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Home Intersectoral Platform on Small Island Developing States    Print Print
UNESCO Implementing Mauritius Strategy


 1.  Climate change
 2.  Natural disasters
 3.  Waste Management
 4.  Coastal & marine resources
 5.  Freshwater resources
 6.  Land resources
 7.  Energy resources
 8.  Tourism resources
 9.  Biodiversity resources
10. Transport & communication
11. Science & technology
12. Graduation from LDC status
13. Trade
14. Capacity building & ESD
15. Production & consumption
16. Enabling environments
17. Health
18. Knowledge management
19. Culture
20. Implementation
UNESCO at Mauritius '05
Contributions & events
From Barbados'94 to Mauritius'05
UNESCO involvement
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Archive - Coastal and marine resources

Small island nations have a large coastal area to land mass ratio, which means that they are largely coastal entities. Their coastal environment is therefore particularly important, both socio-economically and culturally, and there are typically high levels of conflict in the demands for coastal space and its resources. This conflict is often accentuated by high and increasing population densities on the coast and by the development of economic sectors such as tourism.

For the size of their land mass and population, small island nations usually have large marine exclusive economic zones, which has vastly extended the fisheries and other marine resources available to small island developing states. Potential benefits may be great. But so too are the problems and challenges faced by the countries concerned in seeking to grasp and optimize these potential benefits.

For both terrestrial and marine environments, difficulties in planning and implementing effective integrated approaches to resource management are reflected in overexploitation of particular resources, pollution and degradation of land and water ecosystems, and acute conflicts between competing resource uses.

Within UNESCO, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) provides a primary focus for improving scientific knowledge and understanding of oceanic and coastal processes. Through the organization and coordination of major scientific programmes and projects, support is provided to Member States in building-up capacities and in the design and implementation of policies for the ocean and coastal zones. Key activities within the IOC include the development of an innovative programme on ocean sciences, with three principal interactive lines of work:
  • oceans and climate,
  • science for ocean ecosystems and marine environmental protection, and
  • marine science for integrated coastal area management.
Components of this ocean sciences programme include work on ocean carbon sequestration, benthic indicators, coral bleaching and monitoring, land-ocean-atmosphere biochemistry, harmful algal blooms, pelagic fish populations. Monitoring and forecasting capabilities in the open and coastal ocean are also being developed as part of an integrated international strategy for observing the global environment. Some examples of activities contributing to IOC are given in the next few paragraphs. See also under certain other Areas of concern, left (e.g. Climate change and sea-level rise, Natural disasters) as well as Resources, right.

As regards coastal issues, IOC’s Integrated Coastal Area Management (ICAM) programme is designed to assist countries in their efforts to build marine scientific and technological capabilities as a follow up to Chapter 17 of Agenda 21. Activities include syntheses of scientific information and preparation of methodological manuals, a strategic alliance with the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and its core project on Land-Ocean Interaction in the Coastal Zone (LOICZ), and a project on the use and role of indicators in integrated coastal management.

Coral reefs have taken on the role of a sort of litmus paper of the state of health of coastal and marine resources. Since the mid-1980s, concerns about the decline in coral reefs have increased and reflected in various initiatives for their study and monitoring. These various initiatives are among those contributing to the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, cosponsored by UNEP, the World Bank, IUCN and the IOC. Among the outputs of the network is the biennial 'Status of Coral Reefs of the World', the most recent version of which (2002) includes information on the status and changes of coral reefs in 36 individual SIDS.

A related initiative is the IOC/World Bank Study Group on Coral Bleaching and Local Ecological Responses. This group was set-up in 2000, with the purpose of integrating, synthesizing and developing global research on coral bleaching. Among the more specific objectives is to develop indicators of coral bleaching of various kinds (molecular, cellular, physiological, community), capable of detecting stress responses due to changes in variables such as sea surface temperature and UV radiation.

Thematic map of mangrove leaf area index (LAI) for mangroves on the north-west of South Caicos Island. Mangrove LAI has been categorized into five categories with progressively brighter shades representing progressively higher LAIs. From '<a href=http://portal.unesco.org/unesco/ev.php?URL_ID=13805&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201&reload=1062407790>Remote Sensing Handbook for Tropical Coastal Management</a>'.

Thematic map of mangrove leaf area index (LAI) for mangroves on the north-west of South Caicos Island. Mangrove LAI has been categorized into five categories with progressively brighter shades representing progressively higher LAIs. From 'Remote Sensing Handbook for Tropical Coastal Management'.

