in coastal regions and in small islands
Islandsí Voice 2004
Small Islands' Voice 2004
(SIV '04) will provide islanders with the opportunity to voice their opinions
on environment-development issues and to ensure that their views are included
in the 10-year review of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development
of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), adopted in Barbados in 1994. Continued
dialogue, initiated at the grassroots level, supported by existing media and
disseminated nationally and regionally by Internet-based discussion fora, will
provide for a feedback-driven flow of information up to and beyond 2004. Training
and capacity building, combined with regular evaluations are key components
to providing for the sustainability of the initiative, which targets SIDS in
the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific regions.
'The world's small island
developing states are front-line zones where, in concentrated form, many of the
main problems of environment and development are unfolding'. (United Nations Secretary-General,
Mr Kofi Annan, New York, September 1999).
Due to the size and relative
isolation of small islands, combined with their vulnerability to natural disasters
and to global economic events, the problems they confront are especially challenging.
If they remain isolated and unable to take part in the 'information age' the
tendency will be to continue in the downward spiral of environmental degradation
and growing poverty.
The Small Islands' Voice
2004 initiative was prepared and approved in response to a 2001 call for proposals
within the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO) for interdisciplinary activities relating to the contribution of new
information and communication technologies to the development of education,
science, culture and the construction of a knowledge society.
SIV'04 seeks to overcome
the isolation of small islands by building capacity and strengthening modes
of internal, regional and inter-regional communication. It will compile views
and opinions on environment-development issues at the local level, through community-initiated
activities supported by radio, television and print media. These views will
be synthesised, prioritised and further discussed through Internet-based national
discussion fora using the experience gained through the UNESCO 'Wise Coastal
Practices for Sustainable Human Development' Internet-based discussion forum,
started in 1999.
'Knowledge does not only
come from outside the community - it is often there, waiting to be shared. UNESCO
firmly believes that marginalised communities should become content producers
as well as users of the Internet.' (Mr Alain Modoux, Assistant Director-General
for Communications and Information, UNESCO, Kothmale, Sri Lanka, 22 January
Small Islands' Voice 2004
- provide people from small
islands the opportunity to voice their opinions on environment-development
- ensure that these opinions
are included in the 10-year review of the 'Programme of Action for the Sustainable
Development of Small Island Developing States', adopted in Barbados in 1994;
- encourage people to
get involved in environment-development issues up to and beyond 2004.
These goals will be achieved
- obtaining islanders'
views and opinions on environment-development issues at the local level through
community-initiated activities supported by radio, television and print media;
- debating these views
among a larger audience through Internet-based discussions;
- seeking the views of
young islanders on environment-development issues.
- compiling and synthesizing
civil society's views on environment-development issues.
The SIV'04 initiative will
run, in the first instance, from January 2002 to December 2003, and will consist
of the following steps.
- Identify a minimum of
three individual islands (SIDS) from the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific
- Inventory existing communication
channels in villages/communities/outer islands, resource user groups and non-governmental
- Identify a partner organisation(s)
and a capable motivated leader(s) in each island, and provide for their training
and equipment needs.
- Prepare detailed work
plans, for exchange and discussion among the islands.
- Conduct pre- and post-project
surveys of civil society's views on environment-development issues for evaluation
- Determine the key environment-development
issues important to civil society in the selected islands through participatory,
community-initiated activities involving all major groups in society (women,
men, young people, local leaders, NGOs, private sector etc.) and using the
most appropriate communication modes.
- Where appropriate enhance
and/or add to existing communication modes, and provide additional training.
- Using the 'Wise Coastal
Practices for Sustainable Human Development' forum as a model, and together
with local partners, develop national Internet-based discussion fora in each
island, which will compile, prioritise and further discuss the issues.
- Provide training in
the design, management and moderation of Internet-based discussion fora.
- Further synthesise the
identified issues through regional and inter-regional small-island, Internet-based
discussion fora, and fully maximising other Internet-based initiatives, such
as SIDSnet, and involving all small islands wishing to participate.
- Provide mechanisms for
continued feedback-driven communication between the local level and the Internet-based
discussion fora at the (inter)regional level.
- Obtain the views of
young people on environment-development issues, in cooperation with the UNESCO
Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) in the three regions, together
with youth groups, church groups and others. Initiate a young islanders Internet-based
- Document all activities.
Expected results &
- Through the direct input
of civil society in small islands, the concerns of islanders regarding the
environment-development arena will be better addressed.
- Increased awareness
and understanding about small-island issues, both in SIDS and elsewhere in
- The integrated approach
will facilitate future complementary activities among societal sectors in
the island countries and cooperation among UNESCO's five Programme Sectors.
- The added experience
with Internet-based discussion fora will enhance the effective use of these
technologies by individuals and organisations in small-island Member States,
including those focusing on young persons such as the ASPnet.
- New ways on how to bridge
communication gaps, such as between the Internet-connected and the Internet-unconnected,
and between generations.
- Further development
of local participatory communication modes e.g. community radio, in SIDS,
with particular emphasis on their sustainability beyond project life.
- A synthesised input
from civil society in SIDS into the 10-year review of the Programme of Action
for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, adopted
in Barbados in 1994.
- Pre- and post-project
attitude surveys of civil society in small islands.
- Intra- and inter-regional
meetings for country co-ordinators.
- Six monthly reports.
- Continuous electronic
- Post-project evaluation.
UNESCO sectors for natural
sciences, communication and information, culture; UNESCO field offices around
the world; national commissions for UNESCO; NGOs and governmental organisations
in SIDS; media stations, networks and organisations, both national and regional,
in SIDS; coordinators of UNESCO and other field project activities in SIDS;
SIDSnet, United Nations Division for Sustainable Development, United Nations
Development Programme, New York; and other organisations interested in joining
SIV '04 endeavours.