Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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The Eastern Republic of Uruguay

An international conference on ecology of the Rio de la Plata Estuary, ECOPLATA’96 was hosted by Uruguay in November 1996; it was sponsored by Canada. It was attended by a number of national participants. Several specialists are involved in the preparation of a publication resulting from the conference ‘ECOPLATA’96 - Towards Sustainable Development of the Rio de la Plata Coastal Zone’. Several specialists are involved in the preparation of another publication, in Spanish, ‘The Rio de la Plata: An Environmental Overview Wells P.G. and Daborn G.R. (Eds)’, which was published by Dalhousie University at the end of 1997. A sub-regional project ‘Integrated Management of Rio de la Plata Coastal Zone’ was launched in June 1997 with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) support. A pilot project on ‘Population and Environment of the Coastal Zone of the Rio de la Plata’ was launched in July 1997. A sub-regional project ‘Information and Consultation System on the Biodiversity of Rio de la Plata and adjacent Waters’ was launched in January 1997, with financial support from Uruguay and technical assistance from the Expert Centre for Taxonomic Identifications (Amsterdam, The Netherlands). 

One person from Uruguay attended courses at the ‘UNESCO Chair in Coastal Sciences’, University of Concepción, Chile (autumn 1996- spring 1997). Three trainees attended the International Training Course on Algal Biodiversity in Concepción in March/April 1996. 

A specialist from UNESCO went on mission to Uruguay concerning the EcoPlata and BioPlata and the establishment of a UNESCO Chair in ‘Sustainable Coastal Development in the South-West Atlantic Region’. An ECOPLATA workshop was organized and hosted by Uruguay in May/June 1998 and was attended by 68 nationals. Nine specialists from Uruguay were involved in the BioPlata project from June to December 1998 describing taxonomic diversity. A specialist from Uruguay carried out an evaluation of the activities of this project and a working document with recommendations for the follow up was prepared. A national specialist was involved in the further development of the BioPlata project.

One person from Uruguay attended 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 delegate from Uruguay presented a paper (English/French).

The themes of ‘A Co-management Approach to Artisanal Fisheries / Chile and Uruguay’ and ‘Crossing Institutional and Disciplinary Boundaries / Rio de la Plata-Uruguay’ were introduced as discussion topics on the web-based ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum’ in June and July 1999. Another paper relevant to Uruguay was posted in September 2000: ‘The Battle for the Last Fish in the South Atlantic’. A report on the forum ‘Work in Progress 2’ / ‘Progrès Accomplis 2’ / ‘Avance de Actividades 2’ was published in November 2000; one person from Uruguay contributed to it. A further paper on Uruguay was posted in November 2001: ‘Learning from Micro Experiences in Integrated Coastal Management in Uruguay’.; and others in May 2003: ‘Developing Consensus to Formalise an Irregular Fishing Community, San Luis, Uruguay’ and June 2003: ‘A Small-Island Perspective on Irregular Fishing Communities’.

The ECOPLATA project continued in 2000. Working groups on ‘Environmental Quality’, ‘Coastal Space Planning’ and ‘Artisanal Fishers’ were formed. Their work resulted in a proposal to develop a coastal park in the Carrasco-Pando project area. The water quality of the rivers that flow into the Rio de la Plata was monitored. Local schools and residents helped to recycle plastic containers, so reducing the amount of plastic reaching municipal dumps and promoting local appreciation for better handling of solid waste. A summary of the project, its goals, achievements and future direction was compiled in August 2001 (in English and Spanish).

An international conference ‘ECOPLATA 2001’ was held in May 2001, in Montevideo, to examine the achievements of the ECOPLATA project. Presentations on integrated coastal management in Australia, Canada, Ecuador, the UK and the USA were also given. The proceedings of the conference ‘ECOPLATA 2001: International Conference’ were published in 2002 in English and Spanish.

One person from Uruguay 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 ‘Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Uruguay’. A report of the workshop was published as CSI papers 12: ‘Managing Conflicts Over Resources and Values: Continental Coasts’.

A publication that presented research conducted in the ‘Frente Salino’ of the Rio de la Plata on the management of fisheries resources, traditional and industrial fisheries and the socio-economics of traditional fishing practices was produced in 2002. It was compiled by a multidisciplinary team of specialists from different national institutions as part of the ECOPLATA project.

‘El Torréon’, an information bulletin on the ECOPLATA project, began publication in 2002 (No. 1 March 2002; No. 2 May 2002; No. 3 July 2003; No. 4 August 2002; No. 5 November 2002; No. 6 December 2002; and No. 7 May 2003). 


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