The value of citizens in the Netherlands for nature in the Caribbean (policy brief)

Policy Brief


The Challenge
How important is the unique Caribbean environment for the Dutch citizen? How does one value the worth of these islands’ ecosystems to citizens of the Dutch mainland, even if these people will never visit these beautiful islands? Does the fact that the Caribbean Netherlands islands recently became special Dutch municipalities, while having to manage a huge nature area, create a sense of solidarity among the population of the Netherlands? These questions are addressed in an extensive case study with the aim to advice policy makers in the Netherlands about the level of public support for assisting the Caribbean Netherlands in their effort to sustainably manage their ecosystems.

The Approach
This study applied the contingent valuation method and choice experiments to determine the willingness-to-pay (WTP) for the nature conservation on the mainland and on the islands. Over 800 face-to-face interviews of people living in the Netherlands were conducted, and additional 500 respondents lled out an online survey.

Results & Recommendations
The most notable result is that Dutch mainland citizens have a positive WTP for protecting nature on both sides of the ocean. Individual’s initial value on the environment as a whole and their level of consumer con dence in economy were strong explanatory variables in deriving their WTP. Despite a negative perception
of Dutch economic prospects, respondents nonetheless placed signi cant emphasis on environmental protection. After adjusting for preference and payment uncertainty of the respondent, the aggregated monthly amount for the non-use value of nature protection in the mainland Netherlands and the Caribbean Netherlands is estimated at €34 million and €17 million, respectively. Raising awareness that 20,000 inhabitants of the Caribbean Netherlands are in no position to fundamentally support the level of nature conservation that is needed is an important rst step to take. 

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