Towards better climate change adaptation governance in Curaçao and Bonaire


This study addresses the governance around climate change policies in two small islands in the Southern Caribbean. Like many other small islands across the world it is becoming increasingly clear that they are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change like the increase in sea level rise, longer dry periods, loss of biodiversity, more extreme weather events (flooding and hurricanes) and increased fresh water demands (IPCC, 2014). To address such issues climate change adaptation policies will be necessary. The geographical focus of this research is the Southern Caribbean, specifically the islands of Curaçao and Bonaire. This study investigated what climate change adaptation policies are in place and could the policies be characterized as good governance? Policy documents were studied, and 22 semi-structured interviews were held with policy-makers and NGOs. First, a literature review of the concept of good governance was carried out to develop an analytical framework with principles and corresponding indicators for good governance. Second, the framework was applied to assess good governance in key climate policy documents of both islands. And third, the indicators of the framework were also used in the interviews with governmental stakeholders and NGOs, to assess from their perspectives good governance in climate policies. Curaçao and Bonaire have different jurisdictions, respectively an autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands and a Dutch municipality. Therefore, from a governance perspective it seemed interesting to compare both islands whether one jurisdiction is doing better than the other. The aims of the research are to reduce the knowledge gap on climate change adaptation in the Southern Caribbean, to develop a good governance framework, to assess good governance in climate change adaptation policies on both islands and to compare them. The last aim is what recommendations of enhancing good governance practices could be given. Results are that the developed analytical framework worked rather well and that the governance principles Transparency, Inclusiveness and Connectivity are relatively better in place than Accountability and Government Effectiveness. There are some differences between the islands but not striking.

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