the Governor's Speeches

Back to Speeches Indexsep 06, 2021

Remarks by Governor Holiday on the occasion of IUCN World Conservation Congress

Dear participants and delegates to the IUCN World Conservation Congress,

It is with great pleasure that I deliver these brief remarks for the Dutch Caribbean Night at the IUCN Netherlands Pavilion.

While I would have preferred to address you in person, I am happy to bring you warm greetings from Sint Maarten’s rich natural environment, and at the same time in part showcase the subject of Dutch Caribbean conservation initiatives. 

The Dutch Caribbean is the biodiversity hotspot for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with some of the most beautiful, best run and well-managed protected areas in the region. There is a concerted effort, especially through the supporting efforts of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance, to ensure that the protected areas are sufficiently managed to conserve and protect the biodiversity of the Dutch Caribbean.

However, as is the case with so many around the world, conservation efforts have been made more challenging by the effects of the Corona Virus Pandemic. The pandemic has led to a drop in park visitations, resulting in a significant strain on the financial continuity of the Parks that depend heavily on a User Fee model for sustainable financing. This in addition to the significant impacts of Climate Change, of which we in the Caribbean are on the frontline.

We however remain optimistic because, in the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity. We have all heard of the effects the lockdown has had on nature; with ecosystems and species recovering after a short period of time, reinforcing the message that our actions can make a real difference. We have seen that there is a need for creative thinking in terms of the sustainable financing of protected areas, such as blue carbon offset schemes, benefitting both conservation initiatives and local economies.

It is against that backdrop that Bonaire’s Lt. Governor Reina, representatives of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance and of STINAPA will provide you with information on conservation efforts in the Dutch Caribbean.

I therefore look forward to hearing the results from your congress and hope to see you in St Maarten and the other islands of the Dutch Caribbean soon!

Thank you and may you have a fruitful and enjoyable congress.