In terms of intersectoral cooperation within UNESCO, the Coastal Regions and Small Islands (CSI) initiative was set-up in 1995-1996, with a principal aim of catalysing joint action among five programme sectors in headquarters and field offices in the various regions of the world. Conceived as a platform, it serves as a test bed to explore options, overcome barriers and demonstrate solutions. Among its modalities are field projects addressing complementary facets of a single shared problem and UNESCO chairs and university twinning arrangements that pool cross-disciplinary expertise. Two long-term initiatives in the Caribbean are focused on monitoring coastal marine productivity of mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs, and on managing beach resources and planning for coastline change. The latter initiative, which focuses on capacity building in all sectors of society, has joined with the Associated Schools Project Network to implement a Caribbean-wide programme involving school students and communities in beach management. The programme is also being expanded to include islands in the Indian Ocean and Pacific regions. Multilingual virtual forums have also been developed that use information and communication technologies (ICTs) for sharing experience and knowledge within and between different oceanic regions. One forum on 'Wise coastal practices for sustainable human development' reaches over 15,000 persons. A more recent initiative is Small Islands Voice, launched in 2002, which combines ICTs with print, radio, television and other media in promoting the involvement of civil society (including youth) in discussions on key environment-development issues.

As part of the intergovernmental programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB), biosphere reserves are places to test and develop ways of sustainable living through the integrated management of natural resources and the conservation of biological diversity. The World Network of Biosphere Reserves (with 440 sites in 97 countries) contains sites in a range of coastal and insular settings. Further information on some examples in SIDS is given under 'Biodiversity conservation', left. Also under the MAB Programme are several regional networks which promote integrated approaches to the sustainable use of renewable natural resources in biosphere reserves and similar managed areas, such as the ASPACO initiative in coastal and island areas in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Asia-Pacific Cooperation for the Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources in Biosphere Reserves and Similar Managed Areas (ASPACO)
Joint initiative of the United Nations University (UNU), the International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems (ISTE) and UNESCO-MAB. Main focus on mangroves and other coastal ecosystems in Oceania and the Pacific rim countries. >> More

Benthic Indicators
IOC study group established in 1999. Developing health indicators of coastal benthic communities, including combining datasets on coastal benthos and environmental conditions from different coastal regions into a global database. >> More

Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity Programme (CARICOMP)
Network of 29 sites in 22 countries and territories, for determining the factors that regulate productivity of three main coastal ecosystems in the Caribbean (mangroves, seagrasses, coral reefs) and assessing the nature and influence of land-sea interactions. >> More

Development and Application of Indicators for Integrated Coastal Area Management (ICAM)
Follow-up to IOC international workshop held in Ottawa in 2002. Eighteen-month project, designed to develop a standard group of indicators for fieldwork testing in case studies, with first meeting of project working group in Paris in July 2003. >> More

Evolution of Village-Based Marine Resource Management in Vanuatu Between 1993 and 2001
Report by R.E. Johannes and R.E. Hickey, on lessons learned from an initiative to promote voluntary management of the Trochus mollusc. >> More

Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN): South Asia Node
Five-year project funded by UK's Department of International Development (DFID) and executed by IOC, in India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, focusing on the development of capacity among national and regional counterparts to develop and implement coral reef monitoring and management programmes. >> More

Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB)
IOC programme which fosters the effective management of, and scientific research on, harmful algal blooms, in order to understand their causes, predict their occurrences and mitigate their effects. >> More

Managing Beach Resources and Planning for Coastline Change in the Caribbean
Feedback-driven, long-term initiative (started 1985), known locally by an old acronym (COSALC), which includes beach monitoring in 13 countries/territories, development of a generic methodology, training in environmental video production and broadcasting, and educating schoolchildren in the use of scientific monitoring and wise management of beach resources. >> More

Ocean Carbon
Joint Advisory Panel of IOC and ICSU's Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), promoting observations needed for understanding and monitoring the role of oceans in the global carbon cycle. Current work includes maintaining a watching brief on carbon sequestration and promoting ocean carbon modelling. >> More

Performance of Exclusive Economic Zones (PEEZ)
One of the ‘flagship activities’ of Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (IDGEC), itself one of the core projects of the International Human Dimensions Programme of Global Environmental Change (IHDP). PEEZ symposia include that on the sustainable use of national EEZs in the seas of the Asia-Pacific region, held in Bali in June 2002. >> More

Project involving ASPnet's Caribbean Sea Project and CSI, which seeks to train students in the scientific monitoring of all aspects of beaches, and using the information together with local communities to enhance local beaches and reduce the level of pollution in the Caribbean Sea, established in 16 Caribbean countries. >> More

Small Islands Voice
Encouraging the involvement of the general public as a driving force for island development. Inter-regional initiative, launched in early 2002, with pilot activities in the Caribbean (St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, San Andres Archipelago), Indian Ocean (Seychelles) and Pacific (Cook Islands, Palau). >> More

