Saturday, December 01, 2012

Sustainable Development in Coastal Regions and Small Islands

Flooded homes in Tuckerton, N.J., on Oct. 30 after Hurricane Sandy 

Hurricane Sandy recently provided a vivid demonstration of the vulnerability of U.S. coastal regions and islands to destruction and environmental degradation, as did Hurricane Katrina a few years ago. We recall that the United States has not only long coastlines with the Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific, with many offshore islands, but also includes Hawaii and Puerto Rico. 

CSI is a global platform provided by UNESCO for environmentally sound, socially equitable, culturally respectful and economically viable development in coastal regions and small islands.

The CSI platform for intersectoral action was initiated in 1996. The following three complementary and mutually reinforcing approaches have been adopted:
  1. Field-based projects which provide a framework for collaborative action on the ground
  2. UNESCO Chairs and University Twinning (UNITWIN) arrangements, which support and enhance the field project activities through training, capacity building and awareness raising
  3. A multi-lingual, internet-based forum on 'Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development'
Half a dozen field projects continue to operate worldwide. Three university chairs in sustainable coastal development have been formally established. The internet-based discussion forum includes some 19,000 recipients from around the world representing a wide range of specializations and interests. The field projects, backed-up by the UNESCO chairs and twinning networks, have developed and tested wise practices applicable to sustainable development of small islands and coastal regions. These practices provide guidance as to what can wisely be done under the prevailing circumstances.

Via the CSI platform, wise coastal practices for sustainable human development are exchanged, the voices of small islands amplified, indigenous knowledge mobilised for equitable resource governance, and youth given a say.

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