|Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
Today (late 1990s) well over half of the world's population lives in coastal areas and, by the end of the new millenium's first decade, an estimated 70-80% will live in close proximity to the sea. Billions of people, poor and rich alike, depend on local coastal fishing for the major part of their animal food protein, and there are similar dependencies on other coastal resources for sustenance, development and recreation. The majority of the world's megacities are coastal, adding to the urgent need for strategies to achieve sustainable development. These regions are also cross-roads for peoples of many origins and persuasions, this providing a particularly complex mosaic of cultural groups.
Addressing the variety of problems facing coastal regions and small islands requires transdisciplinary research and the careful formulation of policies for integrated action towards improved management of resources in the coastal belt. The UNESCO endeavour, Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and in Small Islands (CSI), was launched in 1996 in response to the situation. It provides a platform for cross-sectoral co-operation amongst the Organization's different programmes in Member States and with concerned institutions and other partners around the world.
In 1996, as one of its first activities, CSI initiated and coordinated an inventory of published works, accomplished through UNESCO's activities, that contribute to broadening our understanding of coastal region and small island problems and possible solutions. The present volume is the result of this inventory. It is intended to serve as an aid to researchers, resource managers, teachers, decision-makers and other stakeholders.