UNESCO Presents New Manual to Support Coastal Communities in Monitoring and Adapting to Climate Change

Coastal communities worldwide are confronted with climate related risks such as sea-level rise, ocean acidification and increased extreme events. In this context, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has launched the new manual Sandwatch: Adapting to Climate Change and Educating for Sustainable Development. The manual provides a framework for children, youth and adults to scientifically monitor and critically evaluate the problems and conflicts facing their beach environments and to develop sustainable approaches to address these issues.

“Sandwatch is a simple and accessible programme that allows taking action with a small budget”, said Hans Thulstrup, UNESCO Small Islands and Indigenous Knowledge Section, at the COP 16 side-event on Understanding Climate Change: Success Stories in Awareness-raising and Education, 3 December 2010, Cancun, Mexico, where the new manual was launched. The Sandwatch methodology includes the following steps: monitoring, analyzing, sharing, and taking action.
An activities-orientated approach provides step-by-step guidance covering monitoring methods and data analysis (including observing and recording erosion and accretion, beach composition, human activities, beach debris, water quality, waves, longshore currents, plants and animals). The manual further outlines ways to share findings and create a Sandwatch network. Finally, it gives guidance on the design, planning and implementation of a Sandwatch project. “The manual was designed for coastal communities”, said Mr. Thulstrup, “but the methodology can be applied to different locations.” French, Spanish and Portuguese editions of the manual will be produced in 2011.
Written by Gillian Cambers and Paul Diamond, the up-dated version of the Sandwatch manual has been developed through a joint project of UNESCO, the Sandwatch Foundation and the Government of Denmark. The partnership also supports the development of a web-based database that will allow Sandwatch teams to upload their observations and data, thereby contributing to a global monitoring network for coastal areas. Finally, the project includes several training events and the development of a Sandwatch instructional DVD, serving to extend the reach of Sandwatch particularly in small island countries.
For further information, please contact: Hans Thulstrup, UNESCO (h.thulstrup@unesco.org)
Download new Sandwatch Manual.