Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
colbartn.gif (4535 octets)

Assessment of the UNESCO Chair in 
Integrated Management and Sustainable Development of Coastal Regions and Small Islands, University Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal

Date of
18th and 22nd December 2001.
Assessment completed: 14th May 2002.
conducted by
Mr. Philippe MacClenahan, UNESCO consultant (not closely associated with the project); Mr Achille Olloy, UNESCO Dakar Office; Mr. Alioune Kane, UNESCO Chair Course Director, Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD); Mr. Amadou A. Sow, Department of Geography, UCAD; Mr. Gorgui Ciss, Department of Geography, UCAD; Mr. Nicolas Diallo, Department of Plant Biology, UCAD; Mr. Bachir Diouf, Department of Geology, UCAD; Mr. Amadou Tahirou Diaw, Institute for Research and Development, Department of Geography, UCAD; and the following postgraduate diploma students, Diplôme d’Etudes Approfonfies (DEA): Ms. Marie Fall, Geographer; Mr. Amadou Badji, Economist; Mr. Moussa Sane, Geographer; Mr. Baye Ibra Gning, Faculty of Law and Political Sciences; Mr. El Hadji Mamadou Sonko, Natural Sciences; Mr. Mamadou Moustapha Ndoye, Sociologist; Mr. Pessiezoum Adjoussi, Geographer.
All reports are in French.
  1. UNESCO/UCAD Chair Progress report, July 2001, Prof. Mamadou Kandji.
  2. Fieldwork report of activities in the Saloum Delta Biosphere Reserve, June 2001.
  3. Improvement of hygienic and  environmental conditions of a coastal city, Yeumbeul, Senegal, December 1997, Progress report.
  4. Participative planning in artisanal fisheries of the Sine-Saloum, Senegal, December 1998, Final report 2.
  5. Issues related to the integrated management of the continental part of the Saloum Delta Biosphere Reserve, Aissata Dia, DEA report.
  6. Issues related to the integrated management of the insular part of the Saloum Delta Biosphere Reserve, Claude Sene, DEA report.
  7. Precipitation regime in the Saloum Delta Biosphere Reserve and impact on socio-economic activities, Koko Zebeto Houedaakan, 1999, DEA report.
  8. The dynamics of  mangrove ecosystems and contribution of the development of a restoration strategy in the Saloum Delta islands, Sada Kane, 1999, DEA report.
  9. Conservation and sustainable management of historical and archaeological shell midden sites in the Delta du Saloum, Mandiaye Thiobane, 1998, DEA report.
  10. Contribution to the development of the integrated management plan of the Saloum Delta Biosphere Reserve (Senegal), E.S. Diop Ed., 1998.
  11. Perceptions and land planning in the Gandoul and Betenti Islands in the Saloum, Marie Fall, 2001, DEA report.
  12. Habitats and production systems on the Island of Mar (Saloum Islands), Abdoulaye Ndiaye, 2001, DEA report.
  13. Environmental restoration by replanting of mangroves, El Hadji Sonko, 2001, DEA report.
  14. The ecotourism issue in the Natural Park of the Saloum Delta and participative strategies and development of local populations, Affro Bono Dorcas, 1999, DEA report.
  15. Survey on the varying domestic uses of water in the peri-urban area of Yeumbeul: local management and optimisation strategies, Amadou Bélal Diawara, DEA report.
  16. Intervention strategies of community group and administration for the protection of the water table in Yeumbeul, Senegal, Marlin Kaspagoul Gomis, 2000, DEA report.
  17. The issue of coastal erosion and conservation of coastal environments: the Yoff case study; Thieno Ndour, DEA report.
  18. Societies and sacred sites, example from the Lebou community, Lansana Djibe, 1998, DEA report.
  1. Attendance during several final year DEA presentations by postgraduate students.

  2. Informal interviews with lecturers and students.

  3. Visits to project sites in Yoff, Yeumbeul and the Sine Saloum.
Constraints: The availability of lecturers was limited due to their commitments during the examination period.

University Chair Assessment

The following assessment discusses the activities to date of the university chair in terms of several long-term parameters or characteristics of ‘wise practices’. Projects undertaken by the UNESCO Chair at UCAD have been assessed separately:

A qualitative scale is used as follows:

None: The field project activities to date do not comply with this characteristic and/or the characteristic is not relevant to the field project.
Slightly: The field project activities to date have begun in some preliminary way to satisfy  this characteristic.
Partially: The field project activities to date have gone some significant way towards fulfilling this characteristic.
Fully: The field project activities to date fully satisfy this characteristic.  

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?  


Interdisciplinary, applied teaching and research has nurtured true collaboration among lecturers. The interdisciplinary field activities have illustrated the benefits of such an approach for lecturers and students, and have provided for the transfer of scientific knowledge and practical methodologies to the communities participating in the projects.  The Chair activities have provided the students with methodological tools, which they can use throughout their careers. For example, a student was eventually hired by the organization in which he did his final year placement. Another student is proceeding onto a PhD thesis with funds from the Ford Foundation. 

Do the project activities provide for capacity building and institutional strengthening?


