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

3 Workshop Presentations and Discussions

Opening ceremony 

Reverend Lotu Uele, in his opening address, compared the relationship between small-island nations, currently experiencing the effects of changing global climate patterns, and larger countries considered responsible for the exacerbation of these climatic shifts – with schoolyard bullying. Land is very precious to small-island societies and is often an emotional issue. In order to continue the fight to safeguard the islands, help is required to train local people to preserve coastal areas, to ensure that the small-island voice is heard and also to draw international attention to the conservation of small-islands’ fragile environment. (The full address is included in Annex 5).

Ms Edna Tait, Director of the UNESCO Apia Office, informed the participants that the Apia Office, through its Pacific-wide mandate, serves more than a third of the area of the globe, including the 16 independent states of the Pacific region. All sectors of UNESCO are represented in Apia.

Mr Dirk Troost, Chief CSI, pointed out that this meeting was held at the midway point between the Barbados + 5 meeting (1999) and the start of UNESCO’s next Medium-Term Strategy (2002–2007) (see paragrapgh 100). Thus this meeting presented an opportunity to help shape the world’s island agenda as well as to plan for the years ahead. Samoa was proposed as a venue because of the existence of an ongoing pilot project, the excellent support provided by the Director and staff of the UNESCO Apia Office, and in recognition of the work of the Samoan Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr Tuiloma Neroni Slade, in profiling small island developing states (SIDS) and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in the United Nations.

Mr Tupae Esera, Secretary-General of the Samoa National Commission for UNESCO, assured those present that the Pacific was pleased to take part in and host global activities such as this meeting, especially in the light of the urgent concerns relating to the environment of small islands, in particular low-lying islands. He stressed the need to encourage governments of the region to listen to these concerns and commit to positive actions. He stressed that the CSI programme has been drawing considerable attention to Samoa through its pilot project, which involves students, the Curriculum Development Unit of the Department of Education, and the National University of Samoa.

Presentations

Wise coastal practices for sustainable human development in small island states: needs and approaches – Dirk Troost

Major highlights

The programme of action developed in 1994 at the United Nations Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, hosted by Barbados, was an important milestone, followed by the United Nations Special Session of its General Assembly in New York (Barbados + 5) in 1999 to assess progress. Six priority problem areas were prioritized during the latter meeting: climate change and rising sea levels, natural and environmental disasters and climate variability, freshwater resources, coastal and marine resources, energy, and tourism.

The evolution of CSI involved linking all five UNESCO programme sectors (Culture, Natural and Basic Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Communication, Education) in a programme of intersectoral action to achieve wise practices.

CSI activities are continually evolving, as pilot projects expand and new chairs and university networks are established. During a CSI planning workshop in 1996, participants emphasized the need to develop ways to reduce conflicts and tension between top-down and bottom-up approaches, local and global levels, sectoral and intersectoral action. The 1998 workshop of pilot project leaders (UNESCO-CSI, 2000) resulted in the initiation of the internet-based ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development’ (user name = csi, password = wise) forum.

The CSI mission statement proposed for the 2002–2007 term is ‘Towards sustainable living in small islands and coastal regions’. Through integrated, interdisciplinary and intersectoral approaches, it is proposed to (i) elaborate ethical codes of practices, tailored for specific domains and/or stakeholder groups, which promote equitable resource sharing, and are based on wise practices for sustainable human development; and (ii) support SIDS and other island groupings in determining their own agendas for human security and sustainable development.

Discussion

Developing and advancing wise coastal practices: project assessment and inter-project exchange – Gillian Cambers

Major highlights

The three main CSI modalities of pilot projects, university chairs/twinning networks and the WiCoP forum were discussed, and while an entry point can be made through any of the three modalities, tangible action on the ground will start and finish with the pilot projects, hence their critical importance. There are now more than 20 pilot projects, and some date back to the 1980s.

Up until this year (2000) the pilot projects have been working in relative isolation. A pilot project leaders’ meeting was held in 1998, a smaller regional meeting was held in Bangkok in July 2000, and this present meeting is the third such meeting. Such meetings are invaluable, yet they are costly.

Pilot project and university chair summaries, which are being posted on the CSI website, are the first step in a process designed to bring the projects together. Thus, the projects and chairs provide a much wider, more comprehensive picture.

