DCNA produces Natural Disaster Response Manual for Dutch Caribbean protected areas

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KRALENDIJK, BONAIRE — The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) recently released its Disaster Risk Mitigation Manual to be used by the Park Management Organizations to lessen the impacts of weather-related disasters on nature protected areas. The Manual, developed by contractors Nature2 and Parks Work, is a result of the experiences had by the Park Management Organizations on Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten during the disastrous 2017 Hurricane Season.

This Natural Disaster Response Manual was produced for the Dutch Caribbean islands of Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten after those islands were heavily impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. The manual is heavily based on the experiences of the Park Management Organizations the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation (NFSXM), the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF) and STENAPA St. Eustatius and aims to give the tools necessary to effectively respond to natural disasters in terms of preparation, response and restoration. The funding for the manual is part of the emergency financial support given to the NFSXM, SCF and STENAPA by the DCNA Trust Fund as a response to the 2017 Hurricane Season.

The Manual provides guidance on how to deal effectively with hurricanes and severe weather events from a natural resource management perspective. The need for response protocols for similar events, such as sargassum influx and pandemics, was identified by managers and space has been left for such additional protocols to be included. The Manual acts as a tool to assist park managers and staff with disaster management, preparation, response and recovery. The content includes details on planning and preparing for a severe weather event, assessing the impact on natural resources and how to deal with response, recovery and restoration.

“This manual will greatly increase the response capacity of the NFSXM, the SCF and STENAPA St. Eustatius to respond to natural disasters. Even from my own personal experience before, during and after the passage of Hurricane Irma and Maria and the way the Nature Foundation responded this is a critical tool for ensuring adequate, safe and structured response, also in terms of giving the financial and capacity support necessary to the organizations in the absence of a government structure in the aftermath of a major storm,” commented former Manager of the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation and current Director of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance Tadzio Bervoets.

About DCNA

DCNA is a non-profit organisation created to protect the natural environment and to promote sustainable management of natural resources on the six Dutch Caribbean islands. The Dutch Caribbean consists of the Windward Islands of St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius and the Leeward Islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. The pristine nature of the Dutch Caribbean contains the richest biodiversity in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The diverse ecosystems are a magnet for tourism and at the same time the most important source of income for the islanders. Nature on the islands is unique and important but it is also fragile. The lack of sustainable funding, policy support and adequate spatial planning pose the most significant threats.

DCNA’s mission is to safeguard nature in the Dutch Caribbean by helping and assisting the Protected Area Management Organizations -Aruba National Parks Foundation, STINAPA Bonaire, CARMABI Curaçao, STENAPA St. Eustatius, the Saba Conservation Foundation and the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation. DCNA’s goals are: (1) Support and assist the Protected Area Management Organizations to secure sustainable sources of funding for nature conservation (2) Promote and facilitate permanent dialogue, knowledge exchange, training and cooperation between the Protected Area Management Organizations and to strengthen their nature management activities. (3) Promote and represent nature conservation in the Dutch Caribbean, nationally and internationally. (4) Provide online access to information related to biodiversity and conservation management and encourage information exchange. (5) Promote educational outreach and public awareness.

Check DCNA’s Dutch Caribbean Natural Disaster Response Manual: https://www.dcnanature.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/DCNA-DisasterManual.pdf.