Strategic Action Programme for the International Waters of the Pacific Small Island Developing States
Five-year programme that started in July 2000, supported by GEF, implemented by UNDP, executed by the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), with 14 participating SIDS. >> More

Training Through Research: 'The Floating University'
IOC-sponsored initiative combining shipboard research and training with annual oceanographic cruises, conferences and exchanges of students and researchers. >> More

Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development
Moderated Internet-based trilingual discussion forum, started in 1999, now reaching over 15,000 persons. Information accessible on subject/region/country basis. >> More

Ocean Margin (Paris 15-09-2003 - 17-09-2003)
European Commission-UNESCO sponsored conference, aimed at enhancing knowledge about the functioning of ocean margin ecosystems. More

Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands (Paris 12-11-2003 - 14-11-2003)
Organized by the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands, a consortium of individuals from UN agencies, NGOs, governments and research organizations, established as a follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The Conference will focus, amongst other topics, on the needs of SIDS for developing innovative strategies for the protection and sustainable use of their marine and coastal resources. More

East Asian Seas Congress 2003 (Putrajaya, Malaysia 08-12-2003 - 12-12-2003)
Includes an international conference on the sustainable development of the East Asian Seas, and a closing ministerial forum. More

Quantitative Ecosystem Indicators for Fisheries Management (Paris 31-03-2004 - 03-04-2004)
International Symposium cosponsored by the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and UNESCO's IOC, in cooperation with a suite of other institutions. More

Hilltops 2 Oceans (H2O) Partnership Conference (Cairns, Australia 11-05-2004 - 14-05-2004)
Type II Partnership launched at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, aimed at supporting local, national and regional efforts to address water pollution during its journey from hilltops to the oceans. Conference organized by UNEP and Australian Government Department of Environment and Heritage. More

World Environment Day 2004: ‘Wanted! Seas and Oceans – Dead or Alive?’ ( 24-08-2004 - 24-08-2004)
Commemorated each year on 5 June, World Environment Day is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates world-wide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action. The theme selected for 2004 asks that we make a choice as to how we want to treat the Earth’s seas and oceans. More

caicos-mangr_small.gifThematic map of mangrove leaf area index (LAI) for mangroves on the north-west of South Caicos Island

IOCARIBE: IOC Sub-Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions
Issues addressed include Caribbean planning for adaptation to climate change, visual surveys of humpback whales, and monitoring, assessment and sustainable management of the large marine ecosystem of the Caribbean and adjacent regions.
>> More info   >> Go to website

IOCEA: IOC Regional Committee for the Central Eastern Atlantic Ocean
Activities include collaborative work on marine and coastal pollution and on ocean dynamics and impacts on coastal processes.
>> More info   >> Go to website

IOCINCWIO: IOC Regional Committee for the Cooperative Investigation in the North and Central Western Indian Ocean
. Topics addressed in recent publications and training courses include potentially harmful microalgae and developing skills for coastal management.
>> More info   >> Go to website

IOCINDIO: IOC Regional Committee for the Central Indian Ocean
Responsible for the coordination and supervision of the scientific and service activities of the IOC in the Central Indian Ocean.
>> More info   >> Go to website

International non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans, through public policy advocacy, science and economics, legal action, grassroots mobilization and public education. Includes an international scientific advisory committee and networks of activists in 150 countries. Recent publications include ‘Oceans at risk’.
>> More info   >> Go to website

Washington D.C.-based initiative to raise awareness of the world ocean and the life within it, providing information and opinion from a broad spectrum of sources. Projects and activities include an aquaculture clearing house, a briefing book on oceans, a monthly newsletter on marine and coastal environments and wildlife, and a listing of ocean-related web-sites.
>> More info   >> Go to website

UNEP’s Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA).
Web-site of the UNEP-GPA Coordination Office in The Hague (Netherlands).
>> More info   >> Go to website

WESTPAC: IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific
Formally established in 1989, promotes and coordinates programmes that demonstrate and enhance the value of marine scientific research and systematic observations of the ocean in resolving the needs of society as expressed and agreed upon by 20 Member States.
>> More info   >> Go to website

People and Places: Pacific Island Approaches to Integrated Coastal Conservation and Sustainable Human Development - by
Report by UNESCO-Apia of Second Meeting of ASPACO (Asia Pacific Co-operation for the Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources in Biosphere Reserves and Similarly Managed Areas) (Apia, Samoa, 7-10 November 2001).More

Steps and Tools Towards Integrated Coastal Area Management: Methodological Guide - by Yves. Henocque and Jacques Denis
No. 42 in the series of IOC Manuals and Guides, prepared with the support of the French National Committees for four of UNESCO's intergovernmental science undertakings: IOC, IGCP, IHP and MAB.More

