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UNESCO Outlines SIDS 2006-2013 Activities

UNESCO13 February 2014: The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has released a 40-page booklet, titled 'Islands of the Future – Building resilience in a changing world,' which outlines UNESCO's activities in small island developing States (SIDS), covering the period from 2006-2013.

The booklet features chapters on: promoting quality education in islands; building island resilience; valuing and sharing island heritage and identities; building knowledge societies in islands; enabling island cohesion and social well-being; managing natural resources for a sustainable future; and the UNESCO participation programme in SIDS.

On education in islands, UNESCO notes that in many SIDS having achieved Education for All, the focus is shifting to the quality of education and to the idea of Learning for All.

On resilience, the booklet underlines the particular vulnerability of SIDS to disasters, which are expected to be exacerbated by climate change. Other factors, such as population growth and urban development, are also highlighted as increasing the vulnerability of SIDS to natural disasters, particularly in urban and coastal areas. UNESCO provides an overview of its activities aimed at increasing SIDS' resilience, including by improving disaster management and climate change adaptation.

On island heritage, the booklet describes UNESCO's activities targeted at supporting SIDS in designing and implementing innovative cultural policies to strengthen heritage and creativity, including by: protecting and safeguarding tangible and intangible heritage; promoting responsible tourism; and boosting creative industries and transmitting traditional knowledge.

On building knowledge, UNESCO indicates that it contributes to Chapter XVIII of the Mauritius Strategy on Knowledge Management and Information for Decision-making by applying an interdisciplinary approach. It fosters media pluralism and the freedom of the press, the preservation of documentary heritage, universal access to information in the public domain and a broader access to knowledge.

On island cohesion, the booklet underscores that SIDS are confronted with climate-induced migration and high youth unemployment rates. UNESCO outlines support to the design of public policies that are shaped by participatory approaches to address these challenges.

On natural resources, the booklet underlines that SIDS possess both land and ocean resources and host endemic and unique biodiversity. UNESCO also stresses that they face challenges related to climate change, sea-level rise, disasters and water scarcity. The booklet describes how UNESCO is helping SIDS to assess their natural resources, manage them sustainably and put good governance practices in place.

The booklet's last chapter describes UNESCO's support to initiatives undertaken by Member States in the Organization's fields of competence through the Participation Programme (PP). [UNESCO Press Release] [Publication: Islands of the Future – Building Resilience in a Changing World]