Saba and St. Eustatius have already adopted the execution plans as part of the Nature and Environment Policy Plan Caribbean Netherlands (NEPP), but Bonaire still has to do so. Dutch caretaker Minister of Nature and Nitrogen Christianne Van der Wal-Zeggelink stated this in a letter that she sent to the Second Chamber of Dutch Parliament on Tuesday, in which she gave an update on the progress of the NEPP 2020-2030.
The objectives and milestones in the NEPP have been further worked out on local execution plans, whereby the islands, within the framework of the NEPP, have set their own priorities. The Island Councils of Saba and St. Eustatius have already approved these plans, but the Bonaire Island Council has not and is expected to do so before the end of 2023. The NEPP has two phases: 2020-2024 and 2025-2030. Late 2024, the evaluation of the first phase will take place. Initially, the Dutch government made 7.2 million euros available for the protection of nature and improvement of water quality. This amount was increased by 35 million euros in 2022 for the execution of the first phase. A multidisciplinary steering group with island and Dutch government representatives
is supervising the execution of the NEPP. Due to the limited capacity on the islands, the NEPP is executed in the form of a programme, with a programme manager for each island. Additional capacity was made available for the islands.
Aside from the environmental programmes for waste management and new regulations for businesses, two larger programmes were set up: the Nature Recovery Programme and the Water Programme for the marine environment.
In addition, there are projects that focus on agriculture, husbandry and fisheries to increase local food production, as well as waste management, enforcement, physical development and veterinary services for the animal husbandry sector. The majority of the programmes and projects started in the second half of 2022.
Seeing the limited human and financial capacity of the public entities Saba and St. Eustatius, Minister Van der Wal-Zeggelink promised to get in touch with these two islands to discuss additional financial means for effective nature management and to see which actions are necessary to strengthen the execution structure.
The minister announced that an agriculture and fisheries fund was being set up to give an impulse for the (small scale) agriculture and fisheries sector on the islands and to increase local food security.
Individual entrepreneurs will have access to the agriculture and fisheries fund which will become available in 2024. The fund is currently being developed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO, the Qredits Foundation and the public entities.
The Daily Herald.