Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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CSI co-operated with UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP) in a pilot project on ‘Freshwater Security in Small Pacific Islands’. It aims were to draw on, and combine, expertise in social and natural sciences to develop an integrated approach to sustainable development in small islands. The focus was on the local community’s knowledge and perceptions of conservation and the wise use of freshwater and coastal resources. In co-operation with IHP, five Australian consultants have contributed to groundwater studies in Kiribati and Tonga. Training for ten specialists in six Pacific island countries was provided, two literature surveys were completed, thirteen consultant visits undertaken to prepare and conduct studies, and a further eight consultant visits for planning and review with the UNESCO-Apia office and the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) were conducted. A report based on the data ‘Water Resource Conflicts in Tarawa’ was produced. It was later published as the IHP Technical Documents in Hydrology 25 as ‘Groundwater Recharge in low coral islands, Bonriki, South Tarawa, Kiribati’. A report entitled ‘Analyses of water usage conflicts and development of proposals for wise practices’ was submitted. A comprehensive water resources management project was developed as follow-up to the UNESCO groundwater studies in Kiribati and Tonga is currently being carried out under funding from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

A UNESCO-Apia staff member visited Australia in May 1998 in conjunction with the Pacific input to a regional scientific symposium. He also attended the ‘Pacific Youth Forum on Growing Up in a World of Change’ held in May 1998 as a resource person. 

An expert from Australia attended a workshop held in Maputo in July 1998 that was organized jointly by CSI, the Communication and Education Sectors, and the UNESCO Dakar, Maputo, Nairobi and Pretoria Offices as part of the ‘Pan-African Conference on Sustainable Integrated Coastal Management (PACSICOM)’. The proceedings of the workshop: ‘The Role of Communication and Education for Sustainable Coastal Development’ / ‘Rôle de la communication et de l’éducation dans le développement durable des zones côtières’ was published as CSI info 7. 

A specialist from Australia took part in a feasibility study in September 1998 on the creation of an underwater archaeological museum in Egypt, and in the roundtable meeting on ‘Underwater Archaeology and Coastal Zone Management of the Qayet Bay Area’ in Alexandria in September 1998.  

An Australian was invited to the ‘World Conference on Science’ to speak on traditional ecological knowledge in a session on ‘Science and Other Systems of Knowledge’ held in Budapest (Hungary) in June 1999. 

Australian expertise played a key role in the MOST ‘Growing Up in Papua New Guinea’ workshop held in Port Moresby during 1999. 

As part of the ‘Second World Water Forum’, a special thematic session was held on ‘Water and Indigenous Peoples in The Hague, The Netherlands in March 2000. Three speakers from Australia were invited.

Fifty one Warlpiri artists and story-tellers contributed to a CD-ROM published in 2000: ‘Dream Trackers Yapa Art and Knowledge of the Australian Desert’. It was produced in conjunction with the Warnayaka Art Centre and an anthropologist Barbara Glowczewski, as part of the ‘Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems’ (LINKS) initiative to integrate indigenous knowledge into development and conservation efforts.

One person from Australia attended a workshop on ‘Furthering Coastal Stewardship in Small Islands’ held in Dominica in July 2001. The results were published as CSI papers 11 ‘Wise Practices for Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Small Islands’.

The Australian policy of land acquisition for conservation was discussed on the CSI Internet-based ‘Wise Practices for Sustainable Human Development’ forum in April 2001: ‘Further Examples of Successful Land Purchase for Conservation’. A discussion on using the know-how of indigenous fishermen followed in November 2001: ‘The Need for a Centre for the Study of Indigenous Fishers’ Knowledge’. Other papers relevant to Australia were posted in July 2003: ‘Aid has Failed the Pacific’ and ‘Framing Pacific Aid Policies Towards Small-scale, Family-based Activities’.

An external evaluation of the Coastal Regions and Small Islands platform was conducted in 2001-2002 and a final report was produced in February 2002. One of the external evaluators was from Australia.

Two specialists from Monash University, Australia visited the Cook Islands in June/July 2002 as part of the inauguration of the Small Islands Voice project in the islands. They met representatives of various organisations interested in the project: the media, government, conservation and educational organisations. The Australian specialists conducted a preliminary survey on environment and development issues, as perceived by young people, over a three week period in June/July 2002 in Rarotonga and Aitutaki. They were assisted by 25 student teachers. Three survey forms were used, each for a different age group: children, youths and young adults. Two reports were produced - highlights and a full report.

One person from Australia attended the first Small Islands Voice workshop that was held in Palau in November 2002. She prepared a paper on Providing a Voice: the Importance of Participation’. The workshop and other Small Island Voice activities were reported in CSI papers 13: ‘Small Islands Voice - Laying the Foundation’.



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