Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands

Embarking on Mauritius Strategy implementation

About this brochure

In January 2005, a high-level United Nations (UN) meeting was convened in Mauritius to review the implementation of and refine the 1994 Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Together with governments, civil society, regional bodies and other international organizations, UNESCO has been urged by the UN General Assembly to take timely actions to ensure effective implementation of the updated Programme of Action.

UNESCO has contributed distinctively to the forward-planning process associated with the review of the 1994 Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA) for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and to the International UN Meeting in Mauritius (10-14 January 2005), through events that highlighted the role of culture, youth visioning for island living, communities in action, ocean and coastal management, and a civil society forum. This contribution is underpinned by a resolution (32 C/Res.48) adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in 2003.

Mauritius Strategy Chapters
  1. Climate change and sea-level rise
  2. Natural and environmental disasters
  3. Management of wastes
  4. Coastal and marine resources
  5. Freshwater resources
  6. Land resources
  7. Energy resources
  8. Tourism resources
  9. Biodiversity resources
  10. Transport and communication
  11. Science and technology
  12. Graduation from least developed country status
  13. Trade: globalization and trade liberalization
  14. Sustainable capacity development and education for sustainable development
  15. Sustainable production and consumption
  16. National and regional enabling environments
  17. Health
  18. Knowledge management and
  19. Culture
  20. Implementation

The principal negotiated outputs of the Mauritius International Meeting - a strategy document and a political declaration - call for action in many fields related to UNESCO's concerns, programmes and priorities. The Mauritius Strategy builds on and reassesses the original BPoA areas. But it also highlights several new priorities and emerging issues, such as HIV/AIDS, information and communication technologies, culture, trade, security.

In March 2005, an Intersectoral Information Meeting for Permanent Delegates and Observers provided an occasion within UNESCO to exchange views on the Mauritius International Meeting and its immediate follow-up. Among the points raised was that small islands, because of their scale and diversity, represent rapid-response-to-change examples that may be instructive for larger, continental countries. While SIDS form a geopolitical grouping, there is mutual value in linking with other island territories, as has been done in such initiatives as Youth Visioning for Island Living and Small Islands Voice. Moreover, activities in such fields as sustainable tourism and renewable energy are among the domains of special interest to small islands that are also of broader concern.

Subsequently, on 14 July, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 59/311 on the follow-up to the International Meeting in Mauritius, including the role of the United Nations agencies in the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy.

In terms of future UNESCO action, a two-pronged approach is being followed: firstly, mainstreaming the needs of SIDS in all the Organization's activities; and secondly, stepping up the holistic, integrated approach to sustainable island living and development, through intersectoral action with an intergenerational perspective at the interregional level. Particular attention is being given to often marginalized dimensions such as culture, indigenous knowledge, youth and outer islands.

This booklet provides glimpses of the Organization's initial activities during 2005 in support of the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy, with particular emphasis on those carried out and supported by Field Offices.

"We have heard much about the special vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States and the particular challenges that they face. At the same time, there is also need to stress the very special positive characteristics and strengths of small island nations and communities: their extraordinary capacity for adaptation and innovation; their proven determination and capability to overcome many adversities; their role as one of the world's front-line zones for addressing the challenges of sustainable development and sustainable living; and the recognized importance of maintaining solidarity among themselves while treasuring their diversity."

UNESCO Director-General Ko´chiro Matsuura, in his plenary address to the Mauritius International Meeting,13 January 2005.






Cover of a 48-page booklet prepared for the International Meeting in Mauritius, designed to provide glimpses of UNESCO's concerns and activities in SIDS.


Table of content       Chapters

Introduction Activities Publications search
Wise practices Regions Themes