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Small Islands Voice Side Events at the UN SIDS Meeting, Mauritius

During the United Nations meeting on Small Island Developing States, held in Mauritius from 10-14 January 2005, a series of four Small Islands Voice side events were held featuring different aspects of the initiative. These included community visioning, documentation of island cultures and traditions, eco-friendly practices, and the use of internet forums to promote exchange between the regions. These side events were held at the Community Vilaj in Freeport. The programme of side events ran from 9-12th January, 2005.

9th January: Island memories - Preserving and promoting island cultures

Ms Nancy Kareroa and Ms. Melinda Pierre, two youth representatives from the Cook Islands, presented excerpts from a recently prepared video on Mauke Memories which sets out to document legends, stories and lifestyles from the past as well as providing a sense of place and what living in Mauke is like for its inhabitants. This is the first in what is planned to be a series of videos featuring the inhabited islands of the Cooks.

Melinda Pierre introducing the project

Nancy Kareroa describing the making of the video

10th January: Connecting islands via the internet

During this side event, Mr. Herman Belmar described how young people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines were using the Small Islands Voice Youth Internet Forum (SIV-YF) to discuss issues and activities with youth in other small islands around the world. He described how youth from the Bequia Community High School had started the forum off with a thought-provoking article covering aspects of small island life ranging from whaling to the inadequacies of the local hospital.

Mr. Herman Belmar discussing the SIV Youth Forum

Students from Sookdeo Bissoondoyal Sixth Form College in Mauritius described how participating in the forum had inspired them to carry out a survey on what were the most pressing problems facing people living in Mauritius. They had then embarked on a project called 'Changing your mindset'.

Students from Sookdeo Bissoondoyal Sixth Form College describing their project 'Changing your mindset'

And finally, Alain De Comarmond from the Seychelles, described how the SIV-YF had inspired students at Praslin Secondary School to go beyond talking over the internet with their counterparts in the Maldives, and instead to initiate an exchange visit and a joint project 'Zero tolerance for littering'

Mr. Alain De Comarmond describing the exchange visit with the Maldives

11th January: Eco-friendly practices for sustainable living in small islands

Among the eco-friendly practices discussed in this session was a glass-recycling project, presented by Ms Nekesha Gordon, a youth representative from Bequia in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where young people are recycling glass to make park benches; and a Sandwatch project presented by Mr. Andy Paul of Trinidad and Tobago, where young people are working with their communities to monitor and enhance their beaches.

Nekesha Gordon (right) being interviewed by the media in Mauritius

13th January: Community visioning in small islands

Ms Tiare Holm described a community visioning project in Palau where communities are visioning how they want their communities in ten years time and then working to make those visions happen. She described how Palau had learnt from similar efforts in other islands such as Molokai and Pohnpei and how they were building a dedicated team with strong facilitation skills. Again at the community level, Mr. Pynee Chellapermal described how in Mauritius they were trying to relate climate change to everyday life, and to try and change people's mindsets regarding the use (waste) of electricity and the disposal of domestic waste. Their project had showed that families could make significant economic savings through energy conservation practices.

Tiare Holm beginning her presentation

Pynee Chellapermal standing in front on the project's energy saving poster written in Creole


To get involved, contact :


Coastal Regions and Small Islands Platform
UNESCO, Paris, France
fax: +33 1 45 68 58 08

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