Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

St. Vincent and the Grenadines participate in the regional ‘Managing Beach Resources and Planning for Coastline Change, Caribbean Islands’ project (old name: ‘Coast and Beach Stability in the Eastern Caribbean (COSALC) project’). The coastal monitoring programme was continued through 1996-99 in co-operation with several national agencies. In 1996, a set of equipment for coastal monitoring was provided. Analyses of the monitoring data, stored in the computerized data base in the country, was completed for the year 1996, and the COSALC’96 report, summarizing beach changes in the Caribbean (with a chapter on St. Vincent and the Grenadines), was produced in 1997. A public awareness campaign was launched in 1997 with the production and distribution to national agencies, schools and the private sector of audio-visual material on ‘Beaches and Hurricanes: 1995 in the Eastern Caribbean Islands’ (including data from St. Vincent and the Grenadines). A slide presentation illustrating the effects of Tropical Storm Iris and Hurricanes Luis and Marilyn on the islands of the eastern Caribbean in 1995, including slides on St. Vincent and the Grenadines was put together in 1997 and distributed. A cultural and socio-economic assessment of beach changes in the Eastern Caribbean (including St. Vincent and the Grenadines) was completed and the corresponding report issued in 1996; a paper on the assessment was published in CSI papers 1.

A country representative attended a regional workshop (co-sponsored by CSI, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Sub-Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions, IOCARIBE, and the Caribbean Development Bank) on management of beach resources in small Eastern Caribbean islands (Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, October, 1996). His contributions, along with the presentations by other countries of the region, was published as CSI Info 1 (1997): ‘Integrated Framework for the Management of Beach Resources within the Smaller Caribbean Islands: workshop results’ and Coastal Region and Small Island Papers 1 (1997): ‘Managing Beach Resources in the Smaller Caribbean Islands: workshop papers’.

A practical guide for the stakeholders presenting methodology for coastal development setbacks in the Eastern Caribbean Islands was published as CSI Info 4 ‘Planning for Coastline Change’ and was distributed throughout the Caribbean including St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A summary report ‘Coast and Beach Stability in the Caribbean Islands. COSALC project activities 1996-97’ (published as No.6 in the CSI Info series) and a report ‘Planning for Coastline Change. COSALC project review, 1998’ were submitted to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines authorities. Public information material distributed included: a poster ‘The Sea at your doorstep’ , three articles in the Sea Grant in the Caribbean Newsletter (January-December 1998), and ‘Coping with Beach Erosion’ (published as Coastal Management Sourcebook 1). A follow-up ‘Coping with Shoreline Erosion in the Caribbean’ was published in Nature & Resources vol.35 no. 4 in December 1999. A summary of the COSALC project was written in September 2000.

In March 1998 a COSALC consultant visited St. Vincent and the Grenadines to assist in the on-going beach monitoring programme and in particular to install new beach monitoring software and teach local personnel how to use it. 

St. Vincent and the Grenadines participated in the first phase of a joint Caribbean Development Bank/UNESCO project on ‘Institutional Strengthening in Beach Management in the Eastern Caribbean States and Turks and Caicos Islands’ (October 1999-March 2000). The focus of this project was strengthening of the on-going beach monitoring programme. In January 2000 a COSALC consultant visited. Beach monitoring manuals specific to St. Vincent and the Grenadines were prepared and distributed, new beach monitoring software was installed and personnel were trained to compile beach-change databases. The Interim Report (phase I) on the project was issued in April, phase II started in June 2000. A final report on the institutional strengthening project ‘Monitoring Beach Changes as an Integral Component of coastal Management’ was published in 2003 as CSI info 15. It contains a section specific to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Members of COSALC helped the national co-coordinators of the Caribbean Sea Project of the Associated Schools Project (ASP) of UNESCO to formulate, present, and launch the Sandwatch project during their fourth regional meeting in May 1998. A summary of Bequia’s contribution to the Sandwatch project was published in the Caribbean Compass in March 2001. A teacher from St. Vincent and the Grenadines participated in the ASPNet-CSI Sandwatch workshop in St. Lucia in May 2001 and schools from St. Vincent and the Grenadines are involved in the Sandwatch beach monitoring activities. 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.

A booklet Wise Practices for Coping with Beach Erosion - St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ was published in 2002. It is one of a series of  public information booklets on beach erosion in the Caribbean produced jointly by UNESCO-CSI, the University of Puerto Rico’s Sea Grant College Program and the Caribbean Development Bank.

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. 

Small Islands Voice was officially launched in Bequia in February 2003. Teachers and pupils from Bequia’s two secondary schools attended the launch. The event was reported in the local press. A second launch ceremony was held at the Barrouallie Secondary School in St. Vincent later that month.

Pupils from Bequia Community High School had already been active in one aspect of the project - the trial phase of an Internet-Based Youth Forum (user name view, password only). They posted the first paper: (Dis)Advantages of Living in a Small Island’ in September 2002. They also replied to papers and responses posted by other young people in the Seychelles, St. Kitts, Nevis, the Cook Islands and Palau. An assessment of the trial phase was conducted by the pupils and teachers involved in the forum in December 2002. The Bequia Community High School contributed to this. Between September and December 2002 two classes worked in interactive groups to define issues of concern to teenagers in Bequia: the environment, sex, violence in the community and drug abuse. They suggested some potential remedies. 

Phase two of the Youth Forum started in February 2003. Pupils from Bequia Community High School continued to be involved and were joined by pupils from Barroualliie Secondary School. They posted a paper on Our Island Traditions’ and replied to messages from the Cook Islands, Palau and the Seychelles.

A teacher from Bequia High School took part in the Small Islands Voice Inter-Regional Workshop’ that was held in Koror, Palau in November 2002. He prepared a paper on Small Islands Voice - the Bequian View’. His experiences were reported in the Searchlight newspaper in December 2002 as: Belmar Flies SVG’s Flag in Palau’. For further information see the background document and the workshop programme. The workshop participants signed the ‘Rock Islands Declaration’ to emphasis their commitment to the goals and continuation of the Small Islands Voice project. The workshop and other Small Island Voice activities were reported in CSI papers 13 Small Islands Voice - Laying the Foundation’.

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

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

Extracts of newspaper articles from St. Vincent and the Grenadines concerning other small island issues have been put onto the Small Islands website: controversy over a proposed bottling plant in St. Vincent Straker Erred on Big Gut Water Project’ (The Vincentian, June 2003); ‘Layou People Picket Parliament’ (The Vincentian, June 2003); ‘Watering Our Development Choices’ (Searchlight, June 2003); and other concerns ‘Small Island Voices Ring Out Loud’ (Searchlight, February 2003); ‘Boys Performance vs Female Performance’ (New Times, June 2003); ‘A Cultural Heritage: Radio Listening’ (New Times, June 2003); and ‘Generation C-cell Phones Wreaking Havoc in St. Vincent Schools’ (The (Young) Vincentian, June 2003).

Adults from St. Vincent and the Grenadines have also been involved in an Internet-based forum - the Small Islands Voice Global Forum. Access to Friendship Bay, Bequia, where a fence has been built below the high water line has been discussed on the forum ‘Sharing Beach Resources’ and in the local press ‘A New Colonialism’. Correspondents from St. Vincent and the Grenadines contributed to other forum discussions on tourism ‘Small is Beautiful’, ‘Working Together to Develop a Successful Tourism Strategy’ and development ‘Controlling Development’. 


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