in coastal regions and in small islands
PAPER: WORK IN PROGRESS
|CSI info 10|
COASTAL REGIONS AND SMALL ISLANDS (CSI)
CSI is a relatively new initiative within
UNESCO. It was launched in 1996, and seeks to assist UNESCO Member States
towards environmentally sound, socially equitable and culturally appropriate
development of their coastal regions. The focus of CSI has been on intersectoral
approaches utilising UNESCO’s sectors in natural and social sciences, culture,
communication and education, along with their networks of counterparts in over
intersectoral theme has utilised three main approaches:
formulation of wise coastal practices for sustainable human development.
intersectoral pilot projects have been established or co-sponsored involving
some 60 countries. These projects cover topics ranging from the various
dimensions of a ship-breaking industry in India, to sustainable fishing
activities in Haiti, to underwater archaeology in Egypt (see List 1: Pilot
can be obtained from:
field-based activities, some of which have been in progress for several years,
provide frameworks for collaborative action bringing together decision-makers,
local communities, cultural heritage experts and scientists from all
disciplines. They provide a hands-on approach to ICM, and the lessons learnt
from their successes and failures provide a tangible means of assessing
second and related approach has been to establish UNESCO Chairs in Sustainable
Coastal Development which link the field-based actions (pilot projects) to
global networks of scientific reflection and research and which also provide
innovative training and capacity building in sustainable coastal development. So
far two UNESCO Chairs have been established, but others are in the process of
being set up (see List 2: UNESCO Chairs).
WISE COASTAL PRACTICES FOR SUSTAINABLE HUMAN
activity takes the lessons already learnt (and those still being learnt) from
the pilot projects and the UNESCO Chairs and tries to establish areas of
commonality, divergence and new foci. The outcome will then provide input back
to the pilot projects and UNESCO Chairs so as to improve these activities at a
OF WISE COASTAL PRACTICES FOR SUSTAINABLE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
activity has included various processes, including two separate electronic fora
and a workshop. One of the first actions was to define “wise practices”:
Wise practices are actions, processes, principles or decisions that contribute significantly to the achievement of environmentally sustainable, socially equitable, culturally appropriate, and economically sound development in coastal areas.
overall goal of this activity is to improve the practice of ICM
at the level of
the pilot projects and the UNESCO
Chairs, as well as providing useful general
guidelines at both the conceptual and the implementation level for coastal
practitioners. Figure 1 shows a schematic representation of the process which at
the time of writing is ongoing.
activities are described below:
ideas for wise practices were formulated during an electronic discussion group (WP EDG) amongst seven pilot project leaders/UNESCO Chair
holders between September and October, 1998.
concepts were then discussed during a pilot project leaders’ workshop,
“Towards Wise Coastal Development Practice”, held in Paris in December,
1998. This workshop succeeded in preparing a first stage list of characteristics of wise practices.
the period January March 1999, the wise practice formulation was advanced by a
second electronic discussion using e-mail, during which the list of wise
practice characteristics developed at the 1998 Workshop was refined (see List
April and September 1999, a
dedicated website (username = csi, password = wise) was established
for example wise practices. Participants included all the pilot project
leaders, UNESCO Chair holders and other persons experienced in various aspects
of ICM. They were
invited to describe one or more example wise practice(s) with which they
the example wise practice in the context of the wise practice characteristics.
Participants in this forum were also invited to comment on, and respond to the
example wise practices posted by others. Some 48 example wise practices have
been submitted, from all over the globe and covering a range of topics and
approaches. While the list of example wise practices is too long to include in
this paper, the main topics and approaches contained in the example wise
practices are enumerated in List 4.
