Minister Schouten and Island Governor Rijna to open new DCNA office

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KRALENDIJK — The Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Carola Schouten, will open a new office for the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance during her working visit to Bonaire, together with Island Governor Edison Rijna. DCNA is honored by this important visit and will use the opportunity to advocate the involvement of every Dutch Caribbean island in projects and plans for nature conservation in the Kingdom’s beautiful backyard.

Urgent call for support to all islands
The Dutch Caribbean islands have many natural habitats such as coral reefs, mangrove forests, seagrass beds, tropical cloud and rain forests, and caves with a high level of biodiversity (number of plant and animal species). These habitats are under immense human pressure, which is translated into fragile ecosystems with many endangered species. Nature management organizations are in dire need of additional support from the island and Dutch governments and Europe to be able to protect this precious nature.

“The challenges we face are immense. And those challenges don’t only apply to Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius, which have become special municipalities within the Netherlands since 2010. Our sister islands Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are also facing these challenges, as well as the rest of the Caribbean,’’ explains DCNA Chairwoman Hellen van der Wal.

‘’If the problems we face are similar and correlated, why wouldn’t we look for solutions together? After all, we are one Kingdom! It seems to be a logical conclusion, but unfortunately, reality is more complicated than that, because the former Netherlands Antilles was dissolved. The Kingdom of the Netherlands now consists of the Netherlands, the public entities Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius (the so-called BES islands, which are part of the Netherlands on a constitutional level), and three autonomous countries, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. We’ve seen a lot of financial support and project proposals for the BES islands.

We are advocating to include the three autonomous islands in all projects and plans involving nature conservation. At their own costs if necessary or via alternative financing. DCNA is more than willing to play a mediating role.’’

Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance
DCNA is a non-profit foundation that has been working with dedicated nature management organizations on the six Dutch Caribbean islands Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten since 2005 to protect biodiversity and stimulate sustainable nature conservation. By working together and sharing skills, knowledge and resources, the DCNA is able to maintain a solid network and support nature conservation in the entire Dutch Caribbean. DCNA also provides the parks with sustainable financial resources. The collaboration of the six Caribbean islands, as part of DCNA, is unique for the Kingdom and, according to Hellen van der Wal, many other authorities and organizations can learn from this example.

Opening New Office
The DCNA is honored that Minister Schouten and Island Governor Rijna recognize the importance of the DCNA’s regional partnership and that they are willing to officially open the new office. During this opening, DCNA’s new director, Mr. Tadzio Bervoets, will also be introduced. DCNA’s secretariat is located in Bonaire and has recently moved to a new location at Kaya Nikiboko Zuid 56. q