Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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CSI info 7


Coastal regions and small islands face increasing demographic and economic pressure. Many of the Earth’s most diverse, complex and productive ecosystems are found in coastal areas, the resources of which are of utmost importance, particularly for food security. Small Island Developing States – coastal regions in their entirety – by making the most of restricted resources, provide lessons on living in a finite yet global world.

Many African countries face serious coastal management and development problems, particularly as degradation of the coastal environment is causing a decline in the quality of life of local populations. Coastal erosion and desertification provoke biodiversity loss and drinking water problems. Local economies are adversely affected by over-exploitation of living resources, as well as by coastal development which ignores ecosystem functions and interactions, and by pollution of coastal aquifers etc. Transboundary impacts are caused by marine and fresh-water pollution, river damming, harbours and other major coastal developments. Short-term economic gains often take priority over long-term benefits.

Communication and education are essential for raising public awareness and improving the capacity of people to understand as well as appreciate issues and problems. These two broad domains are also critical in any efforts to reinforce and develop the knowledge, values, attitudes, practices and skills required to participate fully in the sustainable development of coastal regions. Formal, non-formal and continuing education at all levels and various communication means and channels (e. g. interpersonal, traditional, the print and electronic media as well as the new information technologies – Internet etc.) are required for this purpose.

The initiative entitled Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and in Small Islands (CSI) was launched in 1996 by UNESCO specifically to foster, for the sake of sustainable coastal development, the inclusion of expertise from several major domains into the arena of debate and action. The focus swings from natural and social sciences to culture, communication and education – and back again, with the sharing and interweaving of knowledge and experience.

The CSI-Info series was created to disseminate information of interest to managers and other stakeholders in the coastal zone. This document presents the proceedings of a technical workshop on the theme of its title, held at the Pan-African Conference on Sustainable Integrated Coastal Management (PACSICOM, which took place in Maputo, Mozambique, 18-24 July 1998). This workshop was conceptualized, organized and funded on the CSI platform in association with the PACSICOM Co-ordinating Committee, UNESCO’s Communication and Education programmes and several of the Organization’s Field Offices in Africa.

Particular acknowledgement is due to Professor E. Salif Diop for his contribution to the preparation of this workshop, as well as his leadership from the Chair.

The results of the workshop point to a programme dimension in which further concentration is needed. The ultimate value of follow-up efforts will be proven when ensuing actions contribute to a better lifestyle for the men, women and children who live on the African coastline, now and in the future.


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