Mobilizing Civil Society Concern for Waste-Management Issues

Among UNESCO's cross-cutting projects, Small Islands Voice (SIV) provided the general public in islands with 'a space to speak' and take action on the ground. Every two weeks, over 40,000 islanders and other people concerned with island affairs, shared their experiences about issues spanning environment, development, society, economy and culture via an on-line forum (hosted by Scotland On Line). Waste-management issues have been touched upon in several of the discussion threads, dealing with such issues as community planning in a post-tsunami world, water supply and conservation, saving for the future, and alternatives to rising oil prices.

Beyond the inter-regional internet discussions, Small Islands Voice supported sustainable development activities at the local level through 'Communities in Action'. Partnerships were encouraged and activities promoted in a wide range of fields, with waste management being addressed in such islands and island-groupings as Dominica, Fiji, Maldives, San Andrés and Seychelles.

More recently, in many locations, young people are leading the way, as reflected in the Youth Visioning for Island Living special event in Mauritius (9-13 January 2005), where 94 young islanders met to discuss their perspectives on sustainable development (with the support of the Lighthouse Foundation and other partners).

Following the Mauritius event, young people in 37 small-island nations and territories are working to design and implement projects contributing to three main themes:

  • 'Life and love in islands' – Island lifestyles and cultures;
  • 'My island home' – Safeguarding island environments;
  • 'Money in my pocket' – Economic and employment opportunities.

Recently implemented projects related to waste include Sensitization and cleanup campaign in Gutter village, Dominica. This project was developed out of the need to curb the disposal of waste through waterways that lead to the sea and to impress upon residents of Gutter Village the need for alternative waste disposal.

Other projects include those on education and planning of improved waste and sanitation practices in Kiribati and on the development of a solid waste management plan in Palau. For more information, see Youth Visioning website.

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