Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
colbartn.gif (4535 octets)

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.

Us Islanders
by Marvelle Estrale, Seychelles

Rarotonga is the capital of the Cook Islands
Saint Luciaís of the Castries
And Victoria the Seychelles.
Rarotonganís speak Maori and English
Saint Lucians English and Kweyol
And Seychelles Creole, English and French.
So we have something in common.

Rarotonganís love their sports
Soccer and rugby are the most popular
The beaches, the lagoon, the ocean
And the mountains all beckon
Guided inland tramping and tours
Snorkelling and fishing, and sailing too.
Saint Lucians add more to sports
Cricket and Carifta Games
Boys donít play netball
But they do basketball.

And Seychellois cannot escape the sea
Canoeing, surfing and swimming especially.
Indeed, all like Rarotonganís and Saint Lucians
Except weíve never heard of a vaka.
So we have more than something in common.

Rarotonganís fly over their islands in microlights
Seychellois do it by helicopter
While Saint Lucians dance to the calypso.
Seychellois love the calypso too.
We didnít know what it was all about
But now we do.
Saint Lucians enjoy a Creole Day
And Seychellois week.
Lots of dancing in the streets
Creole food and music too.
If we could all get together
Itíd be just FUN, FUN, and FUN!
Indeed we do have
A lot more than something in common.

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:

  • Similarity of needs and wishes of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other small islands;

  • The common goals, desires and aspirations of our individual societies;

  • Respecting the different cultures and traditions of our peoples;

  • The contribution of the children and youth to these cultures and traditions;

  • The need to preserve and further enrich the cultures and traditions and at the same time moving forward in the global world; and

  • To improve the quality of life of todayís generations and generations to come.

We do hereby declare:

  • That we are responsible to our respective islands and their peoples, especially their children and youth;

  • That this programme must continue beyond its stated expiration date of 2004; and

  • That UNESCO, as the mother of the programme, has the responsibility to ensure its sustainability as long as there is a need for such as expressed by the participating islands and their peoples.

(Signed original at www.unesco.org/csi/smis/siv/RIdeclaration.pdf)



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