Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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LAUNCH OF THE CARIBBEAN "SANDWATCH" PROJECT

A new Initiative

Two UNESCO Sectors, the Education Sector and the Natural Sciences Sector are going to launch, on the CSI platform, a new project in the Caribbean Region- the Sandwatch project. Involved in the preparation and coordination of the above activity are the Caribbean Sea Project (CSP) and the Coast and Beach Stability in the Caribbean (COSALC) project.

Background

The Caribbean Sea Project (CSP) is an activity of the UNESCO Associated Schools Project (ASP). It focuses on the marine environment, sustainable human development and inter-cultural awareness. The CSP seeks to encourage cooperation among Caribbean Basin territories with a view to enlisting young people, their parents and the communities in which they live, to protect and preserve the Caribbean Sea, including the waterways and wetlands linked to it, and to strengthen Caribbean identity.

The Coast and Beach Stability in the Caribbean Project (COSALC) is jointly sponsored by UNESCO’s Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and in Small Islands (CSI) and by the University of Puerto Rico Sea Grant College Program. COSALC is a regional project which focuses on the island territories of the Caribbean and seeks to develop in-country capabilities so that island states can measure, assess and manage their beach resources within an overall framework of integrated coastal management.

During the ASPnet CSP First Environmental Education Workshop held in Tobago in July, 1998, an idea for a Sandwatch Project was launched, the main goal being to reduce the level of pollution in the Caribbean Sea.

In order to try and advance this idea, CSP and COSALC developed a document for presentation to the Fourth Regional Meeting of National Coordinators of the ASPnet CSP (St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 25-27 May, 1999).

Activities

The meeting was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conference room in Kingstown, St. Vincent from 25-27th May, 1999.

On the 26th May, during the visit to Bequia, the proposal for the Sandwatch project was presented to the participants. There was some discussion regarding the proposal. Most of the participants were enthusiastic about the proposal and considered it a promising way to teach the basic scientific method and to apply it to problem solving at the local community/school level.

The workshop report concluded that "The Sandwatch project be implemented at the school level in collaboration with the UNESCO COSALC project based at the University of Puerto Rico, and relevant scientific organizations at the national level. The project is to be student centred and should be officially launched at the regional level with a teacher training workshop in the year 2000." It was further provisionally agreed that St. Lucia would seek the UNESCO assistance (through the Participation Programme) for the first activity of the Sandwatch project, the teacher training workshop. A more detailed description of the Sandwatch project is given on the next page.

For more information contact:

Ms. Sandra Gift, CSP Coordinator, UNESCO-Port of Spain Office, c/o UNDP P.O.Box 812, Trinidad and Tobago, Fax (1) 8686220536, e-mail: S.Gift@unesco.org

Dr. Gillian Cambers, COSALC Coordinator, SGCP-UPR, P.O.Box 9011, College Station, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Fax (1) 7872652880, e-mail: g_cambers@rumac.uprm.edu

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