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UNESCO launches small islands project

"The world's small island developing states are front-line zones where, in concentrated form, many of the main problems of environment-development are unfolding." - Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is launching an environment and development initiative called "Small Islands' Voice 2004" here in Palau. The program, which runs from January 2002 to December 2003, has selected Palau as its launching island for the Pacific Ocean. St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean and Seychelles in the Indian Ocean are the other two small islands chosen as launching sites of the UNESCO initiative.

The programme aims at three main objectives: to provide people in small islands of the world an opportunity to voice their opinions on environment-development issues; to include these views in the 10-year review of the "Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States" adopted in Barbados in 1994; and to encourage people to involve themselves in environment-development issues up and beyond 2004.

UNESCO staff Gillian Cambers, CSI Consultant, and Hans D. Thulstrup of Apia, Samoa Office, who are here to launch the project, told Tia Belau that they have scheduled visits to various organisations, offices, and individuals in Palau to assist them in starting the program.

The initiative seeks to overcome the isolation of small islands by building capacity and strengthening internal, regional, inter-regional communication by: obtaining islanders' views and opinions on environment-development issues at the local level through community-initiated activities supported by radio, TV, and print media; debating these views among a larger audience through Internet-based discussions; and seeking the views of young islanders on environment-development issues.

In each island the key environment-development issues important to islanders will be determined through various activities involving all major groups (women, men, young people, local leaders, private sector, and governmental and non-governmental agencies) supported by media. The debate on local issues will be widened to national, regional, and ultimately inter-regional levels, through Internet-based discussions. Key issues of the environment-development debate will be identified through continual feedback from and interaction between the on-the-ground and Internet levels. Pre- and post- project attitude surveys will be conducted to evaluate the activities.

SOURCE: Tia Belau, Volume XI No. 9, 2-8 March 2002, Page 5


To get involved, contact :


National Co-ordinator
Mr Joe Chilton
Palau Community College
PO Box 9
Koror, 96940
Republic of Palau
T: + 680 488 2470
F: + 680 488 6563

Ms. Tiare Holm
Palau Conservation Society
P.O. Box 1811,
Koror, 96940
Republic of Palau
T: ++ 680 488 3993
F: ++ 680 488 3990

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