Coastal region and small island papers 13
|Anse Georgette, Praslin, Seychelles, 2002.|
6. Concluding remarks
The poem ĎUs islandersíwas written by Marvelle Estrale, an enthusiastic teacher in Seychelles, who is playing a key role in the Small Islands Voice youth forum. Hers is one of many voices from small islands around the world Ė people who are getting involved and exploring the potential of the Small Islands Voice initiative. Started by UNESCO in 2002, as one of the organizationís cross-cutting initiatives, Small Islands Voice has the potential to become whatever islanders want of it. If there is only passing interest, the initiative will blossom and then fade. If, as appears likely from this review of the first yearís activities, islanders enthusiastically take it on board, then it has limitless potential.
Rarotonga is the capital of the Cook Islands
Rarotonganís love their sports
And Seychellois cannot escape the sea
Rarotonganís fly over their islands in microlights
At the end of the inter-regional workshop held in Palau in November 2002, the participants prepared and signed a declaration, the Rock Islands Declaration, which recognizes and emphasizes their roles, and those of UNESCO, in furthering Small Islands Voice. There are many aspects of this declaration that are important, the sustainability component, the recognition of the similarities among small islands, the involvement of all sectors of society, the need to preserve cultures and traditions and to respect each otherís differences.
The problems facing small islands are numerous, as has been clearly demonstrated. But one of the advantages of being small is that these problems are manageable and not totally overwhelming.Thus the solutions are attainable, and it is up to islanders to embrace them in totality. Their strong sense of identity gives islanders a clear advantage.
The Cook Islands Vision Statement can be adapted to summarize a long-term vision for Small Islands Voice:
To assist small islands to enjoy a quality of life consistent with the aspirations of their people, in harmony with and showing respect for their culture and environment.
We, the participants and representatives of the people of our small islands, attending the UNESCO Smalls Islands Voice Inter-regional Workshop, held in the Republic of Palau during the period 18Ė22 November 2002,
Recognizing the need for and value of this forum and further
Recognizing the following:
We do hereby declare:
(Signed original at www.unesco.org/csi/smis/siv/RIdeclaration.pdf)