in coastal regions and in small islands
Socio-economic and environmental evaluation and management of the south coast of Havana Province, Cuba
|Site visit: 8-11th May, 2001.
Assessment completed: 1st September, 2001.
Gillian Cambers, UNESCO consultant, Dirk Troost, Chief UNESCO/CSI, (not closely associated with the project); Antonio Diaz Tablada, Provincial Directorate of Physical Planning of Havana Province, (field-project leader), Frank Ortiz, UNESCO Havana Office (closely associated with the project).
A visit was made to Havana Province (Cambers/Troost), 7-12th May, 2001, who together with Mr. Ortiz and Mr. Diaz Tablada, as well as Ms. Elsa Mato, Director of the Provincial Directorate of Physical Planning of Havana Province (DPPF), and Ms. Fara Carreras (DPPF), and several other persons involved in the project, had several meetings and field visits as follows:
|Following the assessment visit, there were detailed discussions between the four persons involved in the assessment through meetings and e-mail.|
|Constraints:||There were no constraints, all arrangements for the assessment visit were excellent.|
Field Project Assessment
This project started in 1999 and has made excellent progress. The following assessment discusses the project activities to date in terms of several long-term parameters or characteristics of ‘wise practices’. Inevitably, projects still in an early phase, cannot be expected to fulfil all these characteristics completely.
The sixteen characteristics, used to define ‘wise
practices’, are used here to assess this field project.
A qualitative scale is used as follows:
|None (0):||The field project activities to date do not comply with this characteristic and/or the characteristic is not relevant.|
|Slightly (1-3):||The field project activities to date have begun in some preliminary way to satisfy this characteristic.|
|Partially (4-6):||The field project activities to date have gone some significant way towards fulfilling this characteristic.|
|Fully (7-9):|| The field project activities to date have gone
the full way to complying with this
This assessment is
based only on the activities undertaken to date, and does not include those
planned for the future.
|Have the project
activities ensured long term benefit?
Despite the fact that the project is still in an early phase, some tangible long-term benefits are already evident. In particular a proposal has been prepared and submitted for funding to relocate the residents of Playa Rosario to a site 5 km inland at Juan Borrell, where they will not have to be evacuated from their homes several times a year to escape flooding and inundation by the sea. (21 families have already been relocated). The fact that the Provincial Directorate of Physical Planning of Havana Province is now working closer with other institutions, including the Oceanography Institute, also points to the project’s long-term benefit. Furthermore the preparation of the diagnostic assessment and the detailed plans of four of the settlements have helped prepare the groundwork for integrated actions in the future.
|Do the project activities provide for capacity building and institutional strengthening?||
|The project activities are contributing significantly to capacity building. The project has helped to change the ‘thinking’ of people working in Physical Planning and Municipal Government, such that now persons work together as a team and ‘talk the same language’ as compared with the situation three years ago. This is further enforced by the interaction between the Provincial Directorate of Physical Planning and other agencies dealing with hydrology, fisheries and oceanography. The project activities have also contributed to institutional strengthening by providing equipment (computers, plotter, digital camera, air conditioning) which have facilitated the introduction and use of a Geographical Information System (GIS).|
|Are the project activities sustainable?||Partially (6)|
|Several factors point to the sustainability of the project activities: (i) the Provincial Commission for the South Coast of Havana Province is a permanent institution created in 1998. It is multi-disciplinary and its members include representatives from the municipalities, provincial agencies and the media. One of its main priorities is to implement an action plan to mitigate the coastal erosion; (ii) the development of a team approach at the Provincial Directorate of Physical Planning of Havana Province and the fact that the Director of the Directorate, Ms. Elsa Mato, emphasised that the project will continue even though the project leader will be away for a year; (iii) the increasing collaboration between the Provincial Directorate of Physical Planning and other agencies.|
|Have the project activities been transferred?||
|Due to the preliminary nature of the project, the activities have not yet been transferred to other sites within Cuba or beyond. However, transferability of wise practices is already being considered, as was mentioned by the team in relation to proposed solutions for coastal flooding at Playa Rosario and Playa Mayabeque.|
|Are the project activities interdisciplinary and intersectoral?||
|While considerable efforts are being made to include all relevant disciplines, more needs to be done, especially to fully include marine resources. Similarly, further work is needed to include all societal sectors.|
|Do the project activities incorporate participatory processes?||
