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

Field Project Assessment
Enhancing coastal and fisheries resource management through stakeholder participation, local knowledge and environmental education, Arcadins Coast, Haiti

Date of
Site visit: 13th-16th March 2003
Assessment completed: 25th May 2004
conducted by

Mr. Alioune Kane, UNESCO/UCAD (University of Cheikh Anta Diop) Chair in Integrated Management and Sustainable Development of Coastal Regions and Small Islands, Dakar, Senegal, Mr. Tim Curtis, UNESCO consultant, (not closely associated with the project); Mr. Jean W. Wiener, Director, Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine (FoProBiM), Field Project Leader.

  1. Articles from Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum, 1999-2001:

  2. UNESCO/CSI and FoProBiM, 2003, Terms of Reference for Activity Financing Contract

  3. Lois relatives à l’environnement côtier et à la pêche en Haïti, Lwa ki gen pou wè ak Anviwònman Kotye ak Lapèch nan Peyi d Ayiti (CSI Info 13)

  4. Coasts of Haiti. Resource assessment and management needs, Les côtes d'Haïti. Évaluation des ressources et impératifs de gestion 1998. UNESCO-CSI papers 2

  5. Summary of Field Project, 2001, English and French

  6. Haiti’s Coastal Region and the Field Project Area (unpublished report, 1999)

  7. Rapport final des activités de la FoProBiM. 1999. Jean W. Wiener

  8. Coastal and Marine Resource Knowledge in Haiti, Jean W. Wiener. An Examination of Creole Terms, Local Knowledge and Definitions Related to Coastal and Marine Resources in the Port-au-Prince, Bay Area of Haiti , unpublished manuscript, UNESCO

  9. Field Project Summary:  Managing beach resources and planning for coastline change, Caribbean Islands, 2000

  10. Fisher to Fisher – a grass-roots approach to improved fishery management, J. Wiener and P. Espeut, 1998 


Meetings and discussions with: 

  • Mr. Bernard Hadjadj, UNESCO representative to Haiti

  • Mr. Carlos Romero, UNESCO/Haiti 

  • Mr. Helliot Amilcar, Program coordinator for coastal zone management, Ministry of Environment 

  • Mr. Georges Philogène, Fisherman’s Association of Leogane  

  • Mr. Julien Audelin, Judes and Charles, Fishermen and ecotourism site developers, Youth Association for the development of Ça- Ira  

  • Mr. Daniel Dubois, Mr. Christian Derrosier, FoProBiM

  • Ms. Mandy Karnauskas, United States Peace Corps

  • Mr. Jasnel Simon, Mouvement des Paysans Williamson

  • Mr. Paul Edom, Comité d’Approvisionnement en Eau Potable, and Coopérative de Pêcheurs de Luly

  • Mme Marie St. Vil, Mme. Petit Vallious, Mouvement des Femmes de Luly

  • Mme Anne Marie François, Coopérative des Femmes de l’Archaie

  • Mr. Loanis Blan, Parole Honnête et Altruiste pour des Réponses Eclairées

  • Mr. Clotaire St. Natus, and about fifteen members of the Association de Pêcheurs de Mitan 




Discussions with l’Association des Jeunes pour le 
développement de Ça- Ira
(Youth Association for the 
development of Ça-Ira): With both fishermen and 
eco-tourism site developers
Discussions with the Association des Pêcheurs de 
(Mitan Fishermen's Association)

Site visits to:                            


  • Ville de Boutilliers (Birds-eye view of the bay and the town of Port-au-Prince);

  • Ville de Carrefour (visit to water evacuation systems);


Ville de Boutilliers (Birds-eye view of the bay and the town of 

South Coast

  • Léogâne Town (visit with the Association des Pêcheurs de Léogâne Coordinator);

  • Ça-Ira beach (boat yard, development of an ecotourism site, beach monitoring site, fishing beach).

North Coast

  • Williamson village (visit to water catchment);

  • Wahoo Beach hotel (Panoramic view of the Côte des Arcadins);

  • Mitan Village (mangrove site; fishing beaches, village near an artificial reef, water catchments site);

  • Arcahie Town (seaside market). 



The assessment was well planned, however, there were two constraints: 

  •  On the first day an enormous traffic jam delayed the visit to the first site by two hours.  This setback annulled the expected meeting with the people of Léogâne

  • There was very little contact with Government authorities

Field Project Assessment

The sixteen characteristics, used to define ‘wise practices’, are used here to assess this field project. 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 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?  


The long-term benefits are real, in particular given that local associations have been strengthened through training and environmental education. The site visits demonstrated a notable raising of awareness at grass roots level and a desire to continue with activities. This appears to be a direct result of seminars and other activities already executed within the framework of the project. For example, several people indicated that they were not previously aware of the important role of mangrove ecosystems for coastal and marine environments. Following the development of successful awareness raising activities, local people no longer systematically cut mangroves.

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


The activities undertaken or currently being implemented have had a noticeable effect on the capacity of local populations. The translation of fishing laws into Creole allowed local people to: 1) know about the existence of these laws; 2) understand the laws and reflect on them; 3) attempt to act within a legal framework which is new to them; 4) be informed of the responsibilities of the State in the field of the marine environment; 5) understand that the application of these laws is in their interest as fishing communities. 

It is important to note the weak involvement of the Haitian State, and discussions with local people suggested that the State role was virtually non-existent. At all sites, people complained about the absence of public authorities and of decentralized structures on a local level. 

