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

2. Synthesis of the Workshop Results

This section presents a synthesis of the major outcomes of the workshop. It is based on the presentations and discussions that are presented in Section 3 and their corresponding annexes. CSI’s work being a continuous and integrated process, it should be noted that the actual workshop is only a first step; the follow-up work is likely to continue for several years. The major results from this workshop relate in particular to:

Procedures for Project Assessment/Evaluation

Project assessment, as an essential project activity, was discussed on several occasions during the workshop. The goal of such assessments is to advance project activities.

During an earlier workshop in Paris in 1998 entitled ‘Towards Wise Coastal Development Practice’/‘Pratiques Éclairées pour un Developpement Humain Durable dans les Régions Côtières’ (UNESCO-CSI 2000), wise practices were defined as ‘actions, tools, principles or decisions that contribute significantly to the achievement of environmentally sound, socially equitable, culturally appropriate and economically sound development in coastal areas’. In order to attempt a clarification of this very general definition, a list of characteristics was proposed to further define wise practices; these were subsequently modified during electronic discussions and the WiCoP forum. These characteristics provide a framework for evaluation, and are as follows:

Definitions for these 16 wise practice characteristics, as well as additions, suggested improvements and modifications proposed by the work-shop participants, are included in Annex 4. The characteristics include goal-oriented criteria, such as long-term benefit; means-oriented criteria, such as documentation; and value-based criteria, such as gender and sensitivity issues. However, not all the characteristics fall easily into a particular category, and further refinement may be necessary.

During the last day of the workshop, these characteristics were used as the basis for a trial evaluation of two pilot projects: ‘Managing beach resources and planning for coastline change, Caribbean islands’ and ‘Education for sustainable village living, Saanapu and Sataoa villages, Upolu Island, Samoa’. The results were discussed in detail. Following this, other small-island pilot projects and chairs we re evaluated using the same characteristics, and while there was insufficient time to fully discuss these further evaluations, they have been retained as starting points for future, more detailed project assessments.

The workshop participants endorsed the concept of regular project assessment/evaluation and recommended that the wise practice characteristics, with some modifications, constitute the framework for assessment. Project activities to date could be assessed against the characteristics on a scale of 1–10, with 1 representing minimal compliance and 10 being full compliance, using verifiable indicators wherever possible. Furthermore, it was recommended that project assessments/evaluations should be conducted as a combined activity between project personnel and outside evaluators, and should be conducted on a regular basis, possibly every two years.

However, in order for project assessment to be successful, certain conditions must be in place and specific constraints recognized, as outlined hereafter:

  1. There needs to be full co-operation between the pilot project personnel and the outside evaluators.

  2. Assessments must always be undertaken in the spirit of advancing a project/chair activity, not in the sense of rating the activity.

  3. Certain cultural and individual traits need to be recognized, e.g. admission of possible negative project experiences may be difficult, if not impossible, in some cultures, and ways around such constraints must be sought.

  4. Full project documentation must be made available, in advance, to the people involved in the assessment.

  5. The assessments themselves must be fully documented.

Such project assessments may also provide an opportunity for inter-project exchange, as will be discussed below.

Interlinking Project Activities

As the project and university chair activities were presented and discussed during the workshop, the commonalities between specific local activities in different parts of the world became apparent to the participants. For instance, during a discussion following a presentation on a ‘Water supply infra-structure project in Samoa’ on the open day, the issue of beach sand mining was debated with examples of management approaches and case studies from islands all over the world. The opportunity to interlink the pilot project and university chair/twinning activities, so that combined they provide an overall and more comprehensive picture of wise practices in small islands, was recognized by the participants.

Haitian and Jamaican fishers 
examining a fish trap during an 
exchange visit in Jamaica, 1998  
Beach monitoring in progress in 
Haiti 1999, collaboration between 
two different pilot projects  

In 1998 fishers from the Portland Bight, Jamaica project visited their counterparts in Haiti, and this visit was followed by the Haitian fishers visiting Portland Bight. This successful exchange benefited fishers in each country by exposing them to different fishing techniques, and providing opportunities for them to learn about their respective environmental problems. During the workshop, the potential for other such exchanges, e.g. between fishers from San Andrés (Colombia) and Portland Bight (Jamaica), was discussed.

