The Nature Funding Projects
In the wake of the constitutional change in 2010, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs (now the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature & Food Quality) proposed a special funding allocation to the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius) as part of the so-called ‘spring agreement’. Whilst the spring agreement was cut, an amount of $9.8 million was subsequently reserved over a period of four years for the Caribbean Netherlands intended for overdue maintenance of nature, in particular for projects targeting coral reef restoration, sustainable use of nature and the synergy of sustainable use of nature in combination with agriculture and tourism. These funds have come to be known as the “Nature Funds” or “Natuurgelden”.
The funding was provided to the island governments of the Caribbean Netherlands. Only they could make proposals. The island governments sought out projects based on consultation with nature organizations and/or their own policy priorities. Proposals were reviewed by an independent advisory committee in the Netherlands, consisting of Dr Pieter van Beukering, Mr Leendert van Driel and Mr Toon van Asseldonk, before being presented to the State Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture for approval.
The Nature Fund got off to a slow start as both the formulation of proposals and process of review, selection and contracting took a lot of time, and many of the original funding proposals did not meet the criteria and had to be modified or amended. Nevertheless, between October 2013 and October 2017 a total of 23 projects were approved and are in various stages of implementation: 10 on Bonaire, 7 on Saba and 6 on St. Eustatius.
The final date for implementation of the projects was extended to the 1st of October 2019. In this Special Edition “BioNews” is proud to present updates on the Nature Funding projects and achievements.