Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Coastal region and small island papers 2

I. Preface

On the eve of the 21st century, some 60% of the world’s population lives within 60km of the sea, and this figure is likely to rise to 75% by the year 2025. Of the world’s 23 megacities, 16 are in the coastal belt. Coasts have always served as crossroads for peoples of many origins, and as a result these areas harbour intricate social and cultural mosaics. Coastal ecosystems are among the most diverse, complex and productive on Earth. As a result of an ever increasing demand on finite resources, many coastal areas have become flashpoints for conflict.

Addressing the variety of problems facing coastal regions and small islands requires transdisciplinary research and the careful formulation of policies for integrated action towards sustainable development. The UNESCO endeavour, ‘Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and in Small Islands’ (CSI), was launched in 1996 in response to these needs. It serves as a platform for cross-sectoral action in order to assist Member States towards environmentally sound, socially equitable and culturally appropriate development of their coastal areas. The Coastal region and small island papers series disseminates information to managers and others in their search for solutions to coastal region and small island problems.

The present volume examines the status and prospects of Haiti’s coastal regions and their resources. Primarily, the document contains the report and proceedings of a seminar (with working sessions) on this subject, held 10-14 December 1996 in Petionville, Haiti, as a CSI activity. Preceding the report itself is a summary of the ensemble of relevant cooperative activities carried out in 1996 by UNESCO and Haitian counterparts. During that year, UNESCO representatives worked with government officials, as well as with university and other local representatives, in assessing critical coastal matters in this island State.

Annex 1 contains an overall review paper by Chris Ninnes on integrated coastal management, giving recommendations on pertinent coastal issues. In Annex 2, a short article by Josť Ottenwalder reviews the coastal problems faced, in ensemble, by Haiti and the Dominican Republic – two countries sharing the same island. Brief details a re included in Annex 3 on activities related to another domain, that of cultural heritage, in which UNESCO’s partnership with Haitian and other counterparts, notably the specialists involved in the Project Route 2004, has developed. Finally, recognition is due to the steadfast drafting, correcting and coordinating efforts of Jean Wiener, Chris Ninnes, Marc Steyaert and others who helped make this report possible.

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