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

Two experts from the Seychelles attended a workshop organized jointly with the UNESCO Communication and Education Sectors, and the UNESCO Dakar, Maputo, Nairobi and Pretoria Offices as part of the ‘Pan-African Conference on Sustainable Integrated Coastal Management (PACSICOM)’ held in Maputo, Mozambique in July 1998. The proceedings of the workshop: ‘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’, including a paper by one of the delegates from the Seychelles (English/French), was published as CSI info 7.

A journalist from the Seychelles attended the media seminar ‘What Future for our Coasts?’ held in Mauritius in November 1999.

A paper on ‘Clean Renewable Energy / Cousin Island - Seychelles’ was contributed to a discussion on the web-based ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development’ Forum in July 2000. Several more papers on the Seychelles were posted in 2001: ‘Further examples of Successful Land Purchase for Conservation’, ‘A Programme for the Control of Beach Erosion’, ‘Views on “Soft Engineering” Measures for Coastal Erosion Control’, ‘The Complexity of Beach Erosion Mitigation’ and ‘Methodologies for Carrying Capacity in Small Island States’. The Seychelles’ involvement in the Small Islands Voice project (see below) was discussed on the forum in April and July 2002: ‘Start-Up Activities for the Small Islands Voice Initiative’ and ‘Announcement of a trial global discussion forum for Small Islands Voice’.

The Seychelles is a member of SEACAM the Secretariat for Eastern African Coastal Area Management. A French translation, of a training manual produced by SEACAM, ‘D’une Bonne Idée a un Projet Réussi. Manuel pour le Développement et la Gestion de Projets a l’Echelle Local’ was published as CSI info 9 in 2000. The manual has been used throughout east Africa to train members of non-governmental organisations concerned with integrated coastal zone management.

A one-day media seminar ‘Our Coasts Today and Tomorrow’ was held in the Seychelles in May 2000. Fifteen journalists attended and discussed coastal issues with environmentalists. The seminar determined that more openness on the part of government, and other information sources, and training in environmental journalism was required.

Consultations in May 2000 identified potential areas of activity complementary to the European Commission-Indian Ocean Commission-ARPEGE programme for environmental education in Indian Ocean islands.

A meeting of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) was held in Apia, Samoa, in December 2000. One person from the Seychelles 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 results of the workshop were published as CSI papers 9 (2001) ‘Wise Coastal Practices Towards Sustainable Small-Island Living’. The participant from the Seychelles presented a paper on the Seychelles perspective on wise coastal practices.

One person from the Seychelles 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 the Seychelles presented a paper on coastal stewardship in the Seychelles.

One person from the Seychelles attended a workshop for CSI field project leaders on ‘Wise Practices for Conflict Prevention and Resolution’, which was held in Mozambique in November 2001. He presented a paper on ‘Coastal Problems in a Microcosm: the Small Islands Experience’. A report of the workshop was published as CSI papers 12: ‘Managing Conflicts Over Resources and Values: Continental Coasts’.

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.

The Seychelles was the start-up country for the Small Islands Voice project in the Indian Ocean. Seychelles Cabinet Ministers endorsed this position in February 2002. A UNESCO consultant visited the country in March 2002 to lay the groundwork for the project. She met with representatives from the government and educational and conservation organisations. The project was officially launched in Mahé in March 2002. The event was reported on the television news and in the Seychelles Nation as ‘Minister Launches Small Islands Voice 2004 Project for the Seychelles’. There is a twelve-person steering committee for the Small Islands’ Voice project in the Seychelles.

Another article on the Small Islands Voice project was published in the Seychelles Nation (March 2002): ‘Small Islands’ Voice 2004, SIDS Re-Assessment, Timely’.

In March 2002 a trial community survey, to test methods for gauging public opinion on environmental and development issues in the Seychelles, was conducted in Victoria, Mahé. Two people conducted the trial in Creole, using a survey form with ten open-ended questions. The survey form was revised. In October 2002 fifty young people interviewed 700 people in the islands of  Mahé, Praslin and La Dique.

