Sandwatch: Introducing Young People to Scientific Method through Beach Monitoring


Sandwatch is a climate change and coastal monitoring programme which encourages the development of sustainable approaches to address beach environment challenges, while also stimulating local climate change adaptation measures.

The programme is a joint initiative of two UNESCO sectors (Education, through the Associated Schools Project network, and Natural Sciences, through the Small Islands and Indigenous Knowledge Section) in the framework of the Intersectoral Platform for Small Island Developing States, and in cooperation with the UNESCO Offices in Apia, Dar-es-Salaam, Kingston and other regions. The coordination of the programme is facilitated by the Sandwatch Foundation, and is supported by the University of Puerto Rico Sea Grant Program. Sandwatch provides a framework whereby students, with the help of their teachers and communities, critically evaluate the problems and conflicts facing their beach environments, and then develop sustainable approaches to address these issues. As such, Sandwatch contributes the further implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.

Launched over a decade ago in the Caribbean, Sandwatch has today become an international activity involving islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Caribbean, as well as countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. The programme has been introduced into schools in all participating countries and, in order to guarantee its durability, is currently being officially integrated into the educational curriculum in some pilot countries. This has already successfully taken place in the Cook Islands and The Seychelles. The expanded geographic and thematic scope of the initiative is also reflected through the organization of regular regional workshops in order to promote and facilitate Sandwatch activities as well as successive issues of a periodic electronic newsletter The Sandwatcher.

With support from the Government of Denmark, a new edition of the Sandwatch Manual was published in 2010, integrating new content on climate change adaptation as well as networking and information sharing. Currently available in English and French, the manual will be published in Spanish and Portuguese in 2012. A global Sandwatch database is also under development to allow the data collected by Sandwatch teams around the world to be systematically recorded and shared. The database will make the information collected available to a wider audience and will allow for comparisons of data trends for beaches in different geographical areas. It will constitute a unique source of information for monitoring how climate change is affecting beaches around the world.

For more information go to the Sandwatch website

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