KRALENDIJK – Special Envoy Edison Rijna has briefed the Dutch State Secretary for Kingdom Relations and Digitalization, Alexandra van Huffelen, on his activities since his appointment on April 18. The report provides insight into Rijna’s approach to the European Union, the United Nations, and economic development in collaboration with Latin America and the Caribbean, focusing on Caribbean Netherlands.
The report reveals that Envoy Rijna engaged in extensive discussions with relevant organizations, both within and outside the Kingdom, ranging from ministries to EU institutions. The purpose of these discussions was to establish relations and explore untapped opportunities for economic development on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba.
Additionally, Rijna held comprehensive discussions with administrators and Island Councils in Caribbean Netherlands regarding the objectives of the diplomatic mission, the priorities and expectations of the islands, and the optimal structuring of mutual cooperation. The diplomatic mission will initially concentrate on five essential areas for Caribbean Netherlands: climate change, connectivity, food security, sustainable energy sources, and economic diversification.
State Secretary Van Huffelen emphasizes, “The diplomatic mission has one clear goal: to contribute to the sustainable economic development of Caribbean Netherlands. Sustainable growth is crucial to increase the livelihood security of current and future generations on the islands. It presents an opportunity to more effectively advocate the interests of Caribbean Netherlands within the EU, UN, and the region, and to increase the use of potential funds by the islands.”
Envoy Rijna adds, “From my discussions, it became apparent that there is generally insufficient awareness of what can be done for the islands. There is a lack of knowledge about the islands and their constitutional position, and vice versa: what the islands can mean, for instance, for the EU and EU institutions. One of our initial tasks is to ensure that Caribbean Netherlands becomes more visible on the map.”