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

Development of a series of data atlases on selected coastal areas in Haiti was initiated in 1996 with a consultancy mission for a feasibility study (September 1996). Assistance in formulating a plan and the organization of an integrated management of the Haitian coast was provided (October-December 1996) and co-ordinated with coastal fieldwork in Haiti (November- December 1996) by a group of international specialists. A consultancy mission preceded this work (May 1996). A national seminar on the ‘Study and Management of Haitian Coastal Areas’ (Port-au-Prince, Haiti, December 1996) was attended by 25 national specialists. A project proposal on management and preservation of Haiti’s coastal areas was prepared for submission for extra budgetary funding. One person from UNESCO-Paris went on mission to Haiti in March 1998 concerning the development of a CSI pilot project on ‘Sustainable Coastal Development’.

One participant from Haiti attended the intersectoral workshop ‘Towards Wise Coastal Development Practices’ held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris in the beginning of December 1998. A report on the workshop was published in English and French as CSI info 10 (2000): ‘Pratiques Eclairées pour un Développement Humain Durable dans les Régions Côtières. Résultats d’un Atelier Intersectorial et des Conclusions Préliminaires d’un Forum Virtuel Subséquent’. The delegate from Haiti wrote several papers describing the CSI project activities on the island.

A publication, ‘Coasts of Haiti’, resulting from the preparatory phase of the pilot project for Haiti ‘“Fishing” for Sustainable Ways of Life in the Gulf of Gônave’ (renamed ‘Enhancing Coastal and Fisheries Resource Management through Stakeholder Participation, Local Knowledge and Environmental Education, Arcadins Coast’), was published as CSI Papers 2 in September 1998 in English and French. As part of the Gulf of Gônave project fishers’ local knowledge of coastal resources was collected to form the basis of a Creole ethno-ecological guide-book on sustainable resource use: ‘Coastal and Marine Resource Use and Local Knowledge in Haiti’. A summary of the Haitian fishing laws and laws relating to the protection of the marine environment was translated into Creole in May 2000, to provide a guide for the general public and fishermen. It was published in 2002 as CSI info 13: ‘Lwa ki gen pou wè ak Anviwònman Kotye ak Lapèch nan Peyi d Ayiti/Lois relatives à l'environnement côtier et à la péche en Haïti’ in Creole and French. Consultations with fishers, farmers and women’s groups have helped to improve interactions between these groups and have also provided information on local needs and concerns. A summary of the Arcadins coast project was produced in March 2001 in French and English.

A Jamaica–Haiti exchange, involving 13 Haitian fishers and staff from the NGO, la Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine (FoProBiM), took place between 25 August and 5 September 1998. Through the FoProBiM and under contract, fisher associations were strengthened, local knowledge of the coastal environment was compiled, a coastal ecosystem monitoring site was established and a documentation centre on coastal issues was reinforced. In 1999 FoProBiM continued to strengthen the ties between eight fisher associations through a series of workshops. In May 1999 the NGO organized a coastal clean-up and public awareness campaign focused on the Arcadin Islands.

Early in 1999 Haiti joined the network of Coast and Beach Stability in the Caribbean (COSALC). A summary of this project was compiled in September 2000. Haiti is also a member of the ‘Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity Program (CARICOMP)’ and participates in the field project ‘Sustaining Coastal Biodiversity Benefits and Ecosystem Services’. A summary of the CARICOMP project, its goals, achievements and future direction was produced in March 2001.

The theme of ‘self-help’ through local stakeholder groups was introduced as a discussion topic on the CSI web-based ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum’ in June 1999. More papers on Haitian topics were added in 2000: ‘A First Step in Sustainability: Learning from Traditional Practices’, ‘Community-based Fisheries Management’, ‘Self-interest Versus Environmental Interest’, ‘When Vested Interests Hijack the Goals of Stakeholder Groups’. The final paper received various replies that were combined in ‘Mitigating the Effects of Self-Interest at a Local Level’. Haiti was further discussed in ‘Poverty and Natural Resource Management’ in July 2001 and ‘Organising Fishers to Break the Cycle of Poverty and Resource Degradation’. A report on the forum ‘Work in Progress 2’ /  ‘Progrès Accomplis 2’ / ‘Avance de Actividades 2’ was compiled in November 2000; one person from Haiti contributed to it.

A textbook for schools of the Caribbean region ‘Glimpses of the Blue Caribbean’ was published jointly with the Associated Schools Project, as CSI papers 5, in 2000.

A workshop on ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Small Island Living’ and an Open Day (Samoa, December 2000) brought CSI project workers together. One person from Haiti attended. 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 Haiti presented a paper on the CSI project on the Arcadins coast of Haiti.

A paper ‘Coastal Land Tenure: A Small-Islands’ Perspective’ was published in March 2003. The situation in Haiti was compared with that in other small island states and territories.


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