Trust Fund Study
The Dutch Caribbean contains some of the richest biodiversity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The diverse ecosystems are a magnet for tourism and serve as a significant source of income for the islanders. Nature conservation is not a luxury, but an essential part of the Dutch Caribbean’s sustainable economic and social development.
Providing sustainable and regular funding to cover the operating costs of the organizations managing the marine and terrestrial protected areas on the six islands has proven to be a challenge as the funds strongly depend on one-time project subsidies, limited ad hoc financial assistance from local government authorities and fluctuating revenues from tourism.
These uncertainties made it virtually impossible for park management organizations to draft long-term plans, create systematic protected area management structures (including the recruitment and retention of qualified personnel from the local community and elsewhere), and even threatened the very survival of some organizations. Since 1998 the conservation organizations and the Antilles Environment and Nature Department have therefore argued for the establishment of a Trust Fund as one of the most appropriate sustainable strategies for resolving this financial impasse.
After a study positively assessed the feasibility of a Trust Fund, the fund was created accordingly in 2006. The DCNA conservation Trust Fund is intended to eventually provide enough revenue to cover essential operational support for each of the island Protected Area Management Organizations. A Trust Fund Committee was created by DCNA and provides coordination, leadership and decision making power throughout this process.
Until 2016, through a 10-year subsidy agreement, the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations contributed €750,000 annually to the Conservation Trust Fund. In 2009, DCNA became a beneficiary of the Dutch Postcode Lottery and from each annual donation a proportion went into the Trust Fund (until 2018). The target capital of the trust fund has however not yet been reached.