Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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CSI info 5

2. PROJECT OBJECTIVES

2.1 Creation of a network of small and medium size coastal towns
2.2 Inter-city partnership agreements
2.3 Training programmes
2.4 Conduct of case studies
2.5 Support for North-South and South-South co-operation
2.6 Studies and research

The UNESCO project "Urban Development and Freshwater Resources: Small Coastal Cities", having noted the recommendations of the global conferences of Rio, 1992, and Habitat II, 1996, and bearing in mind:

and under the supervision of the Steering Committee of specialists in the natural, social and human sciences, should contribute to the sustainable development of historical small and medium towns in coastal areas, by improving the conditions and quality of life of their inhabitants, while protecting the freshwater resources on which their development depends.

The objectives of the project are:

2.1 Creation of a network of small and medium size coastal towns

In the first phase, the project attempts to establish a network of coastal towns on either side of the Mediterranean and in northern Europe. It will help the municipalities to develop a mechanism for the circulation of information, and will serve as a focal point for inter-city co-operation.

A Web site has been created to facilitate inter-city communication. Documents and case studies will be prepared and published, as well as scientific articles designed to enhance knowledge on the development of small and medium size towns and the management of water resources in coastal areas. To facilitate the sharing of knowledge and know-how, the project will help the towns to organize seminars, meetings, training mechanisms for managers and municipal technical staff to strengthen the municipalities' means of action, temporary exchange of young technicians, the search for technical and financial support for the implementation of operational projects in those towns where a case study is being conducted.

2.2 Inter-city partnership agreements

Technical partnership remains a new idea to many decision-makers, at the national level and especially at the regional and local level. The possibility of establishing technical partnership agreements opens up new perspectives to local authorities that wish to take initiatives in decentralized co-operation. The partnership mechanism amongst coastal towns can facilitate co-operation and allow the greatest possible advantage to be taken of the know-how of urban developers, patrimony specialists and civil authorities through the ministries of culture, public works, and the environment.

The UNESCO project will offer suggestions for the drafting of inter-city partnership agreements. It will help towns to evaluate their problems, to decide possible solutions, to mobilize financial resources and to find potential partners. It will co-ordinate and supervise field operations through the Regional Offices and the National Commissions of UNESCO; it will reinforce local and district associations, encourage the use of historic buildings for social purposes for the benefit of the inhabitants, with the aim of reducing urban poverty in town centres.

2.3 Training programmes

The project will support the development of the modalities of training of young professionals in the context of the project on the integrated development of small and medium coastal towns. Training courses will cover particularly water-resource management, urban development, socio-economic development, the revitalization and re-utilization of the urban patrimony etc. UNESCO Chairs in these subjects could be created in one or several pilot sites.

2.4 Conduct of case studies

The objective of the project is to improve and support the implementation of operational projects in the towns of certain countries bordering the Mediterranean that are the object of case studies. Demonstration projects, in which the public can observe tangible results, often constitute the most effective method of communication with decision-makers.

2.5 Support for North-South and South-South co-operation

The project supports North-South and South-South co-operation, to facilitate technical information exchange, in situ experiments, and the search for financial support for local, regional, national and international co-operation (in the private and public sectors).

2.6 Studies and research

The project will support the small and medium size coastal towns that wish to revitalize their town centres while ensuring the proper management of their specific natural resources, bearing in mind that coastal urban development is often subordinate to the proper management of existing water resources. The project will provide example of salt-water intrusion, land subsidence, the management of urban and underground water, revitalization and re-utilization of urban historical buildings for habitation, socio-economic replacement activities, socio-cultural facilities, reinforcement of municipal capabilities, the impact of tourism on traditional and historical communities in coastal areas. It will encourage the multiplication of interdisciplinary research work and will indicate or find the information required for taking the necessary decisions.

The project will support integrated research and will set up interdisciplinary groups that will co-operate with national authorities, with officers of coastal municipalities and with local planners and managers under the gis of a Steering Committee composed of experts in the various scientific fields concerned and from the international programmes MOST and IHP:

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