CURAÇAO — The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) held its 17th Board meeting on Curaçao October 16th – 18th. Special guests to the meeting included the Acting Governor of Curaçao, Adèle van der Pluym-Vrede; the Governor of St. Maarten, Mr. Holiday; the Queen’s General Secretary, Mr. Jaap Leeuwenburg; DCNA Patron, Mr. Jaime Saleh; Dutch representative for Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten, Mr. Gerard van der Wulp; and representatives of the Dutch Ministry of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation.
Left to Right: Acting Governor of Curaçao, Adèle van der Pluym-Vrede; DCNA Acting Chairman of the Board, Leendert van Driel; and the Governor of St. Maarten, Mr. Holiday
The bi-annual DCNA Board meeting presents a venue for the island organizations to come together, share and learn from each other while planning regional action forward.
DCNA is a nonprofit, regional network of conservation organisations with a common goal: to safeguard nature and promote sustainable management. The concept of DCNA was born in 2004 when the national parks of St. Eustatius ran out of money and were forced to close their doors. Every park management organisation on every island in the Dutch Caribbean then recognised that they could be next. That moment galvanized conservationists across the six islands. Overcoming their differences, in 2005 the parks came together to create a unified, umbrella organization with an unparalleled approach and a purpose that didn’t stop at any island’s shoreline.
The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance
Her Excellency Governor van der Pluym-Vrede welcomed the participants by expressing her support for the work of DCNA, “It is my pleasure to be present here at your meeting. I am aware of the importance of Caribbean nature, that it needs tending and protection and I am aware of the work DCNA does to preserve nature. I will support the work of DCNA wherever I can.”
Themes for this meeting included a review of DCNA’s Multiyear Plan and the development of a regional communication strategy. The participants also celebrated the launching of a new patrol vessel for the Saba Bank, the “Queen Beatrix” and the declaration of five National Parks: The Saba National Marine Park, The Saba Bank National Park, The Quill-Boven National Park, The St. Eustatius National Marine Park and the Bonaire National Marine Park.
“The Queen Beatrix” Patrol Boat official launch during the National Park declarations on Saba.
DCNA is breaking barriers – with the government, between islands and organizations – to lay the stepping-stones for a unified approach to nature conservation. By sharing resources, skills and experience, engaging park staff in joint projects and trainings, through lobbying, communications and fundraising, DCNA works to make sure that resources never again get in the way of park staff doing their jobs.
His Excellency Lt. Governor Holiday was attending his second consecutive DCNA Board Meeting, and stressed the importance of conserving the natural environment in the Dutch Caribbean, “I would like to emphasize the importance of nature on the Caribbean islands and that all levels of society should be aware of it. I am thankful for all the work DCNA does and the alliance DCNA makes between the islands. I continue to congratulate DCNA with the work it does and look forward to working together longer.”
CARMABI (Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity) hosted the meeting and invited the Board to meet in the storeroom of the beautifully renovated Savonet Museum and visit ruins in the Christoffel Park. Originally established in 1955 as a marine research institute, CARMABI now also manages many of the island’s protected areas as well as providing environmental education, advice and consulting services.
The Savonet Museum, Christoffel Park, Curaçao hosted day two of the Board Meeting.