Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Saint Kitts and Nevis

St. Kitts and Nevis participate in the regional ‘Managing Beach Resources and Planning for Coastline Change, Caribbean Islands’ project (old name: ‘Coast and Beach Stability in the Eastern Caribbean (COSALC) project’). The coastal monitoring programme was continued through 1996-99, in co-operation with several national agencies, a local NGO and associated schools. In 1996, equipment for coastal monitoring was provided. Analyses of the monitoring data, collected in 1996 and stored in the country’s computerized database, were completed and the COSALC’96 report, summarizing beach changes (with a chapter on St. Kitts and Nevis), was produced in 1997. Another report, which analyses beach changes resulting from tropical storms and hurricanes (‘Hurricane Impact on Beaches in the Eastern Caribbean Islands 1989-1995’, also with details on coastal changes in St. Kitts and Nevis) was distributed in 1997. A slide presentation illustrating the effects of Tropical Storm Iris and Hurricanes Luis and Marilyn on the islands of the eastern Caribbean in 1995, including slides on St. Kitts and Nevis, was put together in 1997. A public awareness campaign was launched in 1996; it included the production of audio-visual material entitled ‘Beach Changes in Nevis (1996)’ which is distributed to national agencies, schools and the private sector. More audio-visual material entitled ‘Beaches and Hurricanes: 1995 in the Eastern Caribbean Islands’ (including data from St. Kitts and Nevis) was produced and similarly distributed in 1997. A cultural and socio-economic assessment of beach changes in the Eastern Caribbean (including St. Kitts and Nevis) was completed and the corresponding report issued in 1996; a paper on the assessment was published in CSI papers 1.

Five country representatives (managers, researchers and other stakeholders) attended a regional workshop (co-sponsored by CSI, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission’s Sub-Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions, IOCARIBE, and the Caribbean Development Bank) on management of beach resources in small Eastern Caribbean islands (Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, October 1996). Their contributions, along with the presentations by other countries of the region, were published as CSI Info 1 (1997): ‘Integrated Framework for the Management of Beach Resources within the Smaller Caribbean Islands: workshop results’; and Coastal Region and Small Island Papers 1 (1997): ‘Managing Beach Resources in the Smaller Caribbean Islands: workshop papers’. A practical guide for stakeholders, presenting methodology for coastal development setbacks in the Eastern Caribbean Islands was published as CSI Info 4, ‘Planning for Coastline Change’ and distributed.

A consultant visited St. Kitts and Nevis to determine coastal development setback guidelines in March 1998 under the ‘Coast and Beach Stability in the Eastern Caribbean project’. Country-specific guidelines entitled ‘Planning for Coastline Change - Coastal Development Setback Guidelines in Nevis’ and a report ‘Planning for Coastline Change - Shoreline Management in Nevis - A position Paper’ were issued in June 1998. Coastal development setback guidelines for St. Kitts were also prepared in 1998 and submitted to the national authorities in October that year. A timely publication as Hurricane Georges severely affected St. Kitts in September 1998.

Another consultancy mission in July provided support to the beach monitoring programme and new beach monitoring software. Personnel were taught to use the software and the beach change database. The 1988-1998 database, when complete, was checked and converted for use with the new software. The database was completed up to the end of 1999 and monitoring continued in 2000 and 2001. Data is now analysed at the Department of the Environment, St. Kitts. Some additional training on beach monitoring, and recording, was provided by the department in 2001. Beach monitoring in Nevis continued to be conducted in 2001 and 2002 by the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society. A database is maintained at the Department of Planning, Natural Resources and Environment. A UNESCO consultant visited the Nisbett Plantation Hotel on the north coast of Nevis in February 2002 to advise on serious erosion that was affecting the hotel. A Northwest Coastal Management Project’ started in Nevis at the beginning of 2002. It is supported by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.

