Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA): Lack of focus on nature conservation and climate change resiliency as part of corona crises response

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The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) is concerned about the support nature conservation and climate change is receiving as a part of the discussions within the Kingdom of the Netherlands for corona crises support to Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten. “We have been following the discussions between the governments within the Kingdom regarding the liquidity support to Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten very carefully and are concerned that within those discussions there seems to be a lack of consideration for the environment, nature conservation and climate resiliency on and for the islands,” commented the Interim Director of DCNA Tadzio Bervoets.

The conservation network, which provides support the Protected Area Management Organizations on all six islands of the Dutch Caribbean, is urging the Kingdom of the Netherlands to place emphasis and focus on environmental and climate resiliency considerations in the discussions centered on the liquidity support for Curacao, Sint Maarten and Aruba.

“DCNA has made extra financing available to CARMABI Curacao, Fundacion Parke Nacional di Aruba (FPNA) and the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation so that they may continue their critical role of conservation management of protected areas and ecosystems on the islands, but this will only be enough to provide operational support in the short term. The support for nature, environmental conservation and climate change resiliency should extend beyond the park management organizations and should be a part of the structural reforms on all three islands as we are adapting to a post pandemic reality,” continued Bervoets.

In the discussions surrounding liquidity support there have been no discussions or consideration given to the support or structural reform of environmental and climate policies on the three islands. The protection of natural areas and the associated critical ecosystems and habitats are crucial for the sustainable economic development of Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten, especially considering the severe economic impact the pandemic has had on communities at the highest risk of climate change impacts within the Dutch Kingdom. The placing of a greater focus on ensuring environmental sustainability and climate change resiliency should be a critical component of ensuring the economic resiliency of the Dutch Caribbean.

“There should be more focused discussions on working within the Kingdom on developing the tools necessary to respond to the myriad environmental issues that Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten face as small island developing states at the forefront of the climate change crises. This should include the support for sound wastewater management for example, or the development of strategies which will ensure the protection of habitat critical to mitigate the impacts of climate change. There should also be more consideration given to the providing of support for the implementation of a circular economy, making the islands more resilient to the external shocks which will be inevitable considering that the Dutch Caribbean is a climate change hotspot. The negative impacts associated with the climate crises has the potential to be more severe in terms of impacts to the islands as the Corona crises has been and as such, the conservation of natural resources should be central in the discussions on reform for the islands,” concluded Bervoets.