Natuurbeleid van de Nederlandse Antillen 2000 – 2005: Aan de dageraad van een nieuw millennium

Executive summary

Both in the ocean and on land the Netherlands Antilles possesses an enormous wealth in the diversity of its nature. Biological diversity, the diversity within and between species, de diversity of habitats and sufficient space to evolve are conditions for a healthy progression of natural processes. For a sustainable development of the Netherlands Antilles the present day generation needs to protect and conserve the biological diversity for future generations. Nature also has its own intrinsic value and people are increasingly realizing how essential nature is to human well-being. Simultaneously, the vulnerability of nature to human intervention— especially in a ‘Small Island Developing State’ such as the Netherlands Antilles— demands active intervention to conserve and protect nature.

This view is laid down in the National Nature Conservation Ordinance, which forms the legal basis for this policy document. In the document before you, “Nature Conservation Policy of the Netherlands Antilles—At the dawn of a new millennium. 2000-2005”, a policy is set out which aims to protect and conserve the biological diversity of the islands and their surrounding seas.

The Netherlands Antilles has sought participation in several treaties. As a consequence of the view outlined above it fully supports these treaties. On a national level the National Nature Conservation Ordinance sets out regulations to implement these treaties.

The proposed tools to safeguard biological diversity are—aside from the legal protection of areas and species—especially management models based on realistic situation assessments that acknowledge the important role humans play in the dynamics of nature. For large parts of nature it is impossible to exclude all human influences. Humans of course are also a part of nature and cannot survive without it. Therefore it is important to assure that all elements of that nature can function optimally. These ideas are set out in the ecosystem approach.

To achieve these goals a number of prior conditions are necessary. Comprehension and awareness of the functioning of nature are needed. By those directly involved with nature conservation, as well as by the population as a whole. Targeted research on nature and distribution of information and education to the general public aimed at mobilizing people in the conservation of nature is essential.

Effectuation of nature conservation in the Netherlands Antilles is the task of the island territories. The task of the central government is to oversee the implementation of the different treaties and conventions pertaining to nature conservation. In the National Nature Conservation Ordinance part of this task is delegated to the island territories. Aside from some tasks that are specific to the central government, the central government will mainly set the policy framework and support the island territories in the execution of their tasks, through guidelines and assistance, coordination of research and development of methods. In analogy to this national Nature Policy Plan, the islands will produce Island Nature Plans, which will subsequently be integrated into the national policy.

Finally, this document presents an overview of the planned activities and the necessary financial means.

Yearly, the progress of policy implementation will be evaluated and presented to the “Staten” of the Netherlands Antilles (National Parliament).

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