Another example of inter-project exchange is at present in progress between the Haitian pilot project and the ‘Managing beach resources and planning for coastline change, Caribbean islands’ (COSALC) project. Techniques for beach monitoring, developed and successfully implemented in the latter project, are in the process of being transferred to the project in Haiti. Future collaboration between the COSALC project and the Portland Bight project was also discussed.

During the workshop, an evening session was conducted to outline the techniques used for beach monitoring in the COSALC project and to demonstrate the analysis protocols and outputs. Manuals and copies of the software were provided to the participants.

Obviously linkages should not be confined to CSI projects/chair activities. The workshop of representatives from the ‘Samoan coastal fisheries extension project’, funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), was of benefit to all participants. Several contributions about the activities of this project have also been posted on the WiCoP forum and have prompted considerable debate. (See Annex 6.18.)

The open day session, where representatives of other agencies had the opportunity to present their activities in the small-island environment and development field, was very successful and presented an opportunity for useful interaction and information-sharing. Similar inter-agency meetings, held in the individual islands in the different regions, would provide further opportunities for co-operation.

An issue of particular interest to most small islands, tourism, has also been intensely debated on the WiCoP forum. The pilot project in Ulugan Bay, the Philippines, focuses particularly on sustainable tourism, and it provides many potential wise practices for ecotourism, which are of particular interest to other projects working or planning to work in this are a, e.g. the projects in Samoa and Portland Bight, Jamaica.

The proposed UNITWIN network, which will include six universities in Asia and the Pacific, will facilitate collaborative research and training and will support the pilot projects in the area. This network is in the process of being established. Many small islands do not have a university campus; however, in the case of the University of the South Pacific and the University of the West Indies, extension centres exist in many of the Pacific and Caribbean islands. The potential exists in the future to involve these universities and their small-island networks.

The workshop participants endorsed the concept of initiating and strengthening inter-project/activity exchanges as a means to inter-link and advance the various activities. CSI confirmed that they were willing to consider funding such exchanges subject, of course, to budget limitations. It was further recommended that in any such exchange, the activities must benefit both projects. These inter-project exchanges could be combined with project assessments.

CSI Contribution to the UNESCO Medium-Term Strategy (2002–2007)

The modalities and goals of the CSI platform were extensively discussed and debated during the workshop and especially during the final session (see Section 3). The major recommendations issuing from the debate covered the three modalities of pilot projects, university chairs/twinning networks and the WiCoP forum, and included the possible need for a fourth modality ‘wise practice implementation’. The recommendations are presented below:

  1. Pilot projects should be renamed ‘field projects’. The term ‘pilot project’ indicates that the activity is a precursor of a larger activity when, in fact, several CSI projects are fully-fledged projects in their own right. Other terms such as ‘experimentation projects’ were also discussed.

  2. Wise practice implementation is an important part of the process and must be recognized as such. At present the point where projects move from pilot to implementation is blurred. While wise practice implementation can be included under the project modality, it may be better to include a distinct fourth modality.

  3. There may be a need to terminate or bring to a close certain pilot projects because of non-productivity.

  4. Any new pilot projects should be carefully designed, with clearly defined goals, objectives and time frames, and should cover new content areas and/or fill geographical gaps in the existing network of projects. Personnel and time constraints within CSI in Paris and in the field offices concerned also need to be considered.

  5. Alternative and complementary mechanisms to the university chairs should be explored in order to provide innovative training and support to the pilot projects. While the presentations and discussions relating to the chair at the University of the Philippines and the proposed chair at the University of Papua New Guinea clearly demonstrated the usefulness of these initiatives, they are very time-consuming to establish. The UNITWIN network, with modifications, may be an alternative mechanism, and another suggestion was to establish UNESCO-CSI focal points in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean regions.

  6. The WiCoP forum should be refocused to further advance the on-the-ground activities of the pilot projects and university chairs/twinning networks. This will require the full co-operation of all persons involved in these activities to actively contribute new ideas and initiatives to the forum.

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