This last year has provided a number of challenges for the Protected Area Management Organizations of the Dutch Caribbean. These parks have not only had to withstand increased pressures of climate change and deteriorating environmental conditions but also the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The severely underfunded parks almost did not survive the COVID crisis. The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) is looking to hire a staff member, generously funded by BirdLife Netherlands, to focus on increasing fundraising capacity for Dutch Caribbean biodiversity conservation. The protection of natural areas is crucial for the sustainable economic development of the islands to recover from the pandemic and to withstand the impacts of climate change.
The Protected Area Management Organizations of the Dutch Caribbean play a vital role in designing, implementing, and managing nature conservation efforts. Due to COVID-19, all Protected Area Management Organizations in the Dutch Caribbean have seen both a significant drop in income due to the disappearance of user fees, but also due to the non-consideration by local, national, and kingdom governments on structural funding for the execution of their critical conservation work. This has resulted in the real possibility of Protected Area Management Organizations having to scale back or cease operations.
The protection of natural areas and the associated critical ecosystems and habitats are crucial for the sustainable economic development of the islands, especially considering the severe economic impact the pandemic has had on communities at the highest risk of climate change impacts within the Dutch Kingdom.
The DCNA conservation network provides support to the Protected Area Management Organizations on all six islands of the Dutch Caribbean: Aruba National Parks Foundation, STINAPA Bonaire, CARMABI Curaçao, STENAPA St. Eustatius, the Saba Conservation Foundation, and the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation. Organizations, including DCNA, have been able to provide emergency funding through DCNA’s Conservation Trust Fund to the parks to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. But this is only enough to provide operational support in the short term. DCNA also created a Fundraising Committee to help bridge financial gaps. However, there is a need for a dedicated staff member to execute and coordinate fundraising activities as outlined by the Fundraising Committee. The parks require long-term, consistent funding to ensure they are able to plan for and enact critical conservation strategies for years to come.
Fortunately, BirdLife Netherlands has generously agreed to fund a position at the DCNA Secretariat to focus on building funding capacity for biodiversity conservation within the Dutch Caribbean. This individual will work within the DCNA Secretariat as the Senior Fundraising Officer and will be responsible for developing sustainable funding solutions for these parks. The new staff member individual will have the unique opportunity of designing and implementing a network of support, integrating stakeholders, donors, and policymakers together.
The vacancy announcement is expected to be published soon. All interested applicants should follow along on DCNA’s social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram) and website (https://dcnanature.org/news/) for updates on the position as they are made available.