Our 2013 Annual Report is now available for download.
Read the cover story below, written by our Chairperson, Leendert van Driel.
Creating Long-term, Sustainable Funding to Safeguard Nature Remains Key Priority.
A landmark for nature conservation in 2013 was the publishing of the long-awaited Caribbean Netherlands Nature Policy Plan by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. This framework document, which forms the basis for island nature policy plans, was developed with considerable grassroots input from all islands.
We continue to be grateful to the Dutch Postcode Lottery and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, which between them not only provide the core funding for our activities, but also make significant annual contributions to the capitalisation of DCNA’s endowment trust fund. The end of the year brought welcome news on the endowment, with the combined portfolios yielding a dollar- based net gain of 10% on investment, approximately $1.2 million.
Financial support from the Netherlands for nature conservation in the Caribbean Netherlands islands has been considerable:
- In 2012 the Dutch government announced its intention to provide €7.5 million to address “essential overdue nature maintenance.” Discussions continued through 2013, and project funding should reach the islands by mid-2014.
- The Dutch Ministry of Economics funds and supports the management of the Dutch Caribbean Exclusive Economic Zone with an emphasis on the protection and management of the unique offshore atolls of the Saba Bank.
- The Dutch Ministry of Education provided funding to establish the Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute on St. Eustatius. The institute will open in April 2014.
- The Dutch Science Institute announced €5 million in NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) funding for original research in the Dutch Caribbean and beyond.
- The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs funded several policy- supporting (“Beleids Ondersteunende”) projects that were carried out by Dutch science institutions including IMARES and Alterra.
However, financial stability for conservation organisations in the Dutch Caribbean remains dire, particularly on the Windward Islands. Discussions within the Board in 2013 reaffirmed our position that DCNA is unable to take fiscal responsibility for nature conservation.
This responsibility lies firmly with the governments of the islands and the Dutch Netherlands. The DCNA emergency fund, which was created to provide a buffer for the parks by means of interest free loans, has continued to be necessary. However, is little more than a stopgap.
Sporadic funding from the Netherlands and money for research projects, as welcome as they are, do not begin to provide the parks with a sustainable funding future. While from 2016 onwards DCNA’s endowment could provide some funding relief, without a significant cash injection the fund will be unable to cover the bare operational management costs on each island as was originally envisaged.
Together with World Wildlife Fund Netherlands (WNF) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, DCNA began work on a project that will be executed by renowned conservation finance expert Dr. Barry Spergel to develop a road map to a sustainable funding future.
Within DCNA, strengthening our Board of Directors continues to be a priority. In addition to the former director of Maduro and Curiel’s Bank, Mr. Ron Gomes Casseres, who joined the Board early in 2012, the appointment in 2013 of Mr. Glenn Thode will give a tremendous boost to board capacity. A lawyer by training and currently rector of the University of Aruba, Mr. Thode also is the former Island Governor of Bonaire.
In 2013, Mr. Gomes Casseres spearheaded an initiative to bring DCNA’s statutes up-to-date, improving membership, streamlining the statutes, and ensuring that they adhere to good governance practices.
Throughout the year, DCNA brought a high level of support and leadership to nature conservation in the region, and we will continue to provide a platform from which islands are able to work together, pooling resources and expertise to build a sustainable future for nature management in the Dutch Caribbean.