|It is difficult to provide an overall view of this characteristic because each municipality is a small project in itself. At Playa Rosario, the population was fully involved in the decision to relocate further inland through meetings and contacts with their representative in the Municipal Assembly. At Playa Mayabeque, action on the ground started with a community leader taking the initiative to construct groynes to retain the sand.|
|Do the project activities provide for consensus building?||
|Because of the way Cuban society is structured, many of the decisions are based on the development of a consensus, e.g. at Playa Rosario, most of the people agreed that relocation was the best action to take, although there were a few dissenters.|
|Do the project activities include an effective and efficient communication process?||
|While the television, radio and press have been involved in information dissemination, and there has been dialogue at the community level, there is still a need to make the communication process more efficient.|
|Are the project activities culturally respectful?||
|As a result of the societal structure in Cuba, all project activities have fully taken into account the traditions and culture of the various stakeholder groups.|
|Do the project activities take into account gender and/or sensitivity issues?||
|Gender is not a special issue in Cuba, and many technical agencies have more women in professional positions than men. Nor is relocation particularly sensitive, since in Cuba, Government policy is for every family to have its own home.|
|Do the project activities strengthen local identities?||
|The project activities have contributed to this indirectly by involving people in the municipal planning process. However, local identity is not as strong an issue as in some other countries.|
|Do the project activities shape national legal policy?||
|The project activities are part of the country’s efforts to manage coastal problems in an integrated manner, in particular the Provincial Government Resolution 72 of 1998, which provides a policy for the physical planning of the coastal zone, and Resolution 143 of 1998, which provides regulations for the 1 km wide coastal strip including the seven settlements.|
|Do the project activities encompass the regional dimension?||
|The project activities are particularly relevant in the context of regional programmes of action such as those associated with the Cartagena Convention; the RAMSAR Convention; the UN Assembly General Resolution 54/225, Promoting an integrated approach in the Caribbean Sea area in the context of sustainable development (22.12.99); and the issues prioritised by the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) at Barbados + 5 (New York, 1999) – in particular (a) climate change, (b) natural and environmental disasters and climate variability, (d) coastal and marine resources.|
|Do the project activities provide for human rights?||
|The project activities provide in general terms for human rights.|
|Have the project activities been documented?||
|There has been excellent documentation of the project activities to date, see the listing of project documentation at the beginning of this assessment.|
|Have the project activities been evaluated?||
|This present evaluation is the first such exercise.|
Revised Future Project Activities
the preparation of the plans for the seven coastal settlements and hold a
provincial workshop to present the plans and to modify and approve the
strategy for each coastal settlement.
a case study of the relocation of the residents from Playa Rosario to Juan
Borrell: This will be a documented case
study of the way in which this community is dealing with the hazard posed by
coastal erosion and climate variability.
It will include the history of the community’s decision to relocate
their settlement further inland, as well as a sociological survey of the
community’s perception of the marine hazard and the relocation decision.
This may be published on its own in the CSI info series, which may
prove to be beneficial to obtaining funding for the relocation.
This case study may provide important lessons in the context of small
islands in the Caribbean and beyond as other islands prepare to face up to
assist the community at Playa Mayabeque in their efforts to promote beach
accretion so as to protect their houses. This will involve the
visit of the leader of another CSI project, COSALC,
who has considerable experience with coastal structures, to add to the
knowledge of the community and enhance their capacity to protect their
beach. In the short term, the community will be able to modify the system of
groynes they have already constructed so that they function more
effectively, and in the medium term, a short proposal will be prepared to
seek funding to make the groynes more resistant to extreme forces such as
enhance the communication process by working with the Direccion
Provincial de Radio to ensure the full dissemination of information relating
to the project’s activities, and to provide a mechanism for obtaining the
responses of community sectors to the project activities, in order to make
the project fully responsive to local needs.
translate ‘Coping with beach erosion’ into Spanish, and replace some
of the photographs with equivalent pictures from Cuba, so that it can be
used as local resource material.
provide improved Internet access for the Provincial Directorate of Physical
Planning of Havana Province and some of the municipalities through the
provision of fax modems.
To provide at least two contributions to the ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development’ forum, at least one of which should relate to the project activities.
 COSALC is an old acronym for the project entitled ‘Managing beach resources and planning for coastline change, Caribbean islands’