SANDWATCH: A Science Education Scheme through Sustainable Coastal Monitoring

Sandwatch is an educational process through which school students, teachers and local communities work together in the field to monitor their coastal environments; identify and evaluate the threats, problems and conflicts facing them; and develop sustainable approaches to address them. With this approach involved groups not only understand their environment, but also develop critical thinking skills and apply them to conflict resolution, thus instilling a sense of caring for their beaches and coastal areas – their environment. Sandwatch method is applied in an interdisciplinary manner with applications ranging from biology to woodwork, from geography to art, and from poetry to mathematics.

Supported by a well-illustrated manual (currently available in EnglishFrench, Portuguese and Spanish, involved Sandwatch groups can select to investigate different aspects of the beach such as:

- Beach erosion and accretion
- Sediment composition
- Impact of Human activities on the beach
- Beach debris, pollution
- Water quality
- Waves
- Currents
- Plants and animals

Throughout the process, particular emphasis is placed on observations and adaptation strategies relating to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters. In this way, Sandwatch participants contribute to building ecosystem resilience and adapting to climate change.

Within the framework of the UNESCO SIDS Action Plan, the SAMOA Pathway and Education for Sustainable Development, Sandwatch seeks to integrate the values inherent in sustainable development into all aspects of learning, through a practical hands-on approach, thereby empowering citizens of all ages to act for positive environmental and social change.

With the financial support of the government of Denmark, UNESCO, in collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) and the Sandwatch Foundation, produced a Sandwatch training videos to provide a visual demonstration of the methods shown in the Sandwatch manual. The videos are available on Youtube in English and Spanish.

A Database has also been developed to allow Sandwatch practitioners to visualise and analyze the data they are collecting locally (e.g. using graphs to demonstrate trends, determining whether the measured changes are seasonal or long-term progressive changes), and to globally share it. Over the coming years (and decades) this data will provide the basis to assess the impact of climate change. To access the database go to


To find out more about Sandwatch:


UNESCO Sandwatch Coordinator
Ms. Khalissa Ikhlef
Small Islands and Indigenous Knowledge Section (SC /PCB/SII) 
Science Policy and Capacity Building Division 
1 rue Miollis – 75732 Paris Cedex 15 – France 
Tel: +33 1 45 68 40 27  
Email: sids(at)  or <k.ikhlef at>

UNESCO field office(s) nearest you (see the complete list at

Sandwatch Foundation co-directors:
Dr. Gillian Cambers, g_cambers(at), Tel: +(679) 777 7150
Mr Paul Diamond, pdiamond(at), Tel: + (869) 469-1449


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