Position Regarding the Implementation of the Nature and Environmental Policy Plan
In early 2022, it was agreed that the Dutch government has reserved an additional 35 million euros for nature protection and environmental management in the Caribbean Netherlands. This amount will be made available for the Nature and Environmental Policy Plan Caribbean Netherlands 2020 – 2030. This is a plan for nature protection and environmental management that has been worked on for years by the public entities, ministries, and local nature protection organizations.
It stipulates, among other things, that the pressure on corals must be reduced so that the current coral reefs can recover. Pollution and the impact of climate change are among some of the factors that are endangering the survival of coral reefs, and thereby of tourism as well. Not only must the pressure on coral reefs be reduced, but due attention must also be given to the special and endangered terrestrial ecosystems, such as the dry tropical forest.
However, since the Nature and Environmental Policy Plan (NEPP) was written, now more than two years ago, little concrete action has been taken in Bonaire to protect and manage the island’s nature and environment better. Those who implement the NEPP have hardly been able to take steps to move from a management process to nature protection in action.
For proper implementation of the Nature and Environmental Policy Plan, there are two action points that need to be addressed.
First, the island government must establish the implementation agenda. This should state which actions, goals and priorities will be carried out and when in the coming years. It is essential that the island government takes control and responsibility for nature management on Bonaire. The second action point is that the local and national governments must provide clarity on how the budgets will be distributed for Bonaire. And how can we ensure that this money is used effectively as soon as possible?
More than two years after the Nature and Environment Policy Plan was published, there is no more time to lose. The urgency is high to do something, stop the deterioration of nature on Bonaire and start active nature restoration and environmental management. As nature organizations, we know what we need to do to protect nature on Bonaire and we are eager to do it. We are just asking for clarity and willingness from the government to quickly give the needed approvals and corresponding funds to be able to do so.