The Nature Conservation Network Organization the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) hosted its biannual Board Meeting on Sint Maarten between March 14th to the 17th 2022. DCNA Board meetings are critical for discussing and strategizing on the most effective way to support protected area management organizations in the Dutch Caribbean. The DCNA board meeting is also an important opportunity for each of the Protected Area Management Organizations in the Dutch Caribbean- the Aruba National Parks Foundation (FPNA), STINAPA Bonaire, CARMABI Curaçao , Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF), Nature Foundation St. Maarten (NFSXM), St. Eustatius National Parks (STENAPA) – to collaborate, share resources and exchange information and ideas. Working together, each island can learn from the others, maximizing their successes and learning from the more challenging experiences.
After surviving the hardships of the last two years, Fundacion Parke Nacional Aruba (FPNA) has made the strategic decision to transition from a park management organization to a conservation management organization. To facilitate this transition, FPNA has created the first Multi-Annual Corporate Strategy 2022-2031 to increase effectiveness and efficiency for conservation, and a Sustainable Financing Plan 2022-2025 to diversify the income streams and become less dependent on park visitation and government subsidies.
STINAPA Bonaire was unable to attend this most recent board meeting, however you can find more information about their 2021 accomplishments in their Annual Report. A few of this year’s highlights include completing the fence around the Washington Slagbaai Park, renewing the internal fence between Slagbaai and Washington plantations and removing over 50% of the goats from within Slagbaai. In addition, staff capacity improved with the hiring of a new Education Assistant and more staff members qualifying as special police agents (BAVPOL) improving STINAPA’s ability to enforce rules and regulations within the nature parks.
The Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity (CARMABI) highlighted some big changes and impressive achievements for Curaçao. These included the declaration of a new marine park at East Point, as well as the opening of two new parks within Ramsar areas: the Rif Mangrove Park and National Park Rif St. Marie-Hermanus. Also highlighted was the recovery of vegetation and rebound of biodiversity for Christoffel Park.
In 2021, Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF) executed a number of important projects including a bird monitoring program to track local populations of tropicbirds as well as a coral-mapping survey at the newly proposed harbor construction site. SCF made great strides in establishing the ethno botanical garden in addition to the deployment of 95 artificial reef “Moreef” balls to help boost local coral reefs and accompany the next phase of the Diadema project. Lastly, renovations to build the new Saba Sea Lab have also started and will help build capacity on the island moving forward.
From cutting edge 3D models to innovative management techniques, 2022 poses to be an exciting year for St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA). An updated nature ordinance is under review which, if passed, will enhance protection of trees, habitats and species as well as ensure a better protection of local fishing grounds. In addition, improvements in water catchment area management will set an important foundation for a reduction of sedimentation into the marine environment.
Nature Foundation St. Maarten welcomed three new staff members, along with office renovations and improved finances and project funds, which will all serve as an important foundation for a productive 2022. Additionally, increased enforcement coupled with improved education and awareness campaigns (such as the In-No-Plastic project), nature conservation is off to a great start in 2022.