The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-NL) are pleased that protection for nature in the Caribbean Netherlands has been included in the budget by the cabinet for the coming governmental term. Last week it was announced that the government wants to allocate an additional 35 million euros for nature in the Caribbean Netherlands, as was included in the coalition agreement.
More than 35 million euros will be made available for the implementation of the Nature and Environmental Policy Plan (NEPP) in the Caribbean Netherlands. This NEPP is an ambitious program for nature and the environment that runs through 2030. In addition to the contribution for nature, the coalition agreement also includes a structural budget of 30 million euros per year to protect culture and nature in the Caribbean Netherlands. This can be used to tackle long-term issues such as wastewater treatment and waste disposal.
“We are extremely grateful that ten million has been reserved in the budget for strengthening the management of nature parks on Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius,” said Tadzio Bervoets, director of DCNA, the umbrella organization for all national parks on the six Dutch Caribbean islands. “This shows once again the importance that parks have in preserving nature on and around our islands. Hopefully this will lead to a long-term and structural reinforcement of the nature parks, not only in the Caribbean Netherlands, but also in the future for Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.”
“With this money, serious steps can be taken to protect vulnerable biodiversity,” said Arjan de Groene, Landscape Coordinator of the Caribbean Netherlands, for WWF-NL. “We are happy to work with the Minister and the local administrators and organizations on a proper implementation of this budget. It would be great if we can have a conversation about this in the short term.”
Nature in the Caribbean part of the kingdom has been declining for years. On land, nature has been damaged by erosion and increased building construction, and under water the reefs are strongly deteriorated due to pollution and climate change. This new budget is therefore desperately needed to improve the overhall health of nature.