Saba, Statia further ahead with nature plan execution

Saba and St. Eustatius have already adopted the execution plans as part of the Nature and En­vironment Policy Plan Carib­bean Netherlands (NEPP), but Bonaire still has to do so. Dutch caretaker Minister of Nature and Nitrogen Christi­anne Van der Wal-Zeggelink stated this in a letter that she sent to the Second Cham­ber of Dutch Parliament on Tuesday, in which she gave an update on the progress of the NEPP 2020-2030.

Ships must go around the protected reef and marine park.

The objectives and mile­stones in the NEPP have been further worked out on local execution plans, whereby the islands, within the framework of the NEPP,  have set their own priorities. The Island Councils of Saba and St. Eustatius have al­ready approved these plans, but the Bonaire Island Coun­cil has not and is expected to do so before the end of 2023. The NEPP has two phases: 2020-2024 and 2025-2030. Late 2024, the evaluation of the first phase will take place. Initially, the Dutch govern­ment made 7.2 million euros available for the protection of nature and improve­ment of water quality. This amount was increased by 35 million euros in 2022 for the execution of the first phase. A multidisciplinary steering group with island and Dutch government representatives

is supervising the execution of the NEPP. Due to the lim­ited capacity on the islands, the NEPP is executed in the form of a programme, with a programme manager for each island. Additional ca­pacity was made available for the islands.

Aside from the environ­mental programmes for waste management and new regulations for businesses, two larger programmes were set up: the Nature Recovery Programme and the Water Programme for the marine environment.

In addition, there are proj­ects that focus on agriculture, husbandry and fisheries to in­crease local food production, as well as waste manage­ment, enforcement, physical development and veterinary services for the animal hus­bandry sector. The major­ity of the programmes and projects started in the second half of 2022.

Seeing the limited human and financial capacity of the public entities Saba and St. Eustatius, Minister Van der Wal-Zeggelink promised to get in touch with these two islands to discuss additional financial means for effective nature management and to see which actions are neces­sary to strengthen the execu­tion structure.

The minister announced that an agriculture and fish­eries fund was being set up to give an impulse for the (small scale) agriculture and fisher­ies sector on the islands and to increase local food secu­rity.

Individual entrepreneurs will have access to the ag­riculture and fisheries fund which will become available in 2024. The fund is cur­rently being developed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO, the Qredits Foundation and the public entities.

The Daily Herald.

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