Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands

CSI info 10

Wise practices for researchers:
  • Reveal the knowledge (tacit and coded) in existing practices.

  • Clearly define the specific problem/issue and its context/domain.

  • Ask who needs the wise practices (besides international scientific fora).

If the problem is marginalisation/exclusion, general wise practices could be:
  • Innovative integration based on local control of relevant resources/ ‘capitals’.

  • Building (on) communities of local trust.

  • Forming meaningful identities.

These are normative indicators
One example of ‘wise practice’ in Nordic countries could be:

  • Non-local economic integration based on local ownership and local linkages.

  • Municipal self-government of the local welfare state.

  • Plurality of associations and networks.



First phase: before implementation of the pilot project
  • Population participation is an unavoidable principle.

  • Promote participation and dynamism.

  • Listen, observe and strive to understand.

  • Adopt common project philosophy and objectives.

  • Establish a network of partners.

  • Encourage and develop a multi-disciplinary approach.

Second phase: during implementation of the pilot project
  • Simplify administrative procedures.

  • Effective participation of population or representatives.

  • Teaching and training of populations or representatives.

  • Flexibility and possibility to modify according to experiences.

  • Decentralisation and democratisation.

  • Communication and awareness building on both positive and negative results.

  • Sound exploitation of resources without ignoring rights of populations.

  • Think and work in the perspective of sustainability and replicability.

Third phase: after implementation of the pilot project
  • Good local governance: democracy, information, education, exploitation of resources, poverty alleviation.

  • Cyclic assessment of participation (and of other wise practice dimensions).

First a title: wise practices for the management of change and improvement of the quality of life in coastal regions and small islands.
Second a definition of ICM (e.g. that proposed by M. Fortes).
Third a definition of 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 of coastal regions and small islands.
Fourth a critical point by point examination of the characteristics of wise practices.
  1. Identify the problem: microscale (local) pilot experiment.

  2. Identify the person(s) who has/have problems.

  3. Clear statement of management options: use of control variables, e.g. fishing effort, fish mortality.

  4. Identify indicators of system performance: use of state variables, e.g. net revenues, stock biomass.

  5. Monitor and learn about processes governing the system.

  6. Evaluate system performance: multi-criteria approach: bio-socio-economic + quantitative indicators, e.g. risk/uncertainty.

  7. Improve management decisions: precautionary, risk-averse approach.

  8. The extent of generalisation: to broaden applications, must be tested in other contexts/sites, i.e. move to macro-scale experiments.

  • Co-management is transferable. However, its implementation is not transferable due to cultural perceptions, legal framework, political climate, development of basic/applied scientific knowledge.

  • In fisheries, co-management is a synergistic mechanism in which the fishers’ wisdom (traditional and factual knowledge) and basic and applied scientific research are used; the resource managers and the legislators have joined forces to achieve a better management product (e.g. Chile).

  • Indicators of the wise practice: ecological, i.e. stock abundance, individual sizes and weights (short/long term); economic indicators, i.e. variable costs (short term), employment.

  • As the fishery system (i.e. the resource, the environment, the resource users and the decision-making sub-systems) is highly dynamic, a monitoring scheme based on a robust methodological protocol must be performed.

  • Trade-offs among conflicting quantitative indicators might be evaluated through multiple criteria optimisation procedures.

  • Unwise practices: top-down approach and open access to resources.

Comments on list of criteria
  • Long-term benefit and institutional strengthening are relevant criteria.

  • Transferability: especially methodological aspects – to take into account the temporal dimension which implies necessary adaptations;

  • Governance, minority benefits, empowerment of users seem to be important more from the political context than to be considered as effective indicators.

Wise practice management examples
  • Integrated Management Plan conceived and implemented on a collaborative and participatory basis involving local population, scientists, decision-makers and NGOs, including institutional reinforcement and capacity-building.

  • Within the same process, develop a common language as a communication tool, which is comprehensible to all actors: natural and social scientists, local community members, decision-makers, resource managers, etc.



  1. Organising workshops and seminars for the different stakeholders. The contents of the workshops will be prepared keeping in view the concern, interest and level of knowledge of the interest groups.

  2. Involve local people’s representatives in parliament, assembly, municipal corporation and environmental journalists to work for the goal of sustainable development or eco-friendly development.

Awareness package seminar for ship-owners/entrepreneurs on:
  • Sustainable technology for ship breaking

  • Disaster management

  • Standards available for ship breaking

A. Sustainable coastal development indicators
  1. Indicators should be quantitative, involve public participation, easily understandable, locally measurable.

  2. If such indicators are not available, then describe example wise practices and wise practice management options, both qualitative and quantitative.

  3. Ideally combine 1 and 2, particularly not forgetting values and behavioural change.

B. Sustainable coastal development
  1. This should include ecosystem management and socio-economic management, not separately but in direct and dynamic interaction as part of a comprehensive system.


The purpose of employing wise-use practices may be more ecological (to sustain coastal areas in a state of environmental health long-term) where:

  • The full range of coastal ecosystems is present (ecosystem biodiversity)

  • Where each ecosystem is performing all its functions efficiently

  • Where species biodiversity is maintained

  • Where resources are extracted sustainably.

Fundamentally, practices are wise if they achieve the above goals. Therefore, indicators which measure the above situations are indicators of wise-use practices (pre-test/post-test). Controls may or may not be available. Monitoring parameters of environmental health longitudinally should provide a sensitive indication of progress.

