in coastal regions and in small islands
Coastal region and small island papers 11
‘Although the tourism industry is heavily dependent on coastal resources in many small island states, the primary goal of beach management should be for the benefit of islanders’.
over resources and values lie at the heart of many of the problems facing
coastal managers today. These conflicts are on the rise, as more and more people
move to live in coastal areas, and as populations expand leading to increased
competition for dwindling resources. In small islands, with their limited land
areas, such problems are accentuated, and added to this are restrictions such as
isolation and vulnerability. However, adversity and limitations can lead to
strength, thus small islands have the opportunity to turn these constraints to
advantages and thereby to lead the world in finding solutions to coastal
the workshop, many different types of coastal conflicts were presented and
discussed. Many of these are common to small islands whichever part of the world
they are located in. However, each country is unique and individual, and the way
the coastal conflicts are handled often differ; thus there is much to be learnt
from ‘sister islands’ in the same region and ‘cousin islands’ in other
regions of the world.
traditional tools of legislation and its accompanying enforcement have shown
little success in the field of beach management, a result of undefined agency
responsibility, inadequate and antiquated laws and a lack of political support.
And while it is undoubtedly necessary to strive to improve coastal laws and
their enforcement, it is timely to simultaneously explore other options. Two of
the most promising options discussed in this report are the use of wise
practice agreements and local area management
authorities. Both involve stakeholder participation in the management of the
resources with government playing an important role as a major stakeholder. The
local area management authority is a slightly more formal form of agreement in
that usually it is endorsed as a Cabinet decision and may have a full-time
management secretariat. Wise practice agreements would be slightly less formal,
involving all stakeholders, including government. However, they might not
require a Cabinet decree or a fulltime secretariat.
such management authority described in this report
is that of the Soufriere Marine
Management Area in St Lucia. However, if the history of this organization
is examined, then one of the most striking characteristics is that continual
adaptation and evolution of the guiding principles of the agreement are necessary,
as part of an ongoing process, to effect successful compromises among stakeholders.
concept of wise practice agreements described in this
report has yet to be tested in the field of beach management in the small
islands represented at this workshop. However, the general consensus of
participants was that they had considerable potential. Thus this may be
identified as one of the future directions to be explored.
has been suggested that the inclusion of spiritual and aesthetic resources in a
coastal management programme may be seen as a luxury in many countries which
tend to give priority to the material side of things – tangible yields,
products and consumption (Clark,
1998). However, since so many conflicts result from differences in
the way a resource is valued, omission of the intangible aspects results in an
incomplete picture. Furthermore, as has been shown in this
report, moral and ethical statements and values already exist in the natural
and social sciences, where they enrich the discourse.
of coastal stewardship and wise practice agreements are closely linked to
ethical values. There may be another spectrum of tools here, in that such
agreements may provide a way to incorporate ethical values at a local,
on-the-ground level, while ethical codes of practice may lie at the other end of
the spectrum where moral principles are defined and upheld at a national or
and efficient communication lies at the heart of all the concepts discussed
in this report – conflict resolution, wise practice
agreements and ethical codes of practice. Indeed it
is most likely that ineffective or inefficient communication is among the causal
factors of many, if not most, coastal conflicts. Thus in every aspect and mode
of conflict resolution, communication must play a key role.
are traditionally self-reliant peoples. Utilizing this and other
characteristics, and enhancing them with effective and efficient communication,
it remains up to islanders themselves to chart their future destinies in an era
of continual change. For ultimately:
must have a clear vision of what we want to see in the future and how to reach
that stage without sacrificing our environment and natural resources’.
Golbuu (Golbuu, 2001)