One of the ideas advanced at the Bangkok meeting was to conduct regular inter-project assessments and evaluations, not to rate a particular project but to advance the project activities. Assessments can be conducted by leaders of other pilot projects; utilizing the list of wise practice characteristics and other criteria.

CSI is willing to support exchanges between the pilot projects, perhaps combined with an individual’s other travel activities, and such exchanges should be viewed as a learning process for both of the projects involved – to advance the home pilot project as well as the one being visited. Such exchanges could also be combined with assessment activities.

Discussion

Sustainable livelihoods for artisanal fishers through stakeholder co-management in the Portland Bight Protected Area, Jamaica – Peter Espeut

Major highlights

It is the Jamaican Government’s policy to ultimately protect 25% of the country’s land area, and while the government retains the ultimate authority, management is undertaken by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Portland Bight with its rich terrestrial and marine bio-diversity is one such protected area where co-management is being implemented. There are six stakeholder councils, respectively addressing fisheries, watersheds, tourism, industry (pollution), enforcement and civil society. A management plan has been prepared and one of the goals is to develop community nature and heritage tourism. A Block B GEF grant has recently been negotiated, with co-financing from the Inter-American Development Bank. (See pilot project summary and list of related WiCoP forum articles, Annex 6.1.)

Discussion

Mangrove monitoring at a 
CARICOMP site at Punta de 
Mangle, Isla de Margarita, 
Venezuela

Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity program (CARICOMP): sustaining coastal biodiversity benefits and ecosystem services – June-Marie Mow

Major highlights

The project started in 1989 when it was decided to develop standardized methods to monitor mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs in the Caribbean region. Data collection started in 1992, and is undertaken on a voluntary basis by a number of institutions around the Caribbean, including laboratories, marine parks and NGOs. Lessons learnt include the need to start monitoring at a very basic level and the necessity to develop ways , within such a multilingual group, to make all members feel like equal partners. (See pilot project summary, Annex 6.2.)

Discussion

CORALINA, San Andrés, Colombia – June Marie Mow

Major highlights

The Corporation for the Sustainable Development of the Archipelago of San Andrés, Old Providence and Santa Catalina (CORALINA ) is a government institution created in 1993 after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (1992), and is one of Colombia’s 33 autonomous corporations set up to manage natural environmental systems. The institution started work in the San Andrés Archipelago in 1995 and conducts baseline surveys for resource management, monitoring, environmental impact assessments (EIA), as well as issuing environmental licenses. The archipelago is home to an on-going GEF project for marine protected areas, and has recently been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. CORALINA also works closely with NGOs.

Haitian fishers in a dugout canoe, 
La Gonâve Island, Haiti

Enhancing coastal and fisheries resource management through stakeholder participation, local knowledge and environmental education, Arcadins coast, Haiti – Jean Wiener

Major highlights 

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere and its government is in a state of flux. The pilot project has concentrated on the development of educational materials and the strengthening of stakeholder groups. However, with the political and economic situation there is general mistrust and the concept of ‘community good’ is suffering. This was highlighted in a recent WiCoP forum (user name = csi, password = wise) contribution ‘When vested interests hijack the goals of stakeholder groups/Haiti’. Links with other pilot projects are being established, e.g. there was a fishers exchange between Haiti and Jamaica in 1998, and through co-operation with the COSALC project, beach monitoring is being established in Haiti. (See pilot project summary and list of related WiCoP forum articles in Annex 6.3.)

Discussion

Groynes built by the community 
to promote beach accretion and 
protect houses at Playa 
Mayabeque, Helena del Sur, 
Cuba, 2001

Planning for people and human settlements, southern coast al area of Havana Province, Cuba – Antonio Diaz Tablada

Major highlights

The pilot project in Cuba focuses on the south coast of Havana Province, which consists mainly of wetlands and where problems facing the coastal settlements include flooding during spring tides, erosion and pollution. A preliminary diagnostic study of the area has provided an integral vision of the zone, and prepared the way for capacity building and the establishment of a database. Future work will focus on sociological factors and stakeholder involvement. (See pilot project summary, Annex 6.4.)

