On Saturday, June 18th 2022, State Secretary Her Excellency Drs. Alexandra van Huffelen visited the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) office in Bonaire. The DCNA made use of the opportunity to request her urgent attention to the conservation of the biodiversity hotspot in the “Kingdom of the Netherlands”. The six Dutch Caribbean Islands are well known for their beautiful and diverse nature, whilst at the same time its conservation has not been sufficiently addressed. The current support from the Netherlands is mainly directed to the BES islands.
And, as nature does not have any borders, it is of the utmost importance that the Kingdom provides support to all the six Dutch Caribbean Islands in nature conservation plans and projects such as DCNA’s Dutch Caribbean Climate Action Plan.
DCNA’s Treasurer, Mr. Norman Kuipéri, of the Aruba National Park Foundation, and board member Mr. Paul Stokkermans, of the Carmabi Foundation from Curaçao , together with DCNA’s Director, Mr. Tadzio Bervoets, gave a presentation to Her Excellency highlighting DCNA’s work, including the challenges and threats the Protected Area Management organizations on each of the islands are facing, in their efforts to conserve and safeguard nature in the Dutch Caribbean. The lack of sustainable funding, policy support, and adequate spatial planning hamper conservation management efforts. Amongst the most significant threats include poorly regulated (coastal) development, waste and wastewater management, as well as overgrazing, overfishing, the impact of invasive species, and of climate change (warming of the seas, changing weather patterns, and rising sea levels).
Constructive discussions were held on the above topics, including climate change, and DCNA’s Dutch Caribbean Climate Action Plan, which was launched in May of 2022. This plan provides concrete recommendations for all six islands on both climate adaptation and mitigation strategies in order to combat climate change effects. Sustainable development and combating climate change require an integrated approach that prioritizes protection of nature, energy independence, sustainable tourism, and a diverse blue economy. Most importantly, this needs to be a joint effort where the countries work together to strengthen each other’s effort and determination.