Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
  
SECTION III GETTING THE MESSAGE OUT: THE ROLE OF COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATION CSI info 10

ONWARDS FROM THE PACSICOM CONFERENCE, MAPUTO (JULY 1998)

GETTING THE MESSAGE ACROSS, A CASE STUDY O F THE MASS MEDIA IN KENYA
W. Kiai, School of Journalism, Nairobi, Kenya 

INTRODUCTION 

In this presentation, the focus is on the need for change in human behaviour and attitude as this relates to the environment and specifically sustainable coastal development. Human attitude and consequently behaviour is complex because it has been learned over long periods of time, sometimes centuries. In addition, human beings are affected by many factors at any given time; it is difficult to prescribe any formula for behaviour change. The context of the situation is critical.

It is gratifying that there is recognition of the vital role of mass media although the precise influence is difficult to qualify. 

WHAT FACTORS ARE IMPORTANT FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION? 

It would be beneficial to borrow from the lessons learned in the health and population sectors. The term “behaviour change communication” has been developed and it has grown to be a concept. At this juncture, we should be careful to distinguish between disseminating, informing and communication. The latter concept is two-way, cyclical, dynamic with an emphasis on feedback and participation. The former terms represent a sender transmitting a message.

The basic principle of behaviour change features the following: a thorough under-standing of the audience, utilization of multimedia channels, development of effective and meaningful messages, and an integral monitoring and evaluation system. 

A FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION 

In our particular case we chose the mass media because of its crucial role at the policy and decision-making level. The mass media can set and sustain a topic or theme in the public forum as long as possible, thereby encouraging discussion on the topic and, if well done, generating public pressure.

However, one should be conscious of the constraints in environmental journalism which include: lack of an overall communication agenda in Kenya and other African countries; the absence of consensus on who should be an environmental journalist (those with a formal training in environment or general journalists); the lack of specialization in environmental journalism; the suspicion of the media by environmental specialists; the media process which has serious time constraints and the lack of standardization in training opportunities on environmental journalism.

The African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) – Kenya Chapter opted for a different approach in the training of environmental journalism. Instead of the common manner of presenting papers on environment, practical training with a focus on exposing journalists to the basic concepts of environment was undertaken. This included practical sessions focusing on the environmental content. It is expected that this approach will assist journalists in explaining environmental phenomena; provide vital linkages between all of the stakeholders by encouraging and motivating public participation; and promoting the idea of a powerful environmental lobby group.

Additional strategies include strengthening networking between environmental experts and journalists; the production of training material for the media; and the integration of environment into communication/media training curricula. One such publication is a resource book on environmental concepts for the media, which was funded by the British Council and will be published by the end of December.

This is relevant also to media organizations involved in the informal training of environmental journalists. An outline should be developed and agreed upon by representatives of media training institutions and media organizations to synchronize training, to avoid duplication and contradiction and to have a systemized approach to training. 

SUMMARY OF DISCUSSION

The issue was raised of the paper ownership and possible censorship on environmental issues either by owners or governments. However, when causes of failure become so obvious it is difficult for editors to elude dealing with an issue despite government pressure to do so. A key issue is therefore to help local communities report on their own cases. However, at this level, written impact has little impact compared to radio (often in the hands of governments). A way round these constraints is the use of vernacular media (inter-personal exchange can help news travel fast), or to use peripheral information to highlight a more specific issue. Finally, readers and interest groups have more power than they are aware.  

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FIELD PROJECT UNIVERSITY INTERACTION: COUPLING UNESCO CHAIRS WITH PILOT PROJECTS

PILOT PROJECTS WITH CHAIRS AS CAPACITY-BUILDING TOOLS: YEUMBEUL/YOFF PILOT PROJECTS AND THE UNESCO CHAIR IN DAKAR, SENEGAL
S. Diop and M. Sall, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Sénégal 

THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE DAKAR CHAIR

The Dakar Chair has been developed from a transdisciplinary point of view with lectures and seminars relating not only to natural sciences but also to social and human sciences, law, economics and anthropology. Equal in importance are modules devoted to practical work (satellite imagery, the development of digital models) as well as field-work.

THE CHAIRS ACTIVITIES

With the collaboration of numerous partners, lectures, seminars and conferences have been held with different themes. Integrated management and sustainable development of coastal zones in tropical island states and societies has been discussed. As far as the management and conservation of marine and coastal resources are concerned, natural sciences and social sciences have been combined as much from a technical and scientific point of view as from a political, contractual and legislative viewpoint.

Coastal development is also one of our priorities, in particular the management of development linked to great dams, the study of the quality of untreated coastal ground water in urban environments, and problems linked to coastal erosion.

In the social-economic domain our work covers adjustment policies and the study of poverty in coastal regions as well as the socio-economic impacts of tourist development in Senegalese coastal regions.

In the framework of the study of coastal societies, the concepts, rules and cultural organizations of societies are the object of study as well as the problems of coastal towns and their sustainable development in West Africa.

