Kick off project “What’s Bonaire Nature Worth?”
The project “What’s Bonaire Nature Worth” was kicked off. Island Governor, Glenn Thode, together with Commissioner Delno Tromp (Nature and Economic Affairs) kicked off the research of the value of nature for the economy of Bonaire. Working together on this study are the RCN, STINAPA, Bonaire, Department for Physical Planning and Management, Tourism Corporation Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean Central Bureau of Statistics, Vrije Univesitetit of Amsterdam, the University of Wageningen and Advice Bureau WKICS. The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation is financing this study which is very important for Bonaire. Besides, the World Nature Fund and IUCN Netherlands Committee are also supporting this project.
Bonaireis dependant on its nature. There are no divers without coral reefs, no protection against storms with dead coral, small growth of the fish population without mangroves. If the contribution of nature to the economy of Bonaire is not included in decision making, then nature will suffer as a consequence of those decisions. Currently a hotel with a white sand beach can offer money and jobs, but this hotel with a white sand beach could have a negative influence on the coral in the future, which causes divers to stay away. Hurricanes can also cause great damage to the hotel and surrounding areas. This eventually means a loss of many more jobs and money. By placing a financial and social value on the contribution of nature we will have a better idea what the consequences can be in the future. This project helps to gain that insight.
Workshop and survey among 400 residents
The project starts with an introduction and training about how to value social and economic services of nature. Subsequently a survey will be conducted to research the perception of nature among 400 residents of Bonaire. The results of the project will be used to provide policymakers with the correct information and analysis. When projects are being evaluated on their contribution to the economy of Bonaire, nature will also be included in this. The island can then make better choices as to whether a construction project is contributing to the welfare of Bonaire on the long term . Also, it will be noted whether the implementation of certain measures for nature conservation contributes to a sustainable Bonaire.
The economy of Bonaire is heavily dependent on nature services, at sea and on land. Despite having the protected areas of Bonaire, there is lots of pressure on nature because of the changing climate, real estate development and pollution. Because the worth which nature offers the community of Bonaire is not expressed in terms of money, this matter is not included when making economic policy decisions. Our nature does not have a market price, while it is precisely important for Bonaire to include the contribution of nature to our economy in development plans of the island. Only in this manner can Bonaire have a sustainable existence.