A summary report ‘Coast and Beach Stability in the Caribbean Islands. COSALC project activities 1996-97’ (published as No.6 in the CSI Info series) and a report ‘Planning for Coastline Change. COSALC project review, 1998’ were submitted to the St. Kitts and Nevis authorities. Public information material distributed in 1998 included: a poster ‘The Sea at your doorstep’ , three articles in the Sea Grant in the Caribbean Newsletter (January-December 1998), and ‘Coping with Beach Erosion’ (published as Coastal Management Sourcebook 1). This manual is now for sale in local bookshops. A follow-up ‘Coping with Shoreline Erosion in the Caribbean’ was published in Nature & Resources vol.35 no. 4 in December 1999. 

In the summer of 1998 a ‘beach changes programme’ was added to the ‘Library Summer School’ for schoolchildren.

Early in 1999 consultations on various illegal sea defence structures in Nevis were held. During 1999 Nevis was assisted in preparing a ‘Feasibility and pre-design coastal protection project’ for eventual submission to the Caribbean Development Bank.

St. Kitts and Nevis participated in the first phase of a joint Caribbean Development Bank/UNESCO project on ‘Institutional Strengthening in Beach Management in the Organisation of  Eastern Caribbean States and Turks and Caicos Islands’ (October 1999-March 2000). The focus of this project was strengthening of the on-going COSALC beach monitoring programme. In 1999 the beach monitoring manual specific to Nevis, ‘Planning for Coastline Change - Coastal Development Setback Guidelines in Nevis’, was distributed to counterpart national agencies. A UNESCO consultant visited St. Kitts and Nevis in February and September 2000. Beach monitoring manuals specific to St. Kitts were prepared and distributed, new beach monitoring software was installed and personnel were trained to use beach-change databases. The Interim Report (phase 1) on the project was issued in April, phase II started in June 2000. One-day workshops on ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Beach Management’ were held in St. Kitts and Nevis in September 2000. A report on it was published in the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society Newsletter No. 59 in February 2001. A final report on the institutional strengthening project ‘Monitoring Beach Changes as an Integral Component of coastal Management’ was published in 2003 as CSI info 15. It contains sections specific to Nevis and St. Kitts.

A UNESCO staff member visited St. Kitts in April 2000 to evaluate the COSALC project and to plan activities, for 2000-2001, with local counterparts. A summary of the project – its goals, achievements and future direction – was compiled in September 2000.

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.  A teacher from St. Kitts and Nevis participated in the ASPNet-CSI Sandwatch workshop in St. Lucia in May 2001; schools from St. Kitts and Nevis are involved in the Sandwatch beach monitoring activities.

One person from St. Kitts and one person from Nevis 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 participant from St. Kitts presented a paper on ‘Coastal Stewardship in St. Kitts’. The participant from Nevis gave a paper on encouraging stewardship in Nevis by establishing a social contract.

Booklets Wise Practices for Coping with Beach Erosion - St. Kitts’ and  Wise Practices for Coping with Beach Erosion - Nevis’ were published in 2002. They are part of a series of  public information booklets on beach erosion in the Caribbean produced jointly by UNESCO-CSI, the University of Puerto Rico’s Sea Grant College Program and the Caribbean Development Bank.

In April 1999 a web-based discussion on ‘Planning for Coastal Erosion’ in eastern Caribbean islands (including St. Kitts and Nevis) started on the CSI ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum’. St Kitts and Nevis’ involvement in the Small Islands Voice project was discussed on the forum in April 2002: ‘Start-up Activities for the Small Islands Voice Initiative’. Other papers relevant to St. Kitts and Nevis were posted in September and November 2002: ‘A Proposed Waterfront Development Project in Tanzania - a Caribbean Perspective’ and ‘Views on Community Enforcement’.

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 they 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.

St. Kitts and Nevis were the start-up islands for the Small Islands Voice project in the Caribbean. Before the official launch of the project a UNESCO consultant visited the islands in January and February 2002, and a UNESCO representative visited in February 2002. They met with representatives from the government, media and educational and conservation organisations. There was considerable political and media interest in their visits and in  the start of the project: St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Gives Support to ‘Small Islands’ Voice Project’ (St. Kitts and Nevis Tourism Authority, January 2002); UNESCO Hopes to Provide an Opportunity to Voice Small Islands’ (United Nations Radio, January 2002); UNESCO Consultant for Regional Coastal Management Visits Nevis’ (The Democrat, February 2002); Local Media to Attend Special UNESCO Meeting’ (The Labour Spokesman, February 2002); PM Douglas Hopes People of the Federation Will Become More Environmentally Conscious’ (The Labour Spokesman, February 2002); Project Aims at Making People More Environmentally Conscious’ (Daily Herald, February 2002); UNESCO Meets St. Kitts Media(Daily Herald, February 2002). The official launch of the Small Islands Voice project was held in Basseterre, St. Kitts in April 2002. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Education gave the feature address.

