Kralendijk – The recently concluded Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) convention reminded participants that nature is big business. However, many people are unaware of the varied ways in which nature’s resources can be leveraged to create sustainable economic growth. One of DCNA’s goals is to raise awareness of nature’s potential.
Nature’s Economic Value
Mrs. Hellen van der Wal, chairlady of DCNA, notes that “nature provides us with food and offers us alternatives for entertainment and relaxation. The unique biodiversity that we have in the Dutch Caribbean is a source of attraction for tourists who travel to the region purely to contemplate this nature.” Nature underpins all economic activity and according to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, nature’s contribution to global GDP was valued at US125 trillion in 2018.
While nature provides opportunities for considerable economic growth, DCNA believes that such growth should not be attained at the expense of natural assets. To protect its unique biodiversity, the Dutch Caribbean islands need to integrate sustainable development practices into policies and long-term plans. To achieve this, nature must be the point of departure in decision-making and in the creation of strategic plans.
During the recent convention in Curaçao, DCNA’s board renewed its commitment to intensify efforts to raise awareness of nature’s economic value, particularly among Dutch Caribbean governments. DCNA will also continue to engage the next generation in nature conservation discussions. Youth contribution is of great value, which is why DCNA has created a structural program for young people.
DCNA will also continue to encourage and facilitate credible scientific research, which is needed to navigate a future that will be shaped by climate change-induced challenges and crises. To achieve these important goals, DCNA will continue to build partnerships and raise funds. This is crucial, considering the challenges that resulted from the pandemic.
There is still a lot of work to be done, which is why close collaboration between the six Dutch Caribbean islands is of paramount importance. Mrs. Van der Wal believes the recent convention succeeded in strengthening existing relationships, but many challenges remain. “With the important changes we are making in our governance structure, we are equipping ourselves to better serve our Protected Area Management Organizations in their task to conserve nature and raise awareness. We also want to inform governments more effectively and will therefore continue working on strengthening our relationship and collaboration with the respective governments.” Van der Wal concludes emphasizing that “we cannot talk about sustainable development without talking about nature conservation.”
More information about the DCNA convention can be found on DCNA’s Facebook page: DutchCaribbeanNatureAlliance