Wise Coastal Practices: Towards Sustainable Small-Island Living - by UNESCO
Results of a workshop held in Apia (Samoa) in December 2000, published as Coastal region and small island papers 9.More

Development Plan. Marine and Coastal Environmental Plan for Bahrain - by R.J.O. Perry, S.R. Britsch and A.J.M. Zainal
Report prepared by the UNESCO Regional Office in the Arab States of the Gulf, for the Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research.More

Remote Sensing Handbook for Tropical Coastal Management - by
Guidance on the capabilities and cost-effectiveness of the most widely used sensors for a range of coastal management applications and step-by-step advice on how to achieve various management goals. Linked to the Handbook is a computer-based remote sensing distance-learning module: Applications of Satellite and Airborne Image Data to Coastal Management.More

Methodological Guide for the Elaboration of Vulnerability Maps of the Coastal Zones of the Indian Ocean - by
IOC Manual and Guides 38. Proposes three main methodological principles and a five-step approach, drawing on case studies from Reunion and Mahé (Seychelles).More

Coasts of Haiti: Resource Assessment and Management Needs - by
Based on a seminar held in Petionville (Haiti) in December 1996.More

Traditional Knowledge and Management of Coastal Systems in Asia and the Pacific - by
Papers presented at a regional seminar held at the UNESCO Regional Office for Science and Technology for Southeast Asia. Jakarta (Indonesia), 5-9 December 1983. Available on microfiche from UNESCO's Archives and Micrography Section.More

'Lois relatives a l'environnement côtier et à la pêche en Haïti - by
Bilingual (Creole/French) presentation of Haiti's fisheries and environmental laws as they relate to the present-day protection and management of coastal environments. Published as CSI info No. 13.More

'Ocean & Coastal Management' Special Issue on ICM Indicators - by
Double-issue of the journal Ocean & Coastal Management (Volume 46, Issues 3-4, pages 221-390, 2003), with twelve papers devoted to the role of indicators in integrated coastal management (ICM). Based on presentations at workshop cosponsored by IOC and the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Ottawa, 29 April-2 May 2002).More

Poverty and Reefs : A World of Science - by
Four-page overview in UNESCO’s Natural Science Quarterly Newsletter of a recently published (late 2003) study of poverty and sustainable-livelihood issues affecting coral reef-dependent communities in the Indian Ocean region.More

Reference Guide on the Use of Indicators for Integrated Coastal Management - by
First issue in a new IOC series on Integrated Coastal Area Management (ICAM), based on an international workshop organized in Ottawa (Canada) in April-May 2002.More

Coastal Land Tenure: A Small-Islands' Perspective - by Gillian Cambers, Annette Muehlig-Hofmann and Dirk Troost
Drawing on case studies from Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles and Thailand, wise practice agreements are proposed as a way of reducing conflicts in access and use rights.More

IOC Manual and Guides Series - by
Several numbers deal with coastal regions, including a methodological guide to integrated coastal zone management (No. 36, 1997, and No. 42, 2001), guidelines for vulnerability mapping of coastal zones in the Indian Ocean (No. 38, 2000), guidelines for the study of shoreline change in the Western Indian Ocean region (No .40, 2000).More

Monitoring Beach Changes as an Integral Component of Coastal Development - by Gillian Cambers
Final report of the project on institutional strengthening of beach management capabilities in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Published as CSI info No. 15.More

International Ocean Governance - by Lee A. Kimball
Using international law and organizations to manage marine resources sustainably. Published by IUCN.More

Poverty and Reefs - by E. Whittingham, J. Campbell and P. Townsley
Two-part report published by UNESCO-IOC, the UK’s Department of International Development (DFID) and IMM Ltd. Combines a global review of existing literature on coral reefs and poverty with case studies from reef locations in South Asia (Gulf of Mannar, South Andaman Island, Lakshadweep) and East Africa (northern Mozambique).More

Technical Tools for Regional Seas Management: The Role of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) - by Colin Summerhayes
Article in the journal Ocean & Coastal Management (Volume 45, Issues 11-12, pages 777-796, 2002) by the head of the IOC-GOOS Project Office. Points addressed include GOOS as operational oceanography at the global scale, and strengthening the links between GOOS and UNEP's Regional Seas programmes.More

Oceans, Coasts and Islands at the World Summit on Sustainable Development and Beyond. Integrated Management from Hilltops to Oceans - by
Revised post-Johannesburg version of a guide to oceans, coasts and islands at the WSSD and beyond, prepared by the Center for the Study of Marine Policy at the University of Delaware, UNESCO-IOC and UNEP.More

Wise Practices for Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Small Islands - by UNESCO
Results of a workshop on 'Furthering Coastal Stewardship in Small Islands', held in Dominica in July 2001, published as Coastal region and small islands paper 11.More






Poverty and Reefs

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