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

One person from Latvia 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): ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development. Results of an Intersectoral Workshop and Preliminary Findings of a Follow-up Virtual Forum’. The Latvian delegate wrote a paper on sustainable coastal development in Latvia.

Three specialists from Latvia participated in the UNESCO conference on ‘Sustainable Development of Coastal Resources in the Nordic and Baltic Countries’. The conference, held in Fredrikstad, Norway, in May 1999, was organized by the Norwegian National Commission for UNESCO. A network on ‘Sustainable Development of Coastal Resources’ in the Nordic-Baltic countries was established during the conference. One of the Latvian delegates was involved. 

Latvia and UNESCO signed a memorandum of co-operation in June 1998, which included an agreement to create a UNESCO Chair on ‘Sustainable Human Development in Coastal Regions’. During 2000 preparations for the Chair advanced. In August 2001 an agreement was signed and in September the chair was formally launched at the University of Riga, Latvia in the Institute for Environmental Science and Management. Chair activities in 2001 included: a summer university in ‘Coastal Environmental Management and Development’ for representatives of Latvian municipalities, in September; a field trip and project work by environmental management M.Sc. students in the project area of North Kurzeme, in November; a field trip and project work on the school Agenda 21 by environmental management M.Sc. students in Kolka Primary School, North Kurzeme; and various proposals for continued co-operation submitted to the Nordic Council of Ministers and the UNESCO participation programme (December 2001-January 2002).

In November 1999, the Institute for Environmental Science and Management, agreed to co-operate with the Local Governments’ Co-operation Union (LGCU) ‘Ziemelkuzeme’ to develop a field project ‘Local Government Partnerships for Sustainable Coastal Development (North Kurzeme, Latvia)’. The Union is made up of 10 rural local governments that lie in the northwest of Latvia, bordering the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga. 

An in-service training programme on environmental management and sustainable development has been established for administrators, politicians and decision-makers in the LGCU area. One-day seminars have been held in Riga and Dundaga municipalities. The Union, in collaboration with the Institute and other organizations, has begun to instill the principles of sustainability in local development projects.  A two-day seminar on environmental pedagogy was run in Roja Secondary School for primary and secondary school teachers in the Rojupe region.

Community-based research to develop a coastal environment management programme has been initiated. A survey of environmental information, education and communication in Rojupe (Roja municipality), dealt with water management, waste management and biological diversity. Research was undertaken to develop guidelines for environmental policy in Roja and Kolka municipalities.

A comprehensive programme of courses on sustainable coastal development is being developed at the University of Riga, Latvia. This includes short, intensive postgraduate courses, a professional study programme, and optional undergraduate courses.

Data were collected to establish guidelines for coastal environmental management for two areas. In the Rojupe coastal municipal territory, the focus was on urban ecology, forest management and hydro-ecosystems. In the Ziemelkurzeme coastal region, which covers 6 municipalities, the focus was on: water and waste management; energy conservation; soil and waste management; biodiversity and environmental protection; public participation and awareness; socio-economic development and physical planning; and territorial development and management.

A summary of the ‘Local Government Partnerships for Sustainable Coastal Development (North Kurzeme, Latvia)’ project was produced in August 2001.

Latvia is a member of the Nordic-Baltic Network on Sustainable Coastal Development that is jointly run by CSI and Management of Social Transformations (MOST). The local government field project provides national co-ordination and support. The work of the network was reviewed at a meeting of the Nordic-Baltic National Commissions for UNESCO on social sciences that was held in Helsinki in March 2000.

In May 2000 papers on ‘Working Toward Sustainable Development: Co-operation’ and ‘Developing Water Management Systems as a Partnership among Municipalities / Latvia’ were posted on the web-based ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development’ Forum.

A national seminar on ‘Municipal Development: Wise Coastal Practices’ was held in September 2000; thirty one people attended. The University of Riga organised training and public awareness activities in August and September during which representatives of coastal municipalities discussed conflicts over the use of coastal resources and how to resolve them.

One person from Latvia attended a workshop for CSI field project leaders on ‘Wise Practices for Conflict Prevention and Resolution’, which was held in Mozambique in November 2001. She presented a paper on Wise Practices for Coastal Conflict Resolution: North Kurzeme - Baltic Sea Coastal Region, Latvia’. A report of the workshop was published as CSI papers 12: ‘Managing Conflicts Over Resources and Values: Continental Coasts’.

An agreement to establish a UNITWIN network among five European universities to promote wise coastal practices was signed by representatives of the universities involved (University of Aveiro, Portugal; University of Bologna, Italy; University of Cadiz, Spain; University of Riga, Latvia; Russian State Hydrometeorological University, St. Petersburg, Russia) in August 2002. The launch ceremony was held at the University of Cadiz, Spain, in September 2002. A planning workshop involving the Universities of Bologna, Riga, St. Petersburg and Aveiro was held in Cervia, Italy, in November 2002. Two people from Latvia attended the meeting.

One person from Latvia was part of the team that visited the Sustainable Coastal Development in the White Sea - Barents Sea Region, Northern Russia’ field project in July 2002. They evaluated the project on the basis of the 16 wise practice characteristics devised by CSI, gave advice on how the project might be developed and wrote a report

Similarly, a team of five experts visited North Kurzeme in November 2002 to assess the field project on Municipal Environmental Management and Public Participation, North Kurzeme, Latvia’. 

UNESCO chair activities continued at the University of Riga in 2002: 21 people from Latvian coastal municipalities and other similar institutions attended a two-day summer university in September (funded by the Nordic council of Ministers); a data base / information service to include all the institutions and projects on sustainable coastal development in Latvia and the greater Balkans was established; various applications to attract additional funding for the Nordic-Baltic Network were denied; a homepage for the UNESCO chair was produced; four two-day courses on sustainable coastal development were held between autumn 2002 and spring 2002 (School Agenda 21 and Municipal Sustainable Coastal Development’, ‘Local Agenda 21 for Coastal Municipal Regions  - Kolka, Dundaga and Ance Municipalities’, ‘Local Agenda 21 Policy and Management Action Programme for Kolka Municipality’ and ‘Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management Action Programme Communication for Coastal Regions’; a ‘Nordic-Baltic Network Workshop - Co-Net’ was held in June 2002 in Rude (Roja Municipality) - it was co-organised with Hanover University, Germany, one day was devoted to the coastal region of Latvia (30 Latvian participants and 50 participants from the greater Balkan area).

Field work continued on the North-Kurzeme field project in 2002. Guidelines for various municipalities and objectives concerning sustainable coastal development were prepared. Students from the Universities of Stockholm and MidSweden did field work in February and students form Stockholm returned in May and September. Professors from the University of Stockholm visited in October 2002 to plan for the following year.

Two projects based in the Kurzeme field project area received funding from the European Union: the ‘Livonian Green Region 21’ (September 2001 - December 2003); and the ‘Leonardo’ programme (December 2001 - December 2003).

 

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