Advisory report Climate roundtable handed over
Under instruction from the cabinet and the Executive Council of Bonaire, Quartermaster Ed Nijpels examined the best way for a climate roundtable to be set up on Bonaire. He handed over his findings to deputy Governor Oleana, the department of commissioner Thielman and minister of Climate and Energy, Rob Jetten. He advises setting up a single central platform for the climate strategy on Bonaire (climate roundtable), where all relevant knowledge about climate mitigation (reducing greenhouse gases) and climate adaptation (adapting to the changing climate) is united.
Participants in this roundtable must define an approach that results in a Bonaire Climate Agreement. The Public Entity of Bonaire and the cabinet both welcome this advice. The cabinet would like to thank Mr. Nijpels and will provide a comprehensive response to the advisory report after the summer.
Advisory report ‘It is never too late’
In this report called ‘It is never too late’, quartermaster 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 a 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 to compile policy that is in keeping with the Caribbean context and policy objectives when it comes to nature restoration and spatial planning.
Background advisory report Bonaire 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 thus worked with the public entity of Bonaire (OLB) to ask Ed Nijpels to examine the best way to set up the Bonaire climate roundtable.
Saba and Sint Eustatius
The flooding-related challenges faced by Saba and Sint Eustatius are less significant than those faced by Bonaire, but changes in the climate will increase other risks, like those of tropical storms. While large amounts of sustainable electricity is available on both islands, and there are advanced plans to become 90% sustainable, the islands still face challenges. On Sint-Eustatius, the biggest concerns relate to energy, water and large-scale erosion. On Saba, focus primarily lies on land and sea-based nature restoration and preservation, improving self-sufficiency and developing sustainable food production. Considering the environment and the nature of the climate problem, as well as the limited population on Sint Eustatius and Saba, Ed Nijpels recommends setting up a Climate Agenda under the supervision of an independent expert, with support from the ministries in The Hague and in consultation with executive councils and public organisations for both islands.
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, which will be released after the summer. This response will involve addressing the role of the chairman, the required capacity and support, and the proposed approach for Saba and Sint Eustatius.
Explainer of contents appendix:
Aim: Prepare Bonaire climate agreement before the 1st of January 2024.
Bonaire climate roundtable
1. Formulate agreements
2. Identify missing knowledge
3. Encourage public dialogue
4. Monitor and advise about progress
1. Mitigation agenda
The mitigation roundtable primarily involves reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
2. Adaptation agenda
The adaptation agenda primarily relates to making Bonaire climate-proof.
Governance climate roundtable
1. Tourism – resorts and hotels;
2. Tourism – small and medium-sized enterprises (SME's);
3. Air transport, cruises and shipping;
4. Developed environments (contractors and construction companies)
5. Mobility (yet to be determined);
6. Energy generation and distribution;
7. Nature and environmental organisations; and
8. Central dialogue
2. Ministry of Economic Affairs;
3. Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management;
4. Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality;
5. Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the kingdom relations directorate as well as the VRO board);
6. The Delta commissioner; and
7. The RCN