What are the impacts of EU trade agreements in North African countries, and the related risks? The focus will be on the impacts of EU-North Africa trade, notably through EU FTAs, on ecological resilience, especially water scarcity in the North Africa countries.
In this case study a comparative body of knowledge about impacts of EU trade agreements on North African countries will be produced. Focus areas are key food products in the region, ecological resilience and water scarcity. An important benefit that is actively pursued is to support the capacity of small-scale farmers and their organisations for advocacy against the negative impacts and risks of such trade agreements.
Implicit or explicit sustainability standards regarding rights and natural resources in North Africa as well as the development model of sectors and countries in general.
Sustainability standards do not have primacy in EU DCFTAs. Sustainability standards and rights in North African countries are not properly addressed in trade negotiations. There is also a lack of market support for North African economic actors, especially small-scale farmers leading to a predominance of low value-added activities with high ecological footprint. North African agriculture policies are mainly export-oriented, instead of guaranteeing food sovereignty for North African societies.
Natural resources are under severe pressure, especially water scarcity is severe in North Africa. A major problem is the uneven competition with EU producers, as agriculture in the EU is hugely subsidized. The risk of market eviction for small-scale farmers is another issue to be addressed.
  1. Literature review
  2. Draft conceptual note for the workshop with specific objectives and key research questions
  3. Workshop with partners and relevant stakeholders (academic, etc.) to sharpen objectives and research questions
  4. Final conceptual note for workshop and restricted call for proposals
  5. Selection and review of proposals
  6. Workshop
  7. Proceedings of the conference as the Case study research material/deliverable
  • Literature review (quantitative and qualitative)
  • Key person interviews in preparation of the workshop
  • Workshop including focus groups
Strengthen CSOs knowledge and capacities in North Africa to advocate for sustainable and a rights-based trade regime with the EU.

Case Study Leader

Transnational Institute

Lοcal Partner(s)

Tunisian Observatory of the Economy
North Africa Food Sovereignty Network

SDG's Addressed


Geographical Focus and Scale


Product and market focus

Key food products in the region, North Africa. Food sovereignty and water scarcity (to be confirmed in the conceptual/planning workshop).

Key stakeholders

OTE and TNI will collaborate on trade and sustainability focusing on EU trade, agriculture and water scarcity in North Africa. We want this research to benefit the strategic thinking of the North Africa Food Sovereignty Network (NAFSN). Therefor OTE will develop the research questions in cooperation with the CSO and academic members of the network during a first workshop of the network in the 2nd quarter of 2022. We envisage key stakeholders to be small-scale farmers and their organisations and CSOs in North Africa. The questions posed in this profile form will be answered during a conference to be held the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2022 in Tunis. Between the first workshop and the conference, research proposals will be planned. OTE, as member of NAFSN and as research institute will lead the research process. TNI will support the process at the technical level (research support, review, feedback etc).