The interdisciplinary approach encourages faculties to work together and further enhances existing skills. Some laboratories are currently undergoing restructuring so as to provide more opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. However, the core lecturers at the Department of Geography, which hosts the Chair, remain those most involved in the activities. 

Capacity has been enhanced in the learning and application of new techniques and methodologies. In addition, contacts with UNESCO’s clubs (mainly youth groups, undertaking activities inspired by UNESCO’s work) help build awareness in interdisciplinary approaches and strengthens collaboration between the university and other institutions, e.g. the Centre for Technological Enhancement for Health in Yeumbeul, the Association for the Economic, Cultural and Social Promotion of Yoff, the West African Association for Marine Sciences, and the Institute for Research and Development. Requests for more formalised relationships are emerging. 

Students, however, require assistance in terms of professional placement.

Are the project activities sustainable? Fully

Outside UNESCO’s financial support, interdisciplinary field research activities continue, follow on from each other, and are refocused. Interdisciplinary activities are now part of the ‘scientific culture’ of academics, and collaboration takes place spontaneously, outside of any financial incentive or support.

Have the project activities been transferred?


Approaches developed by the Chair via the field projects have not yet been applied elsewhere, nor been fully validated.

Are the project activities interdisciplinary and intersectoral?


Interdisciplinarity is the ‘raison d’être’ of the Chair, and ranges from the content of lectures to final year supervision for DEA. For example, geographers and biologists work together in the Saloum Delta; hydrogeologists, sociologists and parasitologists collaborate in Yeumbeul.

Do the project activities incorporate participatory processes?


The level of contact between researchers and students and the local populations depends on the specific research topic. However, in most cases the authorisation, input and knowledge of local populations are needed. For example, socio-economic surveys rely on Participatory Rural Appraisal methods.

Do the project activities provide for consensus building?


Interdisciplinary research triggers debate between researchers on the aim and practical methods of scientific initiatives, both in teaching and fieldwork. However, some disagreements remain between lecturers, and this may have an impact on the work of students who sometimes receive conflicting advice. The varying level of availability from co-tutors is also a constraint in terms of the supervision of interdisciplinary reports.

Do the project activities include an effective and efficient communication process?


Researchers take the time to explain their approach and results to the communities and local populations involved in the projects. For example, in  Dionewar, in the Saloum Islands, the first day of each visit is spent socialising and visiting varying community representatives (elders, women, chiefs).

Are the project activities culturally respectful?


Students must pay respect to local customs to be able to carry out their investigations. Researchers must follow local customs and make contact with local inhabitants so that they can study on their lands.

Do the project activities take into account gender and/or sensitivity issues?


Candidates to the course are selected on the basis of excellence. During fieldwork, students take the lead in organising logistics, making contacts in their study area and carrying out activities, even when their lecturers are with them. They are given full responsibility and control of field missions. 

Do the project activities strengthen local identities?


Research results cast a light on local livelihoods, their transformation in the face of modernisation and local and external pressures, and thus contribute to the strengthening of local identities.

Do the project activities shape national legal policy?


All activities adhere to local policies, e.g. contacting local communities, and conforming to national policies in terms of education. There is no evidence that research activities have had an influence on shaping the national legal policy.

Do the project activities encompass the regional dimension?


Students come from all over Western Africa and beyond. The UNESCO-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission provides some bursaries for foreign students.

Do the project activities provide for human rights?


There is full freedom of expression and opinion, and recruitment of students operates on the basis of merit, Article 19 and 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Universal Declaration of Human Rights [1].   

Have the project activities been documented?


The activity is well documented through final year (DEA) reports and bi-annual progress reports. However, there is no overview of activities or focused work, nor any reflections about interdisciplinarity. 

Have the project activities been evaluated?


This is the first assessment.

[1] Article 19 : ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers’.

Article 26 : ‘Everyone has the right to education.(…) higher education should be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit’.

Synthesis of main issues from the assessment 

  1. While it appears that an interdisciplinary approach is firmly established in the Department of Geography, the home of the UNESCO Chair, there is still a need for further strengthening of the approach in other faculties.

  2. The successes and lessons learnt by this Chair, which has been established for some time, could be shared with other CSI Chairs to their mutual benefit.

Revised future project activities   

  1. Prepare a synthesis document on the Chair’s activities targeting donors.

  2. Provide time and human resources to capitalise on the experiences in the final year DEA reports, by synthesising the results in concise documents, which could be used to raise extra-budgetary support.

  3. Organise an information and awareness-building day, with UNESCO’s support, to attract extra-budgetary funds, such as those provided by the Ford Foundation, which supports a PhD student to study management issues in the Saloum Delta’s Biosphere Reserve.

  4. Network with outside university partners, and reactivate contacts with the University of Las Palmas on the basis of the documents prepared by the Santander’s Group.

  5. Upgrade Internet software, and update the website.

  6. Strengthen exchanges between researchers working within the framework of the Chair to improve each other’s activities and to enhance the coherence of the teaching.

  7. Try to respond directly  to the requests from the communities involved in the field projects associated with the Chair.  In particular there may be opportunities to formalise relationships between UCAD and community organisations, so as to ensure mutual benefit from long term monitoring, information exchanges and advice.


Introduction Activities Publications Search
Wise Practices Regions Themes