Discussion

Group of planners and developers 
discussing a recently constructed 
seawall at Meads Bay, Anguilla, 
1998

Managing beach resources and planning for coastline change, Caribbean islands Gillian Cambers

Major highlights

This project, which started in the mid 1980s, has concentrated on developing capacity in the small islands of the Caribbean to effectively manage beach resources. Starting initially with beach erosion, the project established monitoring programmes within government agencies, NGOs and sometimes schools, so that islanders could understand the changes taking place on their beaches and begin to develop solutions to those problems. The challenge now facing the project is to develop ways to convince senior decision-makers of the need, indeed the necessity, to implement some hard decisions, such as controlling beach sand mining and beachfront development. (See pilot project summary and list of related WiCoP forum articles in Annex 6.5.)

Discussion

Samoan schoolchildren 
undertaking fieldwork in the 
Saanapu-Sataoa mangroves

Education for sustainable village living, Saanapu and Sataoa villages, Upolu Island, Samoa – Peter Varghese, Asipa Pati, Asofou Lau So’o

Major highlights

This project seeks to strengthen the value of wetlands as viewed by local communities. One project component focuses on education among schoolchildren based on the ‘feel, touch and find-out’ approach; an activities book, a mangrove inventory and teachers workshops are preparatory steps prior to incorporation of the activities into the national school curriculum. Traditional management practices are the second project component and a survey is being conducted to document traditional knowledge relating to the mangrove areas. (See pilot project summary and list of related WiCoP forum articles in Annex 6.6.) 

Discussion

Hanuabada, a village built on stilts
in the sea, and the modern city of
Port Moresby in the background, 
Papua New Guinea, 2000

Sound development in the Motu Koitabu urban villages, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea – Haraka Gaudi

Major highlights

The livelihoods of the Motu Koitabu people living in several urban villages within the National Capital District of Port Moresby are increasingly under threat from large developments. The Motu Koitabu are the traditional landowners of the area and have not been properly compensated for the take-over of their land for development purposes. The situation is such that the younger generation represents a ‘time bomb’ and serious unrest could result at any time. This pilot project focuses on raising the level of public awareness about environmental issues among the village people and youth groups. (See pilot project summary and list of related WiCoP forum articles in Annex 6.7.)

Discussion

Palau perspective on wise coastal practices – Yimnang Golbuu

Major highlights

This archipelago, which has a very diverse underwater environment and several unique species, is now facing serious problems from tourism and industrial development. Control over land and marine resources is under the jurisdiction of the country’s 16 states, not the national government. The major problems relate to a lack of land use planning and inadequate enforcement. The way forward must be to develop local capacity. (See country summary in Annex 6.8.)

Discussion

Fish farming activities in Ulugan 
Bay, Palawan, Philippines, 2000

Coastal resources management and ecotourism: an intersectoral approach to localizing sustainable development, Ulugan Bay, Palawan, Philippines - Gerthie Mayo-Anda

Major highlights

This project has three main phases: preliminary studies; implementation of various activities e.g. fish farming, sustainable tourism, education; and the development of an empirical model. In an area where most people rely on farming and/or fishing for their livelihood, the project considers ecotourism as a complementary livelihood, not a sole livelihood. One of the major lessons learnt was that communities want a much greater part in environmental protection and tourism development; and are willing to take a major role in enforcement activities, as manifested by the citizens’ apprehension of a commercial fishing boat illegally fishing within the municipal waters of Ulugan Bay. (See pilot project summary and list of related WiCoP forum articles in Annex 6.9.) 

Discussion

Integrated coastal management for sustainable development in coastal regions and in small islands, University of the Philippines – Rebecca Rivera-Guieb

Major highlights

The Chair is laying down a foundation for integrated learning, and is trying to integrate community training with student education. There is a strong linkage between the activities of the Chair and the pilot project in Ulugan Bay. The openness and flexibility of the Environmental Sciences programme, in particular the involvement of non-academics in the Chair activities, has been instrumental in its success to date. There are too many studies about the poor, and too few by the poor or done in collaboration with the poor; this is one of the issues the Chair is trying to address. (See university chair summary and list of related WiCoP forum articles in Annex 6.10.)

Discussion

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Continued