Several associations indicated the activities have improved their understanding of the issues and strengthened their capacity to intervene at the community level. There was a unanimous request for the continuation and reinforcement of activities such as seminars.  

Informants noted on several occasions that conflict resolution techniques learnt during the activities have been helpful, and are quite regularly put to use. The same remark was noted for the activities related to the strengthening and development of communal or village associations.

Are the project activities sustainable?


Considering the situation in the country, with the noted lack of engagement by the government in protecting marine and coastal ecosystems, it is understandable that the activities have not yet become sustainable. This makes it imperative to pursue and strengthen the activities, especially the awareness raising activities.  

Have the project activities been transferred?


While the potential exists for transferring the activities to other parts of the country, or even other countries in the sub-region (or elsewhere in the world) with similar marine environments, this has not yet been done.

Are the project activities interdisciplinary and intersectoral?


The project activities involve several disciplines and sectors. For example, the development of the ethno-ecological guide brings together the disciplines of marine biology, sociology and cultural anthropology. Seminars on wise and sustainable fishing practices touch on marine biology, social relations, legal frameworks, cultural sensitivities and economic aspects. Generally speaking, the activities have demonstrated a strong emphasis on using a holistic approach.

Do the project activities incorporate participatory processes?


The activities have targeted all the main identified social groups of the coastal area: fishermen, farmers, women, churches, carbon merchants, hotels, children, small businesses and community associations. As indicated above, the State has not participated as much as it could have; its representatives do get involved at the local level through the Assemblée des Sections Communales and the Conseil d’Administration des Sections Communales, as well as the police. 

Do the project activities provide for consensus building?


Many activities focused on teaching techniques for conflict resolution. During the meetings held by the assessment team with local stakeholders, this dimension was often mentioned as one of the most positive activities.

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


Communication between the concerned parties at the community level was judged to be good. However the lack of communication with State authorities/institutions was striking and remains a major problem. Communication with the general public has been limited to some publications (Translation of fishing laws into Creole (CSI info. 13), Coasts of Haiti, CSI papers 2), some radio appearances, and some advertising in the written press, and might be strengthened in the future.  

Are the project activities culturally respectful?


Project activities have been created and implemented locally. They respect, and work harmoniously, within a local socio-cultural framework. Although the imparted knowledge is sometimes foreign, the mechanism for transmitting it and implementing it are local. The seminars take place within the communities and adapt to local conditions. For example the creation of an artificial reef was very much a project of community cooperation.

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


Women are fully integrated into project activities. Nevertheless, in cultural terms, women generally tend not to express themselves freely in the presence of men. Given this socio-cultural reality, it would be desirable to have activities specifically and exclusively for women. For example, whilst men go fishing, it is the women who buy, clean, salt, treat, transform and transport the fish and other seafood. Awareness raising and dialogue activities exclusively reserved for women could be beneficial. 

Do the project activities strengthen local identities?


The local involvement and success of the activities highlights and strengthens a sense of community belonging. The community is of course itself dependent on the availability, use and sharing of environmental resources. This participation in community life contributes to the building of self-confidence and social usefulness.

Do the project activities shape national legal policy?


Some progress has been made in helping to shape national legal policy. The use of the publication Coasts of Haiti (CSI papers 2) for the development of a national policy on the marine and coastal environment is a good example. The translation of fishing laws into Creole has done much to help raise awareness among the population and reach many people. Nevertheless, the government has not invested in the human and material resources needed to actually implement the laws. Therefore, future activities should seek to encourage the relevant authorities to assume their responsibilities in terms of environmental protection.

Do the project activities encompass the regional dimension?


Exchanges between fishermen from Jamaica and Haiti were held in the framework of the project. The activity was successful, and generated a sense of regional belonging, with similar community interests. The exchange gave an opportunity to the fishermen to compare their environmental, social and economic condition with each other, given that the countries are in the same region with similar ecosystems. 

Other activities have been associated and developed in collaboration with other CSI projects, such as:  

Do the project activities provide for human rights?


The project activities enhance Article 25.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by fighting poverty, maintaining acceptable living conditions by promoting the sustainable use of environmental resources, and involving communities in decisions relating to their living standards.

[Article 25. 1 Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being if himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the face of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.]

Have the project activities been documented?


Most of the activities have been documented. The publications that have been produced are accessible on the web and some have been distributed in the target sites.

Have the project activities been evaluated?


An informal self-evaluation was carried out in 1998 during a meeting of CSI project leaders in Paris (CSI info 10). This report is the first official evaluation of the project.

The waste management problem in Port-au-Prince

Synthesis and main points of the assessment 

  1. Local populations seem to have enthusiastically embraced the activities related to the marine and coastal environment (which is in a state of severe deterioration). The appeal and success of the project is due to the real needs expressed by the communities to improve their environment and living standards. 

  2. Haiti is facing an acute problem relating to the disposal of all types of waste (it seems that there is absolutely no waste management). Rubbish of all kinds is thrown directly into the ravines and so moves directly into the sea, with devastating consequences for the coastal regions. The ecological problem caused by this is extremely serious, with repercussions for other countries in the sub-region. 

  3. The Haitian authorities do not seem to pay enough attention to their responsibilities in terms of protecting the environment. The assessment team noted complaints to this effect coming from all sectors of society encountered. A sense of frustration, even fatalism, in regards to the lack of State engagement was noted. It is crucial to seek ways to encourage and reinforce the capacity of the Haitian State in this field.

Future project activities 

Short term 

Longer term 


Introduction Activities Publications Search
Wise Practices Regions Themes