Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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INTRODUCTION

The CSI platform for intersectoral action was initiated in 1996 to contribute to environmentally sustainable, socially equitable, culturally respectful and economically viable development in small islands and coastal regions. The following three complementary and mutually reinforcing approaches have been adopted:

  1. Field-based projects which provide a framework for collaborative action on the ground
  2. UNESCO Chairs and University Twinning (UNITWIN) arrangements, which support and enhance the field project activities through training, capacity building and awareness raising
  3. A multi-lingual, internet-based forum on 'Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development'

Half a dozen field projects continue to operate worldwide. Three university chairs in sustainable coastal development have been formally established. The internet-based discussion forum includes some 19,000 recipients from around the world representing a wide range of specializations and interests. The field projects, backed-up by the UNESCO chairs and twinning networks, have developed and tested wise practices applicable to sustainable development of small islands and coastal regions. These practices provide guidance as to what can wisely be done under the prevailing circumstances. A theoretical basis for wise practice has been developed by defining their characteristics. Method of reaching consensus and implementing wise practice agreements in the field have been discussed and gradually applied. The Internet forum has developed a series of 65 example wise practices that guide sustainable development action on the ground.

The CSI platform is well placed within UNESCO to catalyse joint action among programme sectors, field offices, and institutions and peoples around the world as its projects, capabilities and goals cross not only geographical boundaries, but specializations too.

The Platform, which also serves as UNESCO Focal Point for the Mauritius Strategy Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), is promoting intersectoral cooperation for an holistic, integrated approach. Among its initiatives, Small Islands Voice (SIV) focuses on sustainable living and development activities at the local level through 'Communities in Action', and sharing of these experiences interregionally via exchanges and the media: print, radio, video, television and the internet. In this regard, the SIV Global Internet forum and SIV Youth Internet Forum (with user name view and password only) are instrumental in providing islanders with a place to speak and act. Youth Visioning for Island Living, involving youth in working for the sustainable development of SIDS, is another intersectoral and inter-regional activity led by CSI, in collaboration with the Section for Youth and many other, non-UNESCO partners. CSI has also generated the intersectoral Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) initiative which integrates local and indigenous knowledge, practice and worldviews into sustainable development and resource management processes. Its aim is to ensure that communities, and in particular indigenous knowledge holders, both men and women, and elders and youth, are active partners in defining development targets, priorities and means.

CSI is also active in the domain of Education for Sustainable Development, with locally based activities focusing on capacity development through 'learning by doing'.

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