A survey of the media serving the Seychelles was conducted in April 2002.

The Seychelles national coordinator for the Small Islands Voice project presented a paper on the project ‘Civils Society’s Perspective on Environment and Development Issues’ at the ‘Islands of the World VII conference’ held in Prince Edward Island, Canada in June 2002.

The Seychelles has an ‘Environment Management Plan 2000-2010’. The Small Islands Voice project is seen as an opportunity to present this plan at the ‘grass roots level’ and to get feed-back on it from the general public. In July 2002 two of the Small Islands Voice steering committee joined the head of the management plan coordinating unit in presenting the plan to District Administrators.

A half-day workshop for youth workers involved in the Small Islands Voice project was held in September 2002. Discussion topics included the Young Islanders Forum, the Global Forum, the opinion survey and the issues facing young people today. 

Seven members of the Seychelles Small Islands Voice steering committee participated in an inter-regional conference call with their counter-parts in the Caribbean and the Pacific in October 2002. They described the latest developments in the Seychelles and how successful the community survey had been. Plans for 2003 were discussed.

Three people from the Seychelles attended the ‘Small Islands Voice Inter-Regional Workshop’ in Palau in November 2002. One of them prepared a paper on ‘Seychelles Project Progress Report Small Islands Voice’. The workshop was reported in the Seychelles Nation (December 2002) as ‘Delegation Attends Small Islands Voice Project Inter-Regional Meeting’. The youth representative described her views of the meeting in ‘My Trip to Palau’ (Youth in Action Newsletter, January 2003). The workshop and other Small Island Voice activities were also reported in CSI papers 13 : ‘Small Islands Voice - Laying the Foundation’.

Pupils from Anse Royale Secondary School, Mahé, were involved in the trial phase (September-December 2002) of an Internet-Based Youth Forum (user name view, password only). They posted papers on ‘The Future of my Island (1)’ and  ‘The Future of my Island (2)’ in November 2002. They also replied to papers and responses posted by other young people from Bequia (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and Nevis. An assessment of the trial phase was conducted by the pupils and teachers involved in the forum in December 2002. Anse Royale Secondary School contributed to this. The forum was reported in the local press as ‘Small Islands Voice Youth Forum’ (EnviroNews September 2002) and ‘Trial Internet-Based Youth Forum a Success’ (Seychelles Nation, January 2003). Environmental news in the Seychelles continued to be covered in 2003 in the ‘Youth in Action Newsletter’ (January 2003) and in ‘EnviroNews’ (February 2003).

Phase two of the Youth Forum started in February 2003. Pupils from Anse Royale Secondary School continued to be involved and were joined by pupils from Praslin Secondary School. They posted a paper on the ‘Need for Recycling in View of Increased Dumping, Littering and Garbage’. They also responded to messages from other young people in Bequia (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and the Cook Islands.

In February 2003 the Small Islands Voice national coordinators and others from the Seychelles, Palau, the Cook Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis 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.

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

The Small Islands Voice Internet-based global forum was launched in October 2002. Its aim is to engage the general public in small islands in an on-line debate on issues relating to environment and development. One discussion topic was tourism strategy in the Seychelles: ‘Let’s Rethink Our Tourism Strategy’ (February 2003); ‘Balancing Different Types of Tourism Accommodation’ (March 2003); ‘The Advantages of Up-market Tourism’ (March 2003); ‘Local Approaches to Tourism Development from Samoa’ (April 2003); and ‘Small is Beautiful’ (April 2003); ‘Working Together to Develop a Successful Tourism Strategy’ (April 2003). A quantitative summary and a complete compilation of the responses to the beach access debate were produced. Seychellois also contributed to discussions on beach access ‘Support from Around the World for Keeping Beaches Open to the Public’, ‘Providing Access to the Beach’ and ‘Sharing Beach Resources’.  

A Second Regional Sandwatch Workshop was held in Dominica in July 2003. As part of the Small Islands Voice initiative young people from the Seychelles, the Cook Islands and Palau participated in the workshop.

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