National Parks Bonaire Foundation STINAPA giving Princess Beatrix a tour of Washington Slagbaai National Park during her visit to Bonaire in 2018. Photo by Kerenza Rannou.
BONAIRE--Nature organisations in the Dutch Caribbean play a critical role in managing the islands’ natural resources but may not survive the COVID-19 crisis, warned Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) in a recent memo to its patroness, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands.
The memo updated the Princess on the state of the Dutch Caribbean’s six nature management organisations and their financial challenges as a result of the pandemic.
The six organisations are Aruba National Parks Foundation, National Parks Bonaire Foundation STINAPA, Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity CARMABI Curaçao, St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation STENAPA, Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF), and St. Maarten Nature Foundation.
The memo argued that the quality of nature in the Dutch Caribbean is deteriorating “on all fronts” and that existing efforts and its associated financing have not been able to halt the decline.
According to DCNA, the nature management organisations are severely underfunded and may not survive the COVID-19 crisis.
“All protected area management organisations in the Dutch Caribbean have seen both a significant drop in income due to the disappearance of user fees, but also due to the non-consideration by local, national, and kingdom governments on structural funding for the execution of their critical conservation work. This has resulted in the real possibility of protected area management organisations having to scale back or cease operations,” said DCNA.
There is a need for a coordinated, kingdom-wide effort for the conservation of nature in the Dutch Caribbean, said DCNA, adding that this region is the “biodiversity hotspot of the kingdom”.
The memo urges governments to provide structural financial support to the organisations so they can “continue their vital work of safeguarding nature in the Dutch Caribbean.”
DCNA hopes that discussions regarding liquidity support and financial relief packages to the islands will also include funding for nature management organisations.
“Protection, management and conservation of the Dutch Caribbean’s vitally important natural resources will be critical to repairing damaged economies after the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DCNA.