Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Field Project Summary
Managing beach resources and planning for coastline change, Caribbean islands   

Revision Date: 31st October, 2000.
Title:  Managing beach resources and planning for coastline change, Caribbean islands.  (The project was formerly titled 'Coast and beach stability in the Caribbean' and is known locally by an old acronym COSALC).
Goal: To develop in-country capabilities so that small islands of the Caribbean, often economically dependent on coastal tourism, can effectively manage their changing beach resources and plan for coastline change in a framework of integrated coastal management. 
Location: The initial focus was on small islands in the eastern Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States Virgin Islands; recently the scope has widened to include Haiti and the San Andres Archipelago (Colombia).  
Starting date: 1985, the project was re-focused in 1996. 
Partners: Government agencies responsible for physical planning, fisheries, forestry, natural resources, national parks, and science and technology councils; schools; and environmental non-government agencies in the 13 countries/territories; Caribbean Development Bank, Organization of American States, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Natural Resources Management Unit, (who have provided support); University of Puerto Rico Sea Grant College Program (who have been joint partners since 1994); UNESCO: Communications sector (Kingston office), Associated Schools Programme Caribbean Sea Project (Port-of-Spain office), Coastal Marine Programme (1985-1995), and the Coastal Regions and Small Islands platform 1996 onwards
Pilot project leader: Dr. Gillian Cambers, University of Puerto Rico Sea Grant College Program, P.O.Box 9011, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico 00681-9011.
Tel.: 787 832 3585, Fax.: 787 265 2880
e-mail g_cambers@rumac.uprm.edu
; g_cambers@hotmail.com 
Description: Within COSALC, there are at present four main activity lines:
(1) Understanding beach changes, 1985 - present, 13 countries/territories: this involves providing persons from government agencies and non government organisations with the skills, equipment, training and software, to measure, assess and manage the various phenomena associated with beach erosion.  Beach monitoring programmes, using standardized methodology, have been established in the islands, these are maintained and managed by the islands themselves, databases cover periods of 1-12 years.  The information is being used by the islands in coastal planning and erosion mitigation.
(2) Planning for coastline change, 1996 - present, 5 countries/territories: this activity seeks to apply the information collected in the activity line “Understanding beach changes” so as to ensure that new coastal development is placed at a safe distance from the active beach zone, thereby providing for the safety of coastal infrastructure and the conservation of beaches. A generic methodology was developed which has been applied to 5 countries/territories (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia) so that specific safe setback distances have been determined for individual beaches in these islands.
(3) Environmental video production and broadcast, 1998 - present, 3 countries/territories, in collaboration with the UNESCO Jamaica Office: this activity seeks to get the message into the living room by providing training and equipment to persons from environmental and broadcast agencies in 3 countries/territories (Anguilla, Grenada, St. Lucia) to design, prepare and broadcast short environmental video clips (30 seconds - 1 minute duration) which carry a specific message and can be broadcast repeatedly.
(4) Sandwatch project, 1999 - present, (5 COSALC countries, 13 Caribbean countries total), in collaboration with the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Net, Caribbean Sea Project: this 3 year project seeks to train schoolchildren in the use of the scientific method through monitoring and observing changes, activities and processes at local beaches; and then, with the assistance of their teachers, parents and communities, to apply that information to design and implement specific projects to solve a particular problem while also improving the environment at their local beaches.
Achievements & Assessment: (1) Understanding beach changes: As a result of training and capacity building over a decade, beach monitoring programmes have been fully established in 13 countries/territories, and by December 2000 will be self sufficient (running without external assistance) in at least 60% of these countries/territories.
(2) Planning for coastline changes: safe setback distances have been designed for several countries/territories; in three countries/territories (Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis) they are being implemented informally by Planning departments; in one country (Antigua and Barbuda) they are awaiting planning legislation; in one country (St. Lucia) they are under review. In none of the islands, have the setback distances yet been incorporated into planning legislation.
(3) Environmental video production and broadcast: 6 short video clips have been produced and aired on local television in the 3 countries/territories.  Further training and editing equipment is needed before this activity becomes an established one in the three pilot project countries/territories, and before the activity can be expanded to other countries. 
(4) Sandwatch project: this project was launched in 2000 and a first training workshop for teachers is scheduled for the first half of 2000, after which the project will get underway in the various countries.
Future Directions: Future activities will be focused on beach management in the islands of the Caribbean, but wherever possible, linkages will be established with small islands in other regions of the world in order to share and enhance ideas and activities. Specifically future directions are:
(1) To evaluate the success of the longer-running beach monitoring programmes by determining if they continue once project support is reduced.  To continue to work with the newer monitoring programmes to bring them to a level where they can continue without outside support. To expand the monitoring protocols to other islands in the region and in other regions.
(2)  To develop linkages and interfaces between the beach change databases and geographical information systems.
(3)  To evaluate the use and the effectiveness of the 'safe' setback concept, and to determine whether it can be applied as a planning concept to other islands in and beyond the region.
(4) To continue to work with the islands of the region to reduce their dependence on beach sand for construction and to develop the use of alternative materials.
(5)  To establish an electronic communication network amongst the islands taking part in the project for the purpose of sharing information and solving problems.
(6) To work with other agencies in the region to enhance and improve overall beach management which is so important to the economic and tourism development of the region.
(7) To develop a cadre of persons in the islands trained in environmental video production and broadcast, who will be skilled and equipped in the dissemination of information on environmental and coastal issues to the public.
(8)  Through the implementation of the Sandwatch Project, to educate schoolchildren, their parents and communities in the scientific monitoring and wise management of their beach resources.
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