Internet Discussion Forums

Promoting communication and exchanges of experience and knowledge among and about small-island communities lies at the heart of two web-based discussion forums operated by UNESCO's Coastal Regions and Small Islands (CSI) Platform.

The Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development (WiCoP) Forum was launched in 1999, as an Internet-based trilingual (English/French/Spanish) discussion forum. Several discussion threads in 2003-2004 related specifically to small-island communities, including:

The Small Islands Voice (SIV) Global Forum, was started in October 2002, with the aim of engaging the general public in small islands in an online debate on issues relating to environment and development.

Issues addressed in the SIV Global Forum during the period 2002-2004 included road construction (initial posting from Palau), beach access (Tobago), tourism policy (Seychelles), foreign investment (Cook Islands), youth crime and violence (Caribbean), export of spring water (St Vincent and the Grenadines), the 'right type' of tourism development (Aitutaki, Cook Islands), illegal deep-sea fishing around small islands (South Atlantic), waste and garbage problems (San Andrés), climate change, dependency on disaster relief.

In addition, a number of island-specific activities supported within SIV concern 'Knowledge management and information for decision-making'. For example, in the Caribbean, topics flagged include strengthening the multimedia centre at Dubique in Dominica, strengthening documentation centres in the San Andrés Archipelago (Colombia) and radio-listening as a cultural heritage in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

In the Indian Ocean, activities reported on the web include participatory radio programmes in the Maldives, civil society forums in Mauritius, and inter-island exchanges involving young people from Seychelles.

In the Pacific, activities include community television in Mangaia and improving inter-island communication in the Cook Islands, community consultations in Fiji, and Palau's participation in the Pacific Islands regional ICT consultation in Fiji in April 2003 as part of the preparations for the World Summit on the Information Society.

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