Bonaire advised to set up a climate roundtable.
As a small and low-lying island, Bonaire is extremely vulnerable to the negative impact of climate change, which includes flooding, heavy rainfall, extended periods of hot weather, and deterioration and loss of coral reefs. An increase in sea levels could result in low-lying and primarily uninhabited parts of Bonaire (the Salinas) becoming flooded by 2050. By 2150, built-up areas like the capital Kralendijk and Belnem will also be at risk.
While the Caribbean Netherlands is not legally obligated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and because the Paris Climate Agreement and national Climate Law only relate to the European Netherlands, Bonaire has the ambition of playing a role in the prevention of climate change. The cabinet wholeheartedly supports this ambition and has worked with the public entity of Bonaire (OLB) to ask Ed Nijpels to examine the best way to set up the Bonaire climate roundtable.
It is never too late.
In this report called ‘It is never too late’, Nijpels advises setting up a Bonaire climate roundtable that will result in a Bonaire climate agreement. The roundtable has two objectives: to establish specific agreements about making the island of Bonaire sustainable and to make the island tougher and more resilient against current and future climate change. The roundtable should be supervised by an independent chairman and should bring together representatives of the various government bodies, main sectors, and NGO’s on the island.
The Bonaire climate roundtable would serve four purposes: formulate agreements to achieve a climate agreement, identify missing knowledge, encourage public dialogue, and monitor progress. In a more general sense, Ed Nijpels recommends not seeing climate policy separately from the socio-economic challenges faced by the Caribbean Netherlands, and compiling policy that is in keeping with the Caribbean context and policy objectives when it comes to nature restoration and spatial planning.
The OLB and the cabinet warmly welcome the advice and have the explicit intention of setting up the Bonaire climate roundtable. That being said, one of the conclusions of the advisory report is that a number of prerequisites must be met in order to ensure a successful start. That is why the cabinet is working on a comprehensive cabinet response to the advisory report. The response will involve addressing the role of the chairman, the required capacity and support, and the proposed approach for Saba and Sint Eustatius.