Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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CSI info 6


In 1996, a regional workshop entitled ‘Integrated framework for the management of beach resources within the smaller Caribbean Islands’ was held for the countries/territories involved in the project to exchange information about beach management problems and practices and to determine the project’s future programme areas. This workshop provided a forum for physical planners and environmental scientists from each island, as well as educators, researchers and members of the private sector from the Wider Caribbean, to meet and exchange ideas in a transdisciplinary manner. It was held at the MayagŁez campus of the University of Puerto Rico from 21 to 25 October, 1996. Participants came from all the countries/territories involved and other Caribbean nations including Barbados, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, the continental USA, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Several regional organizations were also represented. The workshop was sponsored by UNESCO (CSI and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission) and the UPR-SGCP. The workshop report (1), and the papers presented at the workshop (2), were published and distributed in 1997. The workshop also marked a decade of existence of the regional project on Coast and Beach Stability in the Caribbean Islands.

The keynote addresses, which included environmental, planning and community perspectives emphasized the multi-disciplinary and management-oriented approach of the workshop. Presentations on beach erosion and hurricane impacts provided a quantitative picture of the changes taking place on the beaches of the region. Management issues were the focus of the majority of the presentations. These issues included: beach sand mining; community, traditional and modern approaches to beach management, the dependence of tourism on beaches; planning guidelines and wise management practices for beaches. Regional and international agencies provided a back ground for their programmes and perspectives on beach management and the sustainability of island development.

Group discussions led to the development of a strategy for ‘Sustainable beach management by the year 2001’. The key elements of this strategy focus on the following:

The workshop concluded that in order to achieve effective coastal area management, there is a need for greater cooperation and collaboration at the local, national, regional and international levels.

Following the mandate given by the workshop, the COSALC programme is focusing on five main subject areas. These are as follows:

The five subject areas of the programme were included in a new memorandum of understanding, which was negotiated between UNESCO and the UPR-SGCP in 1997. This memorandum remains in effect until 31st December, 1999.

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