Minister Christianne van der Wal visits Caribbean region of the Kingdom

THE HAGUE – The Minister for Nature and Nitrogen, Christianne van der Wal, will be visiting the Caribbean region of the Kingdom between the 3rd and 8th of October 2023. From the 8th to the 12th of October, Minister van der Wal will be represented by the Director General of Nature and Fisheries, Donné Slangen.

Her trip relates to the Nature and environment policy plan Caribbean Netherlands 2020-2030, as well as the international conference on Aruba about protecting biodiversity in the Caribbean region, but will also focus on improving cooperation between the countries of the Kingdom. 

While in the region, the minister will be visiting Bonaire and Aruba. Additionally, the Director General will  visit Saba and Sint Eustatius. During her visit, she would like to see how nature on the islands is fairing, and will speak to stakeholders about progress in the Nature and Environment Policy Plan and how it is being executed. On Aruba, she will take part in the ministerial segment of the Cartagena Convention meeting for the protection of biodiversity in the Caribbean region. 

Program details

Some of the program highlights have been mentioned below.

The working visit will start on Bonaire, where the minister will visit the mangrove region and the reforestation locations. She is looking forward to a visit to the ‘Plantage Fontein, a good example of nature development on Bonaire. 

On Aruba, the minister hopes, together with ministers from Sint Maarten, Curaçao and Aruba, to sign a collaboration agreement in the field of agriculture, nature, veterinary matters and international affairs. The three countries will be sharing knowledge and cooperating during e.g. research studies and international meetings, and when compiling a National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan for executing international agreements that were made during the COP15 Biodiversity Conference in Montréal in December 2022. 

While on Aruba, minister Van der Wal will also take part in the COP-17 High Level Session of the Cartagena Convention. This convention aims to protect marine biodiversity in the Caribbean region by, for example, designating protected areas as well as protected plant and animal species. The minister will also support a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) about introducing a coordination mechanism for improving integral ocean management in the Caribbean region. 

On Saba, the Director General will open a wet laboratory as part of the coral restoration project on behalf of the minister. This project is part of the Nature and environment policy plan as well as the executive agenda for Saba. St. Eustatius will also use the laboratory when executing its local coral restoration project.  

The working visit to the Caribbean Netherlands will be concluded with a visit to St. Eustatius, where attention will be given to issues like erosion (e.g. due to free-grazing goats), reforestation and coral restoration.

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