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INTER-REGIONAL

PANEL ON
COMMUNITY VISIONING: A STRATEGY FOR SUSTAINABLE ISLAND LIVING
AT ISLANDS OF THE WORLD IX CONFERENCE, MAUI, HAWAI'I
31 JULY - 2 AUGUST 2006

 

The theme of the Islands of the World IX conference, held in Maui, Hawai'i from 31 July to 2 August 2006, was 'Sustainable Islands - Sustainable Strategies' with emphasis on the interconnected topics - economy, ecology and social equity/heritage (see www.maui.hawaii.edu/isisa2006/).

Small Islands Voice sponsored a panel session on 'Community Visioning: a strategy for sustainable island living' that linked these three topics, and provided an opportunity to present community visioning activities from islands around the world to a wide audience of islanders.


The panel session took place on the afternoon of Monday 31 July 2006 and brought together panelists from Cook Islands, Mauritius, Moloka'i (Hawai'i), Palau and the San Andres Archipelago (Colombia). The panel was moderated by Mr. Hans Thulstrup, UNESCO Cluster Office for the Pacific Island States.

Panellists from left to right: June-Marie Mow, Tiare Holm, Imogen Ingram, Pynee Chellapermal, Stacy Crivello
   
Ms Stacy Crivello, President of the Molokai Enterprise Community, introduced the audience to the concept of community visioning, which began in Moloka'i in 1998. She read out their very powerful vision statement. While outlining some of their results, which ranged from restoring fish ponds to establishing a dialysis centre, she emphasized the need to continue to try and build bridges. She described one of their recent projects whereby a large area of land was being transferred by a private owner to a land trust where it would be managed for the community. Read more in the paper.
   
This was followed by Mr. Pynee Chellapermal, Executive Director, Centre for Documentation, Research and Training in the Southwest Indian Ocean, Mauritius, who discussed some of the differences between small islands in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. He described how globalisation affected islands in different ways and emphasised the need to develop resilience in small islands and to educate policy makers. He said the community visioning was a way of developing resilience in communities. Read more in the abstract and paper.
   
Ms Imogen Ingram (Te Pa Mataiapo), of the Island Sustainability Alliance, C.I. Inc., Cook Islands, described recent changes in customary land tenure in the Cook Islands and how legislation had been passed despite opposition from traditional leaders. She said that there was a need for the community to participate more actively in such decisions, not only by deciding what they didn't want, but more importantly what they did want. And here she saw the potential for community visioning. Read more in the abstract and paper.
   
Ms. Tiare Holm, Executive Director of the Palau Conservation Society, outlined the community visioning process in Palau and explained how it was empowering the traditional process which had been based on a whispered consensus. She said that provided the communities owned the vision or roadmap, then even if the steersmen (leaders) changed, the visioning process continued because the community were the navigators. Read more in the abstract and paper.
   
Finally Ms. June-Marie Mow, Director of the Fundacion Providence, San Andres Archipelago, Colombia, described the visioning process in Old Providence and Santa Catalina and compared it with the situation in San Andres where the native population are maginalized by Colombian nationals. External factors caused the visioning process to falter a little in Old Providence and Santa Catalina, however, a recent assessment in 2005 had revitalised the process. One of the most inspiring things has been to see so many leaders working together in this process. Read more in the abstract and paper.

Questions were answered after each presentation. There was a lively debate covering topics ranging from the creation of jobs for young people in Moloka'i to overpopulation in small islands, and from selling land to foreigners for second homes in Old Providence to a small community in Palau having to develop their own vision to cope with the prospect of drilling for oil. The importance of land ownership in small islands and the differences in land tenure were among the themes running through the debate.

 

To get involved, contact :

 

Coastal Regions and Small Islands Platform
UNESCO, Paris, France
csi1@unesco.org
fax: +33 1 45 68 58 08
 

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