A survey of the media serving St. Kitts and Nevis was conducted in January 2002.

In February 2002 a trial survey was conducted to test methods for gauging public opinion on environmental and development issues in St. Kitts and Nevis. A survey form with eleven open-ended questions was used to structure the interviews. The survey form was revised and in October/November 2002 one percent of the population of St. Kitts and Nevis were interviewed. High school pupils helped to conduct the survey. The most significant issue identified by interviewees in St. Kitts and Nevis was the increase in crime and violence. People in Nevis also noted the need for educational development. A full report on the survey was produced and highlights relating to Nevis and St. Kitts individually.

An article in the St. Kitts-Nevis Observer in June 2003 How much more?’ described a gang related murder and demanded action. This paper was posted on the Small Islands Voice global forum and was the start of a discussion on the increase in crime and violence in small islands.

A mobile display board, constructed by the woodwork class of Washington Archibald High School St. Kitts, has been used to spread the Small Islands Voice message at various events in St. Kitts: the ‘Science, Mathematics and Technology Fair’ (May 2002); Emancipation Day Celebrations (August 2002); and at the Charles Halbert Public Library (August/September 2002). A second display board has been constructed for use in Nevis. 

The slogan for the Small Islands Voice initiative in St. Kitts and Nevis is ‘Give a Voice’. Young people from St. Kitts and Nevis wrote a rap poem (November 2002) and a promotional jingle about the project.

A young man from St. Kitts represented St. Kitts and Nevis at the Small Islands’ Inter-Regional Workshop’ in Palau in November 2002. Two other people from St. Kitts and Nevis also attended the workshop; one of them prepared a paper on: UNESCO Small Island Voice Preparatory Project Report’. For further information see the background document and the workshop programme. The workshop participants signed the ‘Rock Islands Declaration’ to emphasis their commitment to the goals and continuation of the Small Islands Voice project. The workshop and other Small Islands Voice activities were reported in CSI papers 13 Small Islands Voice  - Laying the Foundation’ and in the St. Christopher Heritage Society Newsletter (January - March 2003) as Small Islands Voice

There is an eighteen-person coordinating committee for the Small Islands Voice project in St. Kitts and Nevis. They meet once a month, alternately in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Pupils from Gingerland Secondary School, Nevis, and Verchilds High School, St. Kitts, were involved in the trial phase (September  - December 2002) of an Internet-Based Youth Forum (user name view, password only). They posted papers on Life After School in my Island (Nevis)’ and Life After School in my Island (St. Kitts)’ in October 2002. They also replied to papers and responses posted by young people from Bequia (St. Vincent and the Grenadines).

In February 2003 the Small Islands Voice national coordinators and others from St. Kitts and Nevis, the Cook Islands, Palau, the Seychelles  and St. Vincent and the Grenadines took part in an inter-regional conference call. They discussed phase two of the Youth Forum and the preparations for the 2004 review of the Small Island Developing States Programme of Action.

Members of the general public in St. Kitts and Nevis have participated in discussions on the Small Islands Voice Internet-based global forum. They contributed to discussions on tourism Balancing Different Types of Tourism Accomodation’, beach access Support from Around the World for Keeping Beaches Open to the Public’ and development Controlling Development’.

Early in 2003 members of the Small Islands Voice national coordinating committee visited Beach Allen Primary School, Irish Town Primary School and Maurice Hillier School to tell their pupils about Small Islands Voice and to listen to what the young people had to say.  

A folder has been designed for the Small Islands Voice project in St. Kitts and Nevis, it features the national flags of many Caribbean islands and symbolises their inter-communication.


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