Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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The Independent State of Samoa

One person from Samoa participated in 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 Samoan delegate wrote a paper on customary management systems in Samoa.

A contract with the UNESCO Samoan National Commission was issued to develop a field project ‘Education for Sustainable Village Living, Saanapu and Sataoa Villages, Upolu Island’ (old name: ‘Sustainable village living in a small island setting’) in the Saanapu Conservation Area. A community consultation meeting involving representatives from the education and environment ministries, Associated Schools Project schools and the UNESCO National Commission was held in April 1999 for the formal launch of the Saanapu project. Project activities aim to integrate indigenous and scientific knowledge into local environmental management practice, and to enhance environmental education curricula in local Associated Schools. The project was reviewed in September 2000.

Following project team meetings in January and February 2000 fieldwork started in June. A digital camera was provided to capture high quality photographs of the conservation area to illustrate a resource book on Samoa’s mangrove forests and the communities that live there. The book will combine ecological, socio-economic and anthropological data. Field interviews, by researchers from the National University of Samoa, were conducted in the villages of Saanapu and Sataoa in June. Primary school teachers, students, their parents, community members and leaders were asked to give their views and share their traditional knowledge on the coastal mangrove forests of Samoa.

During 2000 the Department of Education’s Curriculum Development Unit coordinated the publication of field-guides on coastal ecology and sustainable use of mangroves for primary and secondary schools respectively. The first draft of a mangrove field study guide for primary schools was completed by the Samoan Department of Education in October 2001.

In June 1999 a web-based discussion on ‘Community-based Management of Subsistence Fisheries’ in Samoa started on the ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development’ Forum. Papers on Samoan topics, added in 2000, include: ‘Community-based Fisheries Management’, ‘The Role of the Village Communities’, ‘Villages to Conduct their Own Fisheries Management’ and ‘The Future of the Wise Practices Forum an Asia-Pacific Regional Perspective’. Another paper was added in 2001: ‘Management Approaches to Reduce the Negative Impact of Migrant Fishers’.

In July 2000 field project leaders, UNESCO Chair holders and UNESCO staff met in Bangkok, Thailand, to discuss strategies for advancing and networking the field projects and university chairs in the Asia-Pacific region. Six universities in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Thailand signed an agreement to set up a UNITWIN (university twinning) network to reinforce interdisciplinary teaching and training in coastal matters in February 2002.

A meeting of CSI field project leaders and representatives from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) was held in Apia in December 2000. Five people from Samoa attended. 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 Open Day stimulated debate on coastal development and management in Samoa. The results of the workshop were published as CSI papers 9 ‘Wise Coastal Practices Towards Sustainable Small Island Living’. Some of the participants from Samoa presented a paper on the Saanapu-Sataoa project.

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. Samoa is one of the island states involved in the project through the Small Islands Voice Internet-based global forum; correspondents from Samoa contributed to discussions on foreign investment ‘Saving Island Identity’ and tourism ‘Local Approaches to Tourism Development in Samoa’ and ‘Working Together to Develop a Successful Tourism Strategy.

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

Educational materials originally developed for the Saanapu-Sataoa project were reviewed and revised in early 2003. The output was a redesigned set of primary school materials (two mangrove field study activity sheets, a teachers guide, a colour poster - all in English and Samoan and a colouring book in Samoan) and draft materials for secondary school.


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