Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands

Coastal region and small island papers 19


Recognizing the successes of the past and integrating them into the new directions of the future is a vital part of the sustainable development learning curve. And as we enter the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD, 2005–2014) with its overall objective to empower citizens to act for positive environmental, social and economic change through a participatory and action-orientated approach, it is especially timely to discuss and review ongoing educational activities that have had and are continuing to have a measure of success in the field of sustainable development.

One such activity is Sandwatch. This had its roots in an environmental education workshop held in Trinidad and Tobago in 1998, when a group of far-sighted teachers and enthusiastic young people from UNESCO Associated Schools came together to discuss ways of thinking, planning and cooperating for a sustainable future for the Caribbean Sea region.

Sandwatch seeks to change the lifestyle and habits of youth and adults on a community-wide basis, and to develop awareness of the fragile nature of the marine and coastal environment – in particular, the beach environment – and the need to use it wisely. It is supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Education Sector (Associated Schools Project Network) and Natural Sciences Sector (Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and in Small Islands, CSI), the Organization’s field office in Kingston (Jamaica), as well as those in Apia (Samoa) and Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania), and several National Commissions for UNESCO. Starting out as a Caribbean regional activity, Sandwatch is gradually expanding as islands in the Indian Ocean and Pacific regions are getting involved.

The essence of this publication, which provides step-by-step guidance for people wanting to participate in Sandwatch activities, has been in use in an unpublished form since 2001. It is now particularly appropriate at the start of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, and as more and more countries want to become a part of Sandwatch, to publish this document.

Special thanks are due to colleagues in the UNESCO Kingston Office for their insight and support, and to the national coordinators, teachers, students and community members who have worked so hard to make Sandwatch a success in the past five years, and whose enthusiasm, perseverance and dedication continues to inspire us all to greater heights.


  Dirk G. Troost
  Aline Bory-Adams

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