Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Beach Management in Eastern
Caribbean Islands under Focus

A workshop focusing on an 'Integrated Framework for the Management of Beach Resources within the Smaller Caribbean Islands' was held at the Mayaguez campus of the University of Puerto Rico (USA) from 21 to 25 October 1996. Organized and co-sponsored by the University's Sea Grant College Program (UPR/SGCP), the event also received support from the Caribbean Development Bank as well as UNESCO (CSI and IOC).
The reason for selecting management of beach resources as the major focus of the workshop was well explained by one of the participants, who gave a talk on 'Destroying the goose that lays the golden egg'. Considerable economic losses and non-sustainability of human development are the consequences of a number of factors, including: intensive coastal development and beach mining in small-island situations (in some cases un- or poorly controlled) and pollution, added to natural coastal changes such as those caused by tropical storms, hurricanes and climate change.
Participants from small-island countries made presentations based on case studies related to beach management. These were followed by presentations by several lead agencies on their involvement in coastal planning and management programmes in the region. Group discussions and a field demonstration were conducted. A strategy for 'sustainable beach management by the year 2001' was developed by the participants.
Representatives of the Eastern Caribbean Islands, involved in the COSALC beach monitoring programme, met for the first time since the establishment of the programme by UNESCO in the mid-1980s. The workshop activities centred around the following inter-related themes: beach management, sand mining, beaches and tourism, coastal erosion and hurricane impacts on beaches. Among the participants were physical planners, environmental scientists, researchers, educators, representatives of government agencies, and members of the private sector (developers and hotel owners). Other topics examined were: community-based, traditional and modern approaches to beach management; social issues affecting beaches, such as access, ownership and user conflicts; beach mining policies and related lacunae in national legislation; alternatives to beach mining, examples of best management practices etc.
Over thirty participants were from the following small island Member States, Associated Member States and territories of the Eastern Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos and US Virgin Islands. Also invited were some 20 participants and resource persons from Puerto Rico itself as well as one participant from the USA and another from Belize.

Through representation, a considerable number of regional and international agencies and NGOs demonstrated their interest in the theme of the workshop. These bodies (and the location of their secretariats) were: the Caribbean Council for Science and Technology (Trinidad & Tobago), Caribbean Development Bank (Barbados), Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (Barbados), Caribbean Tourism Organization (Barbados), Island Resources Foundation (St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands), Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (St. Kitts & Nevis), Organization of American States (USA), Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States Natural Resources Management Unit (St. Lucia), and UNESCO -- through the CSI endeavour and the IOC Sub-Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (IOCARIBE).

The workshop was organized on the CSI 'platform', which seeks to facilitate the transition from sectoral to integrated approaches to coastal management and the appropriate application of relevant research findings.
For more information on the COSALC project, contact:
(i) Dr. Gillian Cambers, UPR/SGCP, fax (1-787) 265 2880; or
(ii) UNESCO/CSI at csi@unesco.org

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