During October–November 1999, the website (www.csiwisepractices.org; username = csi, password = wise) was re-designed and the example wise practices were indexed. The website has been re-opened so as to allow for further discussion of the example wise practices and of the reactions and responses. The website has also been opened to a wider audience.
date, progress results have been compiled and the usefulness of the wise
practice characteristics assessed. This information will be used to
(re-)evaluate, (re-)focus and advance the activities of the pilot projects and
the UNESCO Chairs. The experiences derived from the global wise practices forum
will be further refined and discussed at regional and national levels through
face-to-face and electronic fora. Ultimately, it is envisaged that the process
will lead to the formulation of concepts and guidelines for ICM
this activity, CSI is seeking to place the experiences learnt from the
individual, site-specific pilot projects and UNESCO
Chairs in a global generic
context in an effort to improve our understanding and practice of sustainable coastal development.
PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS FROM THE WISE COASTAL PRACTICES FOR SUSTAINABLE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT FORUM
the electronic discussion
forum (username = csi, password = wise) is still ongoing, it would be premature
to discuss results at this time. The following discussion represents a series
of observations or “snapshots” gained after indexing and editing the contributions.
WISE PRACTICES THAT FAILED PROVIDE MANY VALUABLE
are many different ways to classify all the example wise practices submitted to
the discussion forum. One way of looking at the contributions is to divide them
practices that are conceptual or in the very preliminary stages of
practices that have stood the test of time and worked;
practices that failed.
unwise practices are very informative and useful and tell us what not to do.
They may also tell us how things could have been improved. However, it is
believed that encouraging people to think constructively in terms of wise (as
opposed to unwise) practices and especially on ways
to implement them, is a pro-active way to further the practice of ICM.
of the items submitted to the discussion forum described wise practices that
were either still being conceptualised or were in the very early stages of
implementation – usually in the first few years. Most of the authors wrote in
an optimistic light about the likely success of these wise practices. However,
there were very few objective evaluations of progress/success.
were very few examples that fell into the third category of wise practices that
had stood the test of time and had worked.
the few items that fell into the last category wise practices that had failed
were perhaps the most informative and bear further detailed analysis. This group
included a failed attempt at co-management in fisheries, and a failed attempt to
change people’s attitude to beach sand mining. They provided examples, where
for varying reasons, something went wrong. This does not necessarily mean that
the wise practice was unwise, rather that unforeseen circumstances or activities
resulted in the failure of the wise practice.
TEMPORAL ASPECTS OF WISE PRACTICES
authors addressed the concept of time in relation to wise practices. Several
persons indicated that it may take several generations for the results of wise
practices to be fully realised, and certainly this may well be the case when
trying to change people’s attitudes. This obviously creates problems in a
world where people are increasingly being conditioned to expect instant results.
this concept has major implications for ICM
practitioners, coastal communities
and even funding agencies the idea to stay with a concept, idea, approach,
project beyond the normal project cycle of 3–5 years. And related to this is
the idea of wise practice sustainability beyond the life of a particular
USE OF WISE PRACTICE CHARACTERISTICS FOR PROJECT
contributor suggested that defining a particular project in terms of the wise
practice characteristics proved to be a valuable tool for monitoring and
evaluating a project or activity. The process of evaluating a project against
each characteristic helped to identify strengths and weaknesses such that future
implementation of similar projects could be improved.
USE OF WISE PRACTICE CHARACTERISTICS AS
contributor suggested using the wise practice characteristics for evaluating
ongoing or proposed development and developing international standards, e.g. a
logging company, if complying with the characteristics, could use the “seal of
wise practices” to market their products.
PAYING FOR WISE PRACTICE IMPLEMENTATION
particular interest were discussions relating to ways to pay for wise practice
implementation against a background of poverty. Contributions from benefiting
communities/populations ranged from payments in kind to direct cash payments.
TRADITIONAL VERSUS MODERN PRACTICES
people discussed the use of traditional practices and areas where they diverged
with modern practices. Some of the most useful discussions dealt with ways to
combine the traditional and modern. In some cases this led on to ethical
considerations, the “need versus greed concept” and ideas regarding the
continuity of humanity.
