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Yves Salaün

Président du Directoire, Guadeloupe Port Caraïbes, Pointe-à-Pitre, France

How can nature contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of the port-city both cultural and human capital related? What role is there for training, education, creative practices?

In an archipelago of 400 000 people, the single port of the country takes on, out of necessity, great responsibilities for economic development and therefore living conditions of its inhabitants. 95% of basic necessities, energy, logistics, goes through the port, in and out.
Building on its 14 400 acres of industrial, urban and natural spaces, especially at sea, Guadeloupe Port Caraïbes undertakes, also, a specific responsibility for the biodiversity and the living environment of the local communities.
This responsibility goes beyond economic issues and associated employment opportunities. The port can play a large part in professional and social integration by leveraging art and culture for the integration of youths: therapeutic art, space for expression, dynamic of personal fulfillment, learning, etc.
In this perspective, education, culture and training are prominent in the approach to nature developped by Guadeloupe Port Caraïbes.
Sharing a desirable future for nature implies building together a vision, a meaning life, and providing real opportunities to be seized and to make it happen. Such a long-term vision seeks the active involvement of younger generations, especially young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, whose first priority is yet economic, in a context of high unemployment among 15-25 years old people.
By forging strong partnerships with various environmental stakeholders such as the National Forest Office (ONF) and the French West Indies University, Guadeloupe Port Caraibes aims to share and transmit to future generations all the knowledge necessary to safeguard and regenerate this exceptional heritage : production of educational booklets on local biodiversity, designing and building of monumental totems from waste, realization of artistic works on the issues of the vibrancy of the marine environment, local education communities’ awareness of the training, and business related, opportunities as regards marine and coastal ecosystems, etc…
Finally, through various initiatives, Guadeloupe Port Caraïbes has managed to make the exceptional biodiversity of its environment an opportunity to develop new emerging economic activities for the recovering of nature. In cooperation with several environmental protection associations and University spin-off companies, the port actively supports, promotes, very promising ecological innovations and foster the ramp-up of the skills related.
These initiatives, and others in a broader societal field, were awarded in 2015 and 2017 by ESPO, the European Sea Ports Organization, for actions aimed at young audiences by Guadeloupe Port Caraïbes.
By way of a provisional conclusion, what could have been considered, at first, as a threat for the port development appears to be a very effective lever to bring together young generations and the port for the future. Opening initiatives and proposing to make it a long-term project with younger people changes the game. It helps the port and local communities to acknowledge that much remains to be learned together.
The desire to associate an economic and entrepreneurial dimension with nature helps the teams of the port authority to consider the opportunity of mobilizing new skills, and the need of adapting its business model to a strong upheaval.
This experience highlights the potential for creativity and innovation that can be revealed through a cultural, social, scientific, and entrepreneurial approach, provided that opportunities are organized in the port as a living lab and proposed to children, students and young entrepreneurs in and around the harbour.


Yves Salaün is a graduate of the leading french engineering school, the Ecole nationale des Ponts et Chaussées. He managed the port authority of La Rochelle before becoming the CEO of Guadeloupe Port Caraïbes. He has also served as the deputy general manager of a local governement for the design and the implementation of city and country planning policies and environmental goals. He finally held several positions, on behalf of the central government, supporting the local governments in implementing land use planning, transportation policies and leverage EU structural funds.
Believing strongly in the importance of ports in the economic, social and cultural development of countries, he is committed to promoting innovative projects aimed at improving the societal integration of ports.
Guadeloupe Port Caraibes builds on more than 10 years of commitment in the AIVP works and thinkings, including the signing of the port center charter in 2015. It is the winner of the 2017 ESPO award for art and cultural involvement of the port.