Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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The Republic of Cuba

A laboratory in Cuba takes part in the ‘Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity (CARICOMP)’ field project. It monitors coral reef, mangrove and seagrass sites on Cayo Coco (Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago). The collected output of such monitoring, throughout the region, was published as CSI Papers 3 ‘CARICOMP. Caribbean Coral Reef, Seagrass and Mangrove Sites’. In addition to continued support for systematic biological monitoring, a particular effort is being made at a selected number of sites to analyse the socio-economic and cultural dynamics of natural resource use. A national site director attended site directors meetings (Cancún, Mexico, November 1996 and Blackrock, Trinidad and Tobago, May 1998) for information exchange with, and technical advice from, the CARICOMP Steering Committee. A summary of the CARICOMP project, its goals, achievements and future direction was produced in March 2001.

A specialist from Cuba attended a regional workshop on the ‘Relationship between Health and Climatological Variabilities’ (Panama, June 1997).

Cuba participates in the field project ‘Managing Beach Resources and Planning for Coastline Change, Caribbean Islands’. A summary of the project was compiled in September 2000.

A practical guide for stakeholders, presenting methodology for coastal development setbacks in the Eastern Caribbean, was published in September 1997 as CSI Info 4 ‘Planning for Coastline Change’; copies were presented to the Cuban authorities.

A person from UNESCO-Paris went on mission to Havana in April 1998 to assist the Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean (ORCALC) in developing co-operation with Cuba on integrated coastal management issues. UNESCO/CSI provided financial assistance in November 1998 to the Directorate of Physical Planning for Havana Province for the implementation of a study  on the southern cost of Havana Province. Such a study had been cited as a high priority by a national workshop on Integrated Coast Management.

UNESCO provided financial assistance in November 1998 for a pilot project on the ‘Socio-economic, Environmental Assessment and Management of the Coastal Zone and Small Islands (population, habitat and socio-cultural aspects)’, in the framework of a major project ‘Integrated Socio-Ecological Management of the Southern Zone of Havana Province’. In 1998, following the recommendations of a national seminar on integrated coastal management, CSI provided assistance to the Directorate of Physical Planning for Havana Province. Socio-economic studies and  surveys were conducted in 1999 and 2000. In November 1999 the Directorate issued a report on the study ‘Evaluation of the Socio-economic and Environmental Situation in the Southern Coastal Region of Havana Province’.

This co-operation between CSI and various branches of local government resulted in the launch of a field project in 1999 ‘Socio-economic and environmental evaluation and management of the south coast of Havana Province, Cuba’. Diagnostic surveys were conducted in 1999 and 2000 and an analysis of the coastal settlements was made in 2001. Areas of severe coastal erosion were identified as were settlements in priority need of socio-economic and environmental management. A UNESCO mission visited Cuba in April 2000 to evaluate the project and plan for 2000-2001. A report on the first phase was submitted in October 2000. A work-plan for the second phase – the development of a national management plan – is complete. A summary of the project was compiled in March 2001. In May 2001 a four person, CSI-Cuban team visited the island to assess the project – its goals and achievements – and to help plan its future. They wrote a report in English and Spanish. A second team visited in September 2001 to give technical advice on the groynes in the Municipality of Mayabeque and give recommendations on how project implementation might be improved.

One person from Cuba attended a meeting of Small Island Developing States in Apia, Samoa in December 2000. This workshop on ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Small Island Living’ and an Open Day brought CSI project workers together. Discussion centred on project assessment and interaction with university chairs and the Internet-based forum. The results of the workshop were published as CSI papers 9 (2001) ‘Wise Coastal Practices Towards Sustainable Small-Island Living’. The participant from Cuba presented a paper on the CSI Cuba project.

The leader of the Havana field project presented the project at a workshop on integrated coastal management at the Universidad de Oriente in May 2001. This lead to discussions on cooperation between three Cuban universities (Oriente, Cienfuegos and Havana), which are developing a Masters course in integrated coastal management and two Canadian universities (Dalhousie and St. Mary’s). The Havana project will offer the MSc. students the opportunity to conduct fieldwork.

A workshop on ‘Integrated Management of Coastal Areas’ was held in Santiago de Cuba in May 2001. The presence of CSIs chief was noted in the local press.  

A video about a hurricane that passed over Cuba in 1999 ‘Hurricane Irene: the Social and Environmental Impacts’ was produced in 2001.

A resource book for schools of the Caribbean region ‘Glimpses of the Blue Caribbean’ was published jointly with the Associated Schools Project (ASP), as CSI papers 5, in 2000 and provided to Cuba.  A teacher from Cuba participated in the ASPNet-CSI Sandwatch workshop in St. Lucia in May 2001. A field workshop, for school children, on beach monitoring was held in Cuba in December 2001. In 2002 three schools in Cuba started a coastal monitoring programme as part of the joint ASP-CSI Sandwatch programme, which promotes environmental education in schools of the Caribbean region.

A workshop on ‘Integrated Management of the Southern Coast of Havana Province’ was held in July 2002. Integrated coastal management strategies for four of the seven coastal communities involved in the ‘Socio-economic and environmental evaluation and management of the south coast of Havana Province, Cuba’ project were presented.

A paper relevant to Cuba was posted on the web-based ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development’ Forum in July 2002: ‘Announcement of a trial global discussion forum for Small Islands Voice’.

The Small Islands Voice project started in January 2002. Its goals are to overcome the isolation of small islands by providing their citizens, including young people, with opportunities to voice their opinions on environmental and development issues in a variety of ways: radio, television, print and Internet-based debate. In this way the general public will be able to contribute to the 10-year review of the ‘Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Islands Developing States’ adopted in Barbados in 1994; and play a more effective role in decision-making in their islands. Several people from the Cuba have participated in discussions on the Small Islands Voice Internet-based global forum.

A CSI consultant visited UNESCO-Havana in February 2003 to discuss collaboration between the Havana field project and the integrated coastal management courses at the universities of Oriente, Cienfuegos and Havana.  


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