THE DISCUSSION FORUM BROUGHT OUT THE REALITIES
people felt free to discuss ideas and difficulties that might not be voiced in
other more formal settings, and many of these ideas and difficulties represent
the reality – the “nuts and bolts” of life for ICM
instance in a discussion of environmental impact assessment, the disadvantages
of using outsiders or foreigners to conduct the studies were clearly
illustrated. As were the unrealistic goals of major lending agencies who expect
such major studies (as environmental impact assessments) to be conducted in
3–6 months, when often the baseline data still needs to be collected.
in a discussion of consensus building and using the participatory approach, one
contributor wrote very clearly illustrating the reality of ICM
in the field,
“... the intensity of participation is always linked to the degree of
awareness and of personal gain that the population hopes to acquire from the
project. People cannot always be counted on to participate it is necessary to
mobilise them incessantly without ever being discouraged.”
contributor, discussing how villagers were being empowered to manage their own
subsistence fisheries, stated that some communities were just not ready to
manage their own resources and that these villages had been dropped from the
WISE PRACTICE SUCCESS
so many of the example wise practices were in the very preliminary stages, most
contributors only talked about success in general terms and with a good degree
of optimism. Some writers did, however, provide figures, e.g. a 25% rate of
success among communities managing their fisheries effectively. Such figures,
where available, are very useful to other practitioners in trying to evaluate
progress and success.
above discussion in no way represents the results of the electronic discussion
forum on “Wise Coastal
Practices for Sustainable Human Development” (username
= csi, password = wise).
A detailed analysis of the contributions to the discussion forum has not yet
been done and must of course await the ending of the discussion forum. However,
the discussion does highlight just a few of the ideas that are emerging from
the forum and may serve as pointers for the present discussion phase.
addition, many lessons have been learnt about how to conduct such a web-based
discussion which, when documented, may also assist others who plan to use the
Web as a medium for regional/global discussion and collaboration.
FIGURE 1. FURTHERING WISE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PRACTICE
IN COASTAL REGIONS AND IN SMALL ISLANDS
LIST 1: PILOT PROJECTS
strategies for integrated coastal management, Maputaland (South Africa
and education for sustainable coastal development (Sub-Saharan Africa
and Indian Ocean Islands
archaeology and sustainable coastal development (Alexandria, Egypt
flood control, Lagos, Nigeria
and education for sustainable coastal development
(Sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean Islands
interdisciplinary coastal research programme at the mouth of the Amazon
programme at the mouth of the Amazon
The Rio de la Plata estuary and sustainable development (Uruguay and Argentina)
coastal management (Gujarat,
Reducing the impact of a coastal megacity on island ecosystems (Jakarta and the Seribu Islands, Indonesia)
Coastal resources management and ecotourism: an intersectoral approach to localising sustainable development (Ulugan Bay, Palawan, Philippines)
A place for indigenous people in protected areas (Surin Islands, Andaman Sea, Thailand)
CARIBBEAN (SMALL) ISLANDS
CARIBBEAN (SMALL) ISLANDS
beach resources and planning for coastline change (Caribbean islands
for people and human settlements, southern coasts of Habana Province (Cuba
network for sustainable coastal
coping processes project
INDIAN OCEAN (SMALL) ISLANDS
and education for sustainable coastal development (Sub-Saharan Africa
and Indian Ocean Islands
development in the Motu Koita urban villages (Port Moresby, Papua New
Freshwater security in small islands (South Pacific)
Education for sustainable village living (Sanapau and Sataoa villages, Upolu Island, Samoa)
LIST 2: UNESCO CHAIRS IN SUSTAINABLE COASTAL DEVELOPMENT
Cheikh Anta Diop (Dakar, Senegal)
of the Philippines (Quezon City, Philippines )
CHAIR PROJECTS INITIATED
of Alexandria (Alexandria, Egypt )
of Bhavnagar (Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India)
Eduardo Mondlane (Maputo, Mozambique [IOC])
de l’océan Indien (la Réunion )
of Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea )
Universidad de la República (Montevideo, Uruguay)
University of Latvia (Riga, Latvia)
LIST 3: CHARACTERISTICS FOR WISE PRACTICES
LIST 4: TOPICS AND APPROACHES COVERED BY THE EXAMPLE