in coastal regions and in small islands
Coastal region and small island papers 11
3. COASTAL STEWARDSHIP
‘In managing our coastal resources, we are being called upon to play the all-important role of stewards of that resource, for other present day users. However, these resources have also been entrusted in our care for future generations. Because of the way that we have been doing things in the past, conflicts will arise from time to time among various stakeholders for such limited and shrinking resources, and we will have to find creative ways to resolve such conflicts, and even to learn from our ‘sister’ and ‘cousin’ islands who may have had to deal with similar experiences.’
OF COASTAL STEWARDSHIP
definitions of coastal stewardship were proposed in the workshop presentations.
Some of the main concepts contained in these definitions are included below:
Coastal stewardship may be described as an attitude of voluntary compliance
demonstrated by a strong commitment and willing participation in initiatives or
efforts to ensure the sound and sustainable use of coastal resources.
The complex, multifaceted issue of promoting stewardship in small islands should
be seen as a challenge to inform, educate, empower and motivate island people
towards becoming managers and custodians of their environment and especially
their coastal environment.
Coastal stewardship should focus on conservation and sustainable use of coastal
and marine environments so that future generations will be able to benefit from
the coastal and marine environments as do people today.
Coastal stewardship is the effective management of coastal resources by all the
stakeholders involved in their utilization.
Stewardship clearly calls for domestic, context-based policies that are
constructed locally, with practices evolving out of real conditions in an
island, but not exclusive of external factors.
Stewardship implies collective responsibility for coastal (beach) resources.
Every individual should play a role in the implementation of wise coastal
practices, which should not necessarily be dominated by financial goals.
Coastal stewardship policies should not only look at how activities interact to
enable sustainable use of available resources, but provide a framework for
consistently improving coastal environment quality and managing resources within
a long term sustainable development strategy and vision.
general, ideas about coastal stewardship ranged from the moral ...
If as members of the global community, we agree with the principle of
sustainability, then we have a moral duty to become the stewards of our
environment – to use and manage it wisely for the generations still to come.
Protection and preservation of the environment should be a privilege for all
Effective coastal management should be accepted as people’s sacred obligations
to preserve and pass on their inheritance of the world around them to future
generations and as important contributors to the quality of their own lives.
the economic ...
We are all, whether residents or visitors to our islands, custodians of our
coastal environment, and the survival of our small island states ultimately
depends heavily on the health of our beaches.
Coastal stewardship is an important challenge, especially to an expanding
Stewardship may stimulate islanders to participate in decision-making that can
improve and reverse the abuse of coastal resources.
OF COASTAL STEWARDSHIP
stewardship exploits a little understood, but limitless resource, which is acquired
at birth by every human being: this is the human capacity to care. Every community
and society has reserves of ‘caring’ that few recognize. Observations show that
people do care about environmental issues, particularly at the local level;
however, it is a case of finding out which issues they care about. This is one
of the goals of the proposal for ‘Small
Islands Voice’, which is discussed in Chapter
6. For instance, a general
topic such as sea level rise, may not be of particular concern in some of the
more mountainous Caribbean islands, while in the low-lying atolls of the Indian
and Pacific Oceans, it is a very real and pressing concern.
hotel under construction at Frigate
the entrepreneurial spirit will help instil a sense of coastal stewardship. The
current attitude of a majority of the population in Antigua and Barbuda is to
look to the government to provide employment. However, the private sector, with
their capital resources, has a vast potential to influence the adoption of good
coastal stewardship policies. Some businesses have taken specific steps in their
coastal stewardship activities. The Royal Antiguan Beach Resort has formed a
conservation committee, with members from government agencies, non-governmental
and community-based organizations, and has sought to hold clean-ups and to
conduct public awareness campaigns.
St Kitts, private sector agencies assist with the annual
beach clean-up conducted in collaboration with the
Center for Marine Conservation. In addition, they have demonstrated stewardship
in ways, which indicate an understanding of the resource on which they depend.
The Sun ‘N’ Sand Resort in North Frigate Bay was built landward of the primary
sand dunes and its owners have implemented a management system to conserve these
dunes. The replanting of needed beach vegetation at Dieppe Bay Spit by the Golden
Lemon Hotel is yet another example of stewardship by the private sector. In
the Maldives, resort owners have demonstrated stewardship
by building jetties on piles, so as not to disrupt sand movement around the
atolls. Unfortunately, in many small islands such examples are few, indicating
the need for more work, particularly in the fields of education, sensitization
many small islands, government’s involvement in coastal stewardship is indirect.
In Australia, however, a federally funded programme focusing on coastal stewardship,
operates nationally. Coastcare is a network which provides support to coastal
communities to help, repair and protect the coast. 700 projects around the country
focus on activities such as rehabilitation of coastal habitats, protection of
endangered species e.g. sea turtles, preparation of local coastal management
plans, reduction of pollution and litter, development of codes of practice for
specific user groups, and the preparation of educational material for beach
community employment can be gained from improved coastal stewardship, the
economic benefit will be translated to a sense of ownership and involvement.
