Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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The Republic of South Africa

A South African specialist was invited to give a series of lectures on global change at the ‘UNESCO Chair in Coastal Studies’, University of Concepción, Chile in December 1996.

The UNESCO Communication and Education Sectors, and the UNESCO Dakar, Maputo, Nairobi and Pretoria Offices jointly organized a workshop as part of the ‘Pan-African Conference on Sustainable Integrated Coastal Management (PACSICOM)’ held in Maputo in July 1998. The proceedings of the workshop were published as CSI info 7 (1999): ‘The Role of Communication and Education for Sustainable Coastal Development’ / ‘Rôle de la communication et de l’éducation dans le développement durable des zones côtières’. One of the four people from South Africa, who attended the workshop, presented a discussion paper (English/French).

A survey of the needs and requirements of the communities in the Maputaland coastal area was initiated in October 1998 through the Pretoria Office in co-operation with the University of Zululand. The aim was to involve these communities in the conception and implementation of a sustainable coastal development programme in the region. This developed into a field project ‘Development-Conservation Strategies for Integrated Coastal Management in Maputaland’ (old name: ‘Development-Conservation Strategies and Environmental Factors Maintaining Biodiversity in Maputaland’). A joint UNESCO-Italian team visited Richards Bay, in Zululand, in May 1999 to identify with local partners essential elements for coastal zone management. Staff and students from Zululand University made a field trip to Maputaland in June/July 1999 to initiate community participation and gather physical data. A report on their findings is entitled ‘A Survey of Tropical South-eastern Africa in the Context of Coastal Zone Management’. A report was issued in August 2000 and a further one in August 2001. A summary of the project was compiled in October 2001. In November 2001 six experts visited the area to assess the project on the basis of its adherence to sixteen wise practice characteristics, and to help to decide its future direction.

The themes of ‘Planning for Development / Maputaland - South Africa’ and ‘A New Approach to Offshore Resource Exploration / South Africa’ have been discussed on the web-based ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development’ Forum since mid-1999. Both discussions carried on into 2000. A report on the forum ‘Work in Progress 2’ /  ‘Progrès Accomplis 2’ / ‘Avance de Actividades 2’ was published in November 2000; one person from South Africa contributed to it. Another paper relevant to South Africa was posted in April 2002: ‘Indigenous Fishers Knowledge - Further Discussion’.

A workshop on ‘Agriculture, Environment and Rural Economic Development, South Africa’ was held in September 2000 in Sodwana Bay; ninety people attended. Discussion centred on the coastal ecosystem and sustainable agriculture and complemented a field study on conservation strategies in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Two people from South Africa attended a workshop for CSI field project leaders on ‘Wise Practices for Conflict Prevention and Resolution’, which was held in Mozambique in November 2001. One of them presented a paper on ‘A Contribution to Integrated Coastal Management in Maputaland’. A report of the workshop was published as CSI papers 12: ‘Managing Conflicts Over Resources and Values: Continental Coasts’.

Five postgraduate students at the University of Zululand (South Africa) conducted studies in the Mabibi area, in 2001, contributing important baseline data. A one-year M.Sc. course in industrial crop production was established at the Universities of Zululand and Undine (Italy) in 2001.

The ‘Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems’ LINKS project to integrate indigenous knowledge into development and conservation, was initiated in 2002. During the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in August/September 2002, a LINKS event was held on ‘Linking Traditional and Scientific Knowledge for Sustainable Development’. This was co-organised by the Tebtebba Foundation and the International Council for Science. The meeting was also used to launch the UNESCO-ICSU report on ‘Science, Traditional Knowledge and Sustainable Development’.


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