Organizations, bodies and institutes involved:

Practical laboratory work is organized by all of the Chair’s students, including techniques related to the use of satellite imagery and cartography. Follow-up discussion between tutors and students further develops issues and problems, which then become the focus of field days. The most productive field days become the subject of a publication.

INTER-ACTION BETWEEN PILOT PROJECTS THAT ARE ATTEMPTING TO DEVELOP WISE PRACTICES AND THE UNESCO CHAIR IN DAKAR

Considering the results that have been obtained for the first year, this experience appears to be very conclusive. Indeed, out of the 15 students enrolled at Chair level who have all worked in strict collaboration with the pilot projects developed on the Senegalese coast, 12 have managed to back up their DEA thesis in a thorough manner. This constitutes a good success rate, and is considered quite high compared to the average level attained by most students at the Cheikh Anta Diop, University of Dakar.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

In terms of capacity building, experience seems to be the most valuable tool. The best students are able to continue their research in the framework of a doctoral thesis (doctorat de 3ème cycle). Recommendations are:

HOW SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE CAN BE LINKED DIRECTLY TO MANAGEMENT: THE ULUGAN BAY PILOT PROJECT AND THE UNESCO CHAIR IN MANILA, PHILIPPINES
M. Fortes, University of the Philippines, Quezon City, Philippines

The most crucial features of Southeast Asia’s global environmental concern are its rapid rates of population growth and industrial development. This is reflected in the similarity in the patterns of problems and issues faced by coastal and marine managers of both developed and developing countries in the region, namely environmental degradation, marine pollution, fishery depletion, and loss of marine habitat. There is a need for integrated coastal management (ICM) in order to manage the apparently conflicting activities and uses of the region’s coastal zone and its marine environment. Science has a defined role in this respect. But the greatest problem is how to optimize the benefits of science and link these directly to management. In Southeast Asia, no appropriate model or “language” yet exists linking natural and human sciences and further linking these to environment and development.

In ICM, a primary concern is the management of ecological systems in the face of uncertainty. To deal with this uncertainty in ecological prediction, we must first identify its sources and consequences, this information is often the most useful that an ecologist can give an environmental manager. Indeed, ecology is a key to the sustainable use of the environment and its resources, since it involves the nature of the linkages inherent in, or resulting from, the use of these resources by humans, thereby defining limits (carrying capacity).

But is ecology being used in ICM? Ecological theory as described in standard textbooks on ecology is seldom applied directly to ICM in Southeast Asia. There are indications of poor quality, unreliable ecological information in the region’s ICM approaches. We know less than we need. This is the reason why we lack broadly applicable marine ecological theory that rationalizes the structure and functions of systems, the results of which are fundamental to informed decision-making. This lack of knowledge prevents coastal managers from using a simple set of standards to guide all their decisions. How can decision-makers rule when there is insufficient knowledge is a central question in coastal zone management.

But ecology alone is not sufficient to effectively address coastal zone management issues. No matter how much biologists know about the population dynamics of the dugong (sea cow) or the ecosystem dynamics of seagrass beds, it will not be possible to protect or use them sustainably unless we understand the human causes and consequences of their increasing rarity. In addition, scientific knowledge must help people link the importance of nature and a healthy natural environment to human welfare and fully reflect this in economic planning and decision-making.

But where are the links between science and management? In this paper, two new UNESCO projects in the Philippines are used to demonstrate an attempt to integrate science into management within a broader framework of interdisciplinarity. These projects are the CSI Ulugan Bay Project entitled “Coastal Resources Management and Sustainable Tourism” and the “UNESCO Chair Project in Integrated Coastal Management (UNESCO Coastal Chair)”. In these initiatives, the effort to link science and management is seen in the nature and commitment of the consultants who are themselves the chairholders and who form an interdisciplinary team comprising a marine ecologist, a sociologist, an anthropologist, a resource economist, and a legal expert. They teach and translate into advocacy and action the products of their research in the bay in order to help people manage the coastal resources and their uses. This “wise practice” is envisioned to enhance the Environmental Science Programme in the university – the primary thrust of the UNESCO Coastal Chair. The basics of ecological thinking are thus infused into the human, economic and legal dimensions of environmental change as these relate to future development efforts in Ulugan Bay. This infusion is foreseeable at all stages of the ICM process:

The coastal and marine environments of Southeast Asia are at risk because the people who affect it do not understand their values and vulnerabilities. Ecologists have crucial roles to play in the ICM effort in the region. Ecologists and social scientists have the pivotal role of conducting and interpreting studies on which the public and decision-makers depend. They need to undertake research and monitoring to gain deeper and more comprehensive understanding of patterns and processes affecting coastal and marine environments. They need to seriously co-operate in finding effective ways of getting research results to the people who badly need them. Without the knowledge, decision-makers depend on intuition, or on chance.

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