Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Extract from 162EX/4 September 2001
(pdf version of the complete document)

Highlights 2000 - 2001

The first 18 months of the 2000-2001 biennium have been a watershed for the Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and in Small Islands (CSI) platform. During this period the "wise practices" concept, which acknowledges the inequalities of the real world and provides guidance on what can wisely be done under the prevailing circumstances was further developed. This was achieved through three major modalities of action: field projects, which develop on-the-ground intersectoral action, the formulation, testing and application of wise practices; university Chairs/twinning, which provide interdisciplinary education and support to the pilot projects, critique and analysis of wise practices, and linkages with other institutions; and an Internet-based forum which is at the crossroads for the continual exchange and review of wise practices and as a source of new ideas.

The integration and linkages among these components was advanced through interregional workshops in Thailand (CSI Strategy Meeting, July 2000) and Samoa (Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development in Small Island Developing States, December 2000). Fifteen project and university Chair summaries have been published on the CSI website with the remaining eight to be added by the end of the year. The workshops promoted linkages between CSI and non-CSI activities, and advanced project assessment procedures. A third interregional workshop in Dominica (Furthering Coastal Stewardship in Small Islands, July 2001) developed concepts relating to ethical codes of practice and voluntary contracts. Also field project assessments, using the 16 established wise practice characteristics, have been initiated, the first assessment (Thailand) being already on the website.

Working in a feedback-driven mode, the multilingual virtual Forum has advanced "wise coastal practices for sustainable human development" among 6,000 people worldwide; the number continues to grow. An analysis was conducted of the Forum's first 52 wise practices and 118 discussion items up to 30 September 2000 (Work in Progress 2); they focus on small-island issues, community empowerment, coastal tourism, fisheries, local and indigenous knowledge systems, freshwater resources, coastal erosion, planning, gender issues and human rights. This assessment was discussed in English, French and Spanish via the Forum from February to April 2001. In addition, the February 2001 issue of UNESCO's Sources highlighted the advancement of wise coastal practices using concrete case studies gathered through the Forum. A summary of CSI's four years of "Experiences with Intersectorality" was presented to the "Working Group on Intersectorality" in early 2000.

The project Human development for sustainable living conditions in the Pacific was intended to assist the Pacific population, particularly young people, to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to ensure sustainable living conditions and competent management of current social and cultural changes. Several joint and collaborative projects have been carried out in this context, including: the setting up and strengthening of 14 National Commissions; research on social change and the establishment of an International Council for Studies of Pacific Islands; the development of National Youth Leadership Programme; support for the development of culture of maintenance through the TVET curriculum; three pilot projects in community development based on traditional and natural heritage; four projects on the production of educational programmes using traditional and electronic media. Furthermore, it should be recalled that the Executive Board, at its 159th session in May 2000, examined UNESCO's "Implementation of the outcome of the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development for Small Island Developing States". It recommended enhancing actions and structures to serve SIDS. This recommendation was implemented through renewed SIDS emphasis in the field projects, university Chairs/twinning and the aforementioned workshops in Samoa and Dominica.

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