Wise-use practice applicable at low population and extraction levels may not be wise in heavily populated areas or when extraction levels are high.

The purpose of employing wise-use practices may be more developmental (to sustain human society in a state of economic and social health long-term) where:

  • Sustainable prosperity is required.

  • Social (including gender) equity is required.

  • The population possesses enough information about its economy, culture and environment. Sustainable recreation is required.

  • It is required that members of society have some direct control over their affairs (empowerment).

The question is whether, in a world of increasing population and prosperity, ecological sustainability can be attained without a development approach.

These development concepts are value-laden. Care must be taken that western democratic ideals are not imposed on the rest of the world. On the other hand, culture is not an independent variable, and societies must be encouraged to evaluate their social, economic and political culture, and to determine their developmental goals.

Those who would work for ecological sustainability must conduct social scientific assessments:

  • Economic analysis

  • Social analysis

  • Power analysis

  • Technology analysis

A set of indicators will be required to measure the achievement of development goals, and these will also need to be monitored longitudinally.

  1. Determine scope of action
    e.g. UNESCO project ‘Urban development and water resources: small coastal cities’.

  2. Define wise practice themes to be implemented
    e.g. The city of Essaouira, as an example of a pilot project, benefits from a technical partnership in several areas (restoration of historical monuments, awareness building of the local population, solid and liquid waste management).

Practices that constrain sustainable development and impact on the environment are unwise practices.
  1. Adapt wise practices to local context as they are transferred
    e.g. The cities of Madia and Saida will benefit from previous experience and knowledge.

To decide whether a practice is wise or unwise will meet easy consensus. However, the problem lies with its implementation at the local level (tradition, culture, history).

This implementation is a long multistage process, each stage representing an unwise practice. Education is a key element in awareness building of local population on wise practices and helps ensure the sustainability of the practice.


On wise practices:
If defining wise practices, from whose point of view is this being considered. For practical purposes, the definition is acceptable.

On indicators: simplistic
S Simple
M Measurable
A Actual
R Replicable
T (Timeless) Transferable
E Equitable
R Reliable
  1. Empowerment – confidence; reversal in learning

  2. ICM = adaptive, not deterministic.

Definition: sustainable use of mangroves, gum trees, reef products and fish for daily living and improvement of quality of life.
Unwise practices:
  • Depletion of mangroves

  • Decimation of reef life forms

  • Sewerage and waste deposits

  • Major infrastructure, excavation work.

Cause of unwise practices:
  • Urbanisation and limited space problems

  • Paternalistic – arrogant attitude of government at local and national levels

  • Developers/government conspiracy.

Strategy - criteria for wise practices:
  • Public awareness through village-based seminars

  • Use of (mass) media

  • CSI as an instrument for rallying support

  • local lobby groups; NGOs, land owners.

Wise Unwise

Renewable resources/bio-degradable waste
Alternate foraging grounds

Sufficient economic/no rejects
Settled/permanent structure; transient visitors
Non-renewable resources/non-degradable waste
Tourists concentrate in small area (park facilities)
Accumulation/stockpiling/lots of rejects
  • Community self-reliance

  • Ethnic identity/pride

  • Local participation in decision-making.

Core indicators,
Regional indicators,
Specific community-based indicators.

  1. Definition: appears to be all-encompassing. Idea of a process is good because it implies dynamism, changes and continuity.

  2. Caution on awareness – Proposal: effective communication as primary process in institutional strengthening.

  3. Incorporate minority as an emphasis or special reference of majority benefit (otherwise: no majority).

  4. Empowerment: does capacity-building include aspects of empowerment?

  5. Need more of a framework with guidelines.


Definition: Action on local or regional scale that satisfies the concept of sustainable development and contributes to all or any of the components of human development indicators or index.
In addition, the following may be considered:

  • Activity within the framework of local traditions and cultural background

  • Participation of all players is ensured

  • Capacity building through training, on-the-job training, education or any other form is included

  • Approaches followed could be considered a model transferable to similar areas within the same country or outside

  • Consider a relative long-term applicability

  • Flexible for adjustments and modifications.

Information repository linked by
A demand driven clearing house mechanism consisting of inter regional and local interpretive efforts to
Smart protocols that support policy reform and social learning efforts of our network.

Making sense of our collaborative effort – action/organisational framework:
Cross-regional exchanges (taking into account history, and region specific processes) linked via
A bridging mechanism to
Local initiatives/social action in CSI resource management, and
Past/present trends in resource use/capital investment, and
Public policy framework (linked to CSI resource use and sustenance of the urban majority).

Making sense of our collaborative effort – urgent and strategic issues.
Urgent issues include cross-regional exchange, intra-regional exchange, cross-site exchange and on-site action.
Development of responsive fiscal and economic instruments and the sound spatial management of change lead to:
The next regime of capacity development and a regulatory/public policy framework, which in turn lead to:
Resource sharing and enlargement of the political and cultural space for local social management protocols, practices and entities.

  • Has the activity been fully documented and does it provide comprehensive materials for the regions of interest?

  • Wise practice: integration of local community groups as much as possible into the activity to develop a sense of ownership.

  • Unwise practice: bringing in individuals or groups from other areas causing distrust and no sense of ownership (local) of the activity.

  • Any activity that helps conserve/protect any natural process or phenomenon at a sustainable level.

start Introduction Activities Publications search
Wise practices Regions Themes