Sandwatcher Newsletter Reports on Indian Ocean Workshop

23 May 2011: The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has announced the release of the April 2011 issue of "The Sandwatcher." The newsletter describes activities undertaken by Sandwatch network groups worldwide, including the Sandwatch Regional Indian Ocean Workshop held on Mahe, Seychelles, in October 2010.

During the Sandwatch Indian Ocean Regional Workshop, participants from the Indian Ocean, Pacific and Caribbean regions met to network and share lessons learnt about Sandwatch and its implementation. The outcomes of the workshop included forming a group of Sandwatch trainers, skilled in the revised Sandwatch approach that incorporates climate change adaptation and resilience building. Workshop participants included representatives from Cook Islands, Comoros, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. During the workshop, a series of panel discussion on climate change in the Pacific, Indian Ocean and Caribbean regions were held emphasizing: the challenging nature of climate change for small island developing States (SIDS); and the key role of education in bringing about the changes needed for adaptation and mitigation. Reference was also made to Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and how Sandwatch contributes to climate change adaptation by making beaches more resilient to climate change.

The newsletter also features articles on: Sandwatch celebrated at a Bahamas-UNESCO event; the launch of the new “Sandwatch manual: adapting to climate change and educating for sustainable development;” a marine educational workshop for Nevis teachers; the establishment of Sandwatch in Kiribati in junior and secondary schools; and the delivery of an educational book on climate change to some 85 primary schools across Barbados.

Sandwatch is a grassroots network of schools and community groups working together to monitor and conserve local beach and nearshore environments and to build resilience to climate change. The project is coordinated by the Sandwatch Foundation, a non-profit, non-governmental organization, and supported by UNESCO. [Publication: The Sandwatcher, April 2011]