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Ensemble pour l’environnement

Mauretania’s population is strongly affected by climate change due to the geographical features and increasing desertification of their country. The project “Ensemble pour l’environnement” of the Goethe-Institut addresses these challenges and seeks to encourage the country’s public discourse on environment and climate, while enabling discussion and reflection on these issues.

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Ensemble pour l’environnementPhoto: © private

Three quarters of Mauretania are covered by the Sahara Desert, making it one of the countries most vulnerable to the effects of desertification and severe periods of drought. The loss of natural habitats and water shortage cause an exodus of people from rural areas to the capital, which faces great challenges in the shape of immigration and worsening environmental pollution.
The consequences of climate change and environmental pollution concern the whole of Mauretania’s population without exception. But while some local organisations and NGO’s are already committed to environmental issues, there is barely any public awareness about the urgent need to protect Mauretania’s environment. This is in part due to a lack of financial support, as the country’s struggling economy provides civil society with few opportunities to become active in this field.


The project “Ensemble pour l’environnement” (Eng. Together for the Environment) supports innovative project ideas in Mauretania’s capital Nouakchott that centre around climate and environment, but also have the potential to foster exchange between different groups in society. The project seeks to instil a collective sense of responsibility for environmental topics. To this end, the Goethe-Institut establishes a development fund which organisations as well as individuals can apply to for support by submitting project ideas that address, for instance, the redevelopment of public space, the creation of green areas, or the environmental sensitisation of society. Successful applicants also benefit from training opportunities in preparation for the implementation of their projects.
An important goal of this project lies in stimulating a whole-of-society dialogue in Mauretania, not least through the project’s closing event which serves to present the implemented initiatives to the public and inspire Mauritanian civil society as a whole. The initiatives are meant to encourage those concerned about the environment or social issues to take action themselves. In the long term, their active role in shaping Mauretania’s living environment as well the positive outcomes of their interventions can encourage and enable civic participation in various political and decision-making processes amongst all Mauritanians.

A project of the Goethe-Institut and supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Projects 2021

A call for applications was opened in November 2020 for environmental projects and initiatives from the municipality of Sebkha in Nouakchott. Five of the 22 submitted applications were ultimately selected by an independent jury to receive funding enabling them to implement their diverse ideas. These projects, ranging from urban gardening to creative plastic recycling, will be carried out in the course of 2021.