This is evident in the case of the Old Road community in
Antigua. For the past
few months (April to June 2001), they have been protesting the construction of
additional hotel units, which would have encroached on the mangroves and beach.
This community was well informed because they had participated in an inventory
of wetlands, coastal cleanups and Earth Day walks. Their protest action included
a blockade of the access road to the hotel. They sought help from the EAG, and
subsequently meetings were held with the Prime Minister and a Technical
Advisory Committee was established. As of the time of the workshop, a decision
had been made such that the hotel could renovate their existing property, but no
new rooms were to be added.
community members in beach
As described in Antigua,
involving community members in coastal monitoring programmes heightens their
sense of coastal stewardship. The same may be said for school students and other
groups. For 13 years, volunteers from the
Nevis Historical and Conservation Society have monitored beaches in Nevis,
creating a cadre of persons trained and knowledgeable about their island’s beaches,
as well as a useful database. Dominica proposes to include persons from the
Youth Environmental Programme in their beach monitoring programme. In the Maldives,
fishers have been involved in beach monitoring programmes, with some success.
However, in St Lucia, similar efforts to involve communities
in beach monitoring programmes have had limited success because the communities
did not perceive any clear benefit from such activities.
potential exists to involve the private sector, especially hoteliers, in
monitoring beach changes. These changes have obvious implications for hotel
operations. While some participants felt that the information generated through
monitoring might create panic, others considered that the benefits outweighed
any potential disadvantages, especially since communication and stakeholder
participation are essential for conflict prevention and resolution.
building stone barriers and
planting cacti to prevent soil erosion,
Park Bay, Bequia, St Vincent and the
Bequia, in St Vincent and the Grenadines, school students have been encouraged
to take a personal responsibility for their beaches. They are monitoring beach
changes through the COSALC project and have discussed their findings with the
island’s Tourism Association. They have also trained visiting college students
from the USA in the monitoring techniques, and have expanded the scope of their
monitoring activities to other islands, e.g. the Tobago Cays Marine Park. A
project to contour and replant a hillslope above an eroding beach so as to
reduce siltation on a nearby coral reef has also been undertaken. Adopt-a-beach
programmes, such as at Sandy Point in St Kitts, where a Young Volunteers group
have taken over the cleaning, beautification and management of the beach, are
also effective, and have the added benefit of being used by the students as part
of their school-based assessment programme. Other school students’ activities
documented in the British Virgin Islands, Dominica and the
tree planting, turtle monitoring and beach clean-ups. Coastal stewardship needs
to become a part of students’ education and well being.
at Park Bay, Bequia,
of a beach clean-up at Spring
Bay, Bequia, St Vincent and the
groups, communities, students, NGOs and government agencies carry out beach
clean-ups in many islands, and indeed in continental countries around the world.
Such cleanups increase the level of consciousness about litter on the beach; the
actual cleaning of the beach is a secondary aim. In St
Lucia, beach clean-ups
have been effective in sensitization and in improving the beach litter problem
on the west coast beaches, but not on the east coast beaches, where
ship-generated waste is a major problem. Beach clean-ups can be particularly
effective if they are part of a programme of public awareness, such as the
international beach clean-ups organized by the Center for Marine Conservation in
standards and ecotourism
In Dominica, international
standards are being used to generate a sense of pride and ownership of the island’s
natural resources and ecotourism product; these include the Nature Island Standard
of Excellence and the Sisserou Seal of Eco-Excellence. Since 2002 is
World Ecotourism Year, and the definition of ecotourism includes nature
and people, there is a special need to consider indigenous peoples impacted
by tourism. A new UNESCO
project on ‘Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) in a Globalizing
World’, for which CSI
has the lead role, seeks to empower local and indigenous communities in their
struggle against marginalization and impoverishment. A
CSI field project in Ulugan
Bay in the Philippines is assisting with the development of ecotourism activities,
such that the communities play a major role in their implementation (UNESCO,
levies may be one way of funding stewardship activities. In many of the
Caribbean islands; however, funds from environmental levies and park user fees
go directly to the government’s consolidated fund where they may be used for
environmental or non-environmental purposes.
some countries, environmental fees are used directly for resource management.
At the Great Barrier Reef
Marine Park in Australia, the tourism industry is charged Aus$ 4 per passenger
taken to the reef. This charge makes up the industry’s contribution to the
Cooperative Research Centre for the Great Barrier Reef. The involvement
of the tourism industry in reef research has been instrumental in changing their
attitudes and commitment to the long-term protection of the reef.
there are a great variety of coastal stewardship activities ongoing in the
islands, they are for the most part undocumented and not always well publicized.
The papers accompanying this report provide some attempt to record these
activities. However, there is a need for improved coordination of these
activities within and between islands. Education, continuity, persistence and
coordination are key to furthering coastal stewardship activities on the ground.
One of the many interesting ideas emerging from the discussions on coastal stewardship related to the need to look beyond the concept of sustainability to a wider vision that seeks to improve coastal environmental quality.