| View Thread | Return to Index | Read Prev Msg | Read Next Msg |

Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum

The ethical dimension of wise practices.

Posted By: Philippe MacClenahan
Date: Tuesday, 6 July 1999, at 3:43 p.m.

In Response To: Using traditional checks and balances in sustainable development / Samoa. (Mali Voi)

I would like to comment on your input and the successive exchange with Gillian, in particular on the ethical dimension of coastal management practices.

ANOTHER VIEW OF TABOOS: Your example pointed out that communities that rely immediately on coastal resources for their living have adopted ways (checks and balances) to ensure that supply meets demand without depletion. This is, I think, what Gillian called the common-sense based knowledge. However, understanding of issues by locals does not ensure long- term observance of a sustainable practice. Some degree of control is always needed. In your example taboos played that role, a sort of socio-cultural constraint on resource use, with a strong ethical dimension.

DESTABILISATION CAUSED BY EXTERNAL PRESSURES: External pressure and incentives for short-term profit have destabilised this balance. This example illustrates how ethical and common-sense based control at the local level most often cannot prevent shifts from long-term collective responsibility and accountability to short-term individual interests, especially when changes are driven by pressures from outsiders not accountable to local communities.

INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS: The idea of developing wise practices as International Instruments based on international ethics-driven attitudes is very interesting, in particular if this helps ensure accountability of stakeholders at all levels of decision-making, management and resource use. It remains to identify what ethical criteria are to be used i.e. ecological, socio-cultural, socio-economic, political, and which apply best to the international level.

Messages in This Thread


| View Thread | Return to Index | Read Prev Msg | Read Next Msg |