implementing effective policies, regulations, and incentives that encourage the shift towards energy transition and support the transformation from a linear to a circular economy model. 

Several projects in circular economy have been implemented in Tunisia. However, the success of these projects and their proliferation cannot succeed without an appropriate legislative framework that not only promotes them but also punishes any shortcomings. For example, regarding waste recycling, without a law imposing waste recycling, very few will voluntarily recycle their wastes. In the European Union, several directives and regulations (Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) (2012/19/EU), Directive on single-use plastics (2019/904)…) provide a solid legal framework for encouraging the recycling and selective sorting of waste in the EU, thereby contributing to the transition towards a more circular and sustainable economy. In addition, to reduce the carbon footprint in the European Union, a cross-border carbon adjustment mechanism has been adopted and is being implemented progressively, it has come into force in October 2023 for 6 priority sectors, which implies that the Tunisian export industry, which is highly integrated into European value chains, needs to upgrade. 

Considering the challenges of climate change, how effective can Public-Private Partnerships be in structuring and funding projects, especially at the municipal level in Tunisia? 

Public-Private Partnership (PPP) can play a significant role as a development tool for municipal projects, by mobilizing private resources, providing expertise and innovation, and contributing to the delivery of quality infrastructure and services as well as global projects in circular economy, waste-to-energy conversion… 

As a global contract, PPP can solve different issues such as energy shortage, impact of climate change on agriculture and water stress. 

Structuring projects in PPP can help solving the challenges of climate changes leveraging the strengths of both the public and private sectors, creating synergies that can lead to more effective and efficient solutions to climate-related issues. PPPs allow for integrating various aspects of climate change mitigation, such as combining renewable energy projects, waste recycling with community education and capacity-building initiatives, bringing also additional private capital and expertise. 

Different legal structures have been used to involve local authorities and private companies in building PPP projects such as municipal waste management and recycling programs helping to manage waste collection, sorting, and recycling facilities, or composting projects to establish urban composting facilities that convert organic waste into compost for local agricultural use. Measuring performance and efficiency in PPPs could be a guarantee of success. 

The success of these projects depends mainly on a good preparation of the project, a good distribution of the tasks of each party and the political will of the local authorities. 

Considering small municipal projects, what are the specific legal challenges and opportunities in addressing climate change in Tunisia? How can legal frameworks support innovation in these smaller-scale initiatives? 

Establishing regulatory frameworks that specifically address climate change and supports municipal-level initiatives can be a challenge while removing legal constraints and easing implementation of municipal projects can create opportunities. 

Access to funding is also a critical challenge that should be addressed. Legal hurdles in obtaining and properly utilizing national and international climate finance can impede the implementation of small-scale projects. 

Developing specific legal instruments and mechanisms tailored to the Tunisian context can play a crucial role in enhancing the nation’s climate resilience and sustainability, especially for smaller-scale initiatives. 

From a legal standpoint, how can circular economy principles contribute to mitigating environmental impacts in Tunisia, aligning with COP 28 goals? 

The main goal of circular economy is to redefine growth and economic model targeting sustainable development and focusing on positive society-wide benefits. It entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources and designing waste out of the system. The targets of circular economy are resource efficiency, waste reduction, and innovation directly contributing to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions, conserving resources, and fostering sustainable growth. 

From a legal standpoint, two actions can be undertaken to increase circular economy: 

· Adopting new laws and policies aimed at promoting circular economy, such as laws requiring waste to be recycled, granting tax incentives for clean energy projects or recycling and reuse projects ; and structuring and implementing projects targeting circular economy, especially at the local level. 

On the first aspect, Tunisia has been preparing public policies around climate change for a while. Tunisia has officially submitted at COP 27 in Egypt Tunisia’s “Carbon Neutrality Strategy to 2050” and “Carbon Neutral and Climate Resilient Development Strategy to 2050”. This strategy is based on four pillars: (i) better integration of technological innovations into the production process, (ii) accelerating the energy transition, (iii) improving food security and preserving national capital and (iv) strengthening the circular economy, particularly in the waste sector. 

These public policies need to be converted into laws to have a greater impact and supporting the transition. 

On the second aspect, several projects in the waste sector and more generally circular economy are being implemented at the municipal level, including in the south of Tunisia. 

How crucial is legal education in empowering decision-makers and the public to understand the significance of energy transition, circular economy, and other legal aspects fundamental to accelerating change in the context of climate action in Tunisia? 

Policy maker can work on educating, raising awareness among the public about the importance of the energy transition and the circular economy, which is fundamental to accelerating change and transition. 

Law plays a critical role in shaping behaviors and practices towards a more sustainable society. Effective legal frameworks not only address specific challenges like recycling, reusing, or waste reduction but also create an environment encouraging innovation, collaboration, and sustainable growth, helping to change the society and its habits. 

In order to accelerate the Change, several initiatives should be taken, such as: 

– Removing legal barriers. 

– Developing Innovation and R&D. 

– Raising public awareness and education. 

– Aligning national laws with international Standards. 

– Encouraging public-private partnerships and collaborations between different sectors, fostering an integrated approach to developing circular economy solutions. 

About Maya Boureghda Chebeane 

A distinguished lawyer admitted to the Tunisian and Paris bars. Her areas of practice encompass Banking & Finance, with a specialized focus on structured finance, project finance, Islamic finance, PPP, private equity, foreign investment law, capital markets, restructuring and insolvency law, as well as commercial and company law. Her multifaceted contributions to the legal field underscore her dedication to advancing legal knowledge, fostering innovation, and shaping the future of law in diverse contexts. 

Beyond her legal practice, Maya is a trailblazer in legaltech, having founded an online legal platform,, and, which encompasses legislations and case law. Her commitment to education is evident through her role as an international banking law lecturer at Paris I University, Panthéon-Sorbonne, the University of the Holy Spirit in Kaslik (Lebanon), and the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce (Lille/Paris). In Tunisia, she imparts knowledge on financial markets law at the law faculties of the University of Tunis II and Tunis I. 

Fluent in Arabic, French, English, and Italian, Maya is an active member of various legal committees and associations. She holds a Ph.D. in Law from the prestigious Sorbonne University (Paris I). 

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