Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Coastal region and small island papers 9

Executive summary

As the world’s small islands grapple with the search for ways to balance economic development and environmental protection, an intersectoral and interdisciplinary platform for ‘Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and in Small Islands’(CSI) has been established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to assist in that process.

Through three main modalities: pilot projects, university chairs/twinning networks and a global internet-based discussion forum on ‘Wise coastal practices for sustainable human development’ (WiCoP forum; user name = csi, password = wise), the CSI platform seeks to develop wise practices, guidelines and principles which will provide for the prevention and resolution of conflicts over resources and values in small islands and coastal regions. In the long term, it is envisaged that ethical codes of practice, tailored for specific wise practices, will be prepared which will provide a policy framework for equitable resource sharing.

Pilot projects have been established around the globe to advance on-the-ground action in the realm of the priority problem areas identified by the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Barbados in 1994, and prioritized at a Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 1999, and specifically to develop, test and apply wise practices. These wise practices are then reviewed, analysed and incorporated into innovative teaching programmes by the university chairs/twinning networks at a local and regional level, and discussed, critiqued and transferred by the WiCoP forum at a global level.

This report describes the results of a workshop held in Samoa in 2000, with participants from the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific regions, designed to focus on ways to advance action on the priority problem areas identified by SIDS; to advance and interlink the small-island pilot project and university chair/twinning net work activities; to discuss project evaluation; to explore the potential for new CSI activities in the Indian and Pacific Oceans; to interact with other non-CSI small-island programmes and projects in the Pacific; and to provide for formal and informal professional interaction and exchange.

The workshop was productive in that all the goals were achieved and substantial progress was made in relation to project/university chair evaluation and interlinking of projects. Participants recommended that the 16 characteristics, which define wise practices and which had been developed within the WiCoP forum, be used as a framework for project evaluation. (These characteristics include factors such as long-term benefit, sustainability, transferability, consensus building, and others). Interlinking projects by carrying out evaluations, by exchanging groups of stakeholders, and by transferring methods and wise practices was also endorsed by the participants and was seen as a way to enhance wise practices for small island living.

Exchanges with non-CSI projects in Samoa and the wider Pacific region were also very beneficial, and it is planned to continue to maximize these benefits through the WiCoP forum.

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