Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Puerto Rico (USA)

A three-year agreement was signed with the University of Puerto Rico Sea Grant College Program to co-sponsor the regional ‘Coast and Beach Stability in the Eastern Caribbean (COSALC) project’ in 1996, and was renewed in 1999. The Program plays an important role in coordinating COSALC activities. Many activities in the region were organized, such as: the major regional workshop on management of beach resources within the small Caribbean islands, hosted by Puerto Rico and co-sponsored by the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the Caribbean Development Bank (Mayagüez, October 1996). It was attended by 22 local specialists. The workshop report and proceedings were published in Puerto Rico by UNESCO in 1997 as CSI Info 1 ‘Integrated Framework for the Management of Beach Resources within the Smaller Caribbean Islands: workshop results’ and Coastal Regions and Small Islands Papers 1 ‘Managing Beach Resources in the Smaller Caribbean Islands: workshop papers’. The University of Puerto Rico supported the production and distribution of three audio-visual aids to raise public-awareness on coastal change.

The COSALC project was renamed ‘Managing Beach Resources and Planning for Coastline Change, Caribbean Islands’. The project leader is based in Puerto Rico. She visited Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the San Andres Archipelago (Colombia) and the Turks and Caicos Islands between 1996 and 2002 to further the project and in some cases to evaluate it and to participate in workshops on beach management and erosion.

A laboratory in Puerto Rico takes part in the ‘Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity (CARICOMP) field project’ contributing to the development of a CSI activity, which focuses on the interface between coastal ecological and socio-cultural systems, and aims at their integrated management and sustainable development. It monitors coral reef, mangrove and seagrass sites at La Parguera. The collected output of such monitoring, throughout the region, was published as CSI Papers 3 ‘CARICOMP. Caribbean Coral Reef, Seagrass and Mangrove Sites’. A summary of the CARICOMP project, its goals, achievements and future direction was produced in March 2001.

A resource book 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.

The COSALC project leader from Puerto Rico was a member of the teams that visited the Philippines, India and Thailand in July 2000 to monitor CSI field projects.

One person from Puerto Rico attended a meeting of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) 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 Puerto Rico presented a paper on project assessment and inter-project exchange and another on the COSALC project.

One person from Puerto Rico 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 Puerto Rico presented a general paper on ‘Coastal Stewardship and User Conflicts’.

A profile of the UNESCO consultant, from Puerto Rico, who co-ordinates CSI’s activities in the Caribbean was published in El Habanero in October 2001.

One person from Puerto Rico 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 ‘Conflict Resolution in Small Islands: Voluntary Contracts and Ethical Codes of Practice’. A report of the workshop was published as CSI papers 12: ‘Managing Conflicts over Resources and Values: Continental Coasts’.

One person from Puerto Rico was part of the teams that visited the Sustainable Coastal Development in the White Sea - Barents Sea Region, Northern Russia’ and the Reducing the Impact of Flooding in Lagos, Nigeria field projects in July 2002. They evaluated the projects on the basis of the 16 wise practice characteristics devised by CSI, gave advice on how they might be developed and wrote reports on the Lagos and Northern Russia projects.

One person from Puerto Rico helped to launch an interdisciplinary project concerned with making new communication technologies available to people in small islands, the Small Islands Voice project, in February 2002. She went on to coordinate project activities from July to December 2002. The project 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. Puerto Rico is one of the island territories involved in the project through the Small Islands Voice Internet-based global forum; correspondents from Puerto Rico have directly participated in the forum. 

A specialist from Puerto Rico attended the first Small Islands Voice workshop that was held in Palau in November 2002. She prepared a paper on Small Islands Voice Youth Forum Proposals for 2003’. The workshop and other Small Islands Voice activities were reported in CSI papers 13: ‘Small Islands Voice - Laying the Foundation’.


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