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Reviving Reefs: Insights from Recent Restoration Workshop.

This week, the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) hosted a Reef Restoration Workshop on Bonaire, bringing together over 20 experts in coral reef restoration. The event featured both in-person and virtual presentations, attracting over 150 participants. Topics ranged from fish reproduction to coral outplanting, fostering knowledge sharing and collaboration in efforts to safeguard the coral reefs.
Coral reefs are crucial to the health of the Dutch Caribbean islands and provide invaluable services to both marine life and human communities. They act as natural barriers, protecting coastlines from erosion and storm damage while also supporting fisheries and tourism sectors vital to the Dutch Caribbean’s economy and well-being.
Alongside global climate change, local issues such as unregulated coastal development, inadequate waste management, and invasive species contribute to reef degradation. Besides addressing these issues, reef protection and restoration are essential for building resilience against future stressors.
Workshop Highlights
From June 17-19, participants attended lectures and presentations to deepen their understanding of reef restoration techniques. Experts from the Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire, Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity (CARMABI), and SECORE International discussed coral restoration methods. The Coral Spawning Lab shared advancements in land-based coral spawning techniques. Van Hall Larenstein covered the restoration of native herbivores like sea urchins and snails, which help reduce harmful algae and improve coral survival. Diergaarde Blijdorp (Roffareefs) presented novel approaches to herbivorous fish reproduction. Additionally, MPAConnect/AGRRA shared insights from their Coral Restoration Roadmap Planning workshop in Florida.
Hands-On Learning
The workshop also included practical field activities led by Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire and Diergaarde Blijdorp (Roffareefs). Participants engaged in coral fragmentation and micro-propagation techniques, studied fish breeding behaviors, and took part in local reef restoration exercises. This combination of classroom and fieldwork equipped attendees to apply their skills to ongoing and future projects.
The Path Forward
Coral reefs are crucial to the health of the Dutch Caribbean islands. Coral reefs face threats from climate change, invasive species, pollution and overfishing. Tackling these issues alongside reef protection and restoration efforts is essential for enhancing the resilience of coral ecosystems against future stressors. DCNA's Conservation and Restoration of Key Habitats Program invites stakeholders across the Dutch Caribbean and beyond to join this vital initiative to safeguard biodiversity, enhance coastal resilience, and support sustainable livelihoods.
Stay up to date

The DCNA will publish a special edition of BioNews featuring articles and recordings of some presentations on workshop topics, providing in-depth insights and extending the knowledge shared during the event. Follow DCNA for updates via Facebook, Instagram or BioNews.


Multidisciplinary inspections on Saba and St. Eustatius.

SABA:--- In recent weeks, several multidisciplinary inspections were held in the ports of Saba and St. Eustatius. All arriving passengers, the luggage and the crew of the Makana Ferry were checked. The ferry was also checked.

Multidisciplinary checks have also taken place at two construction sites on Saba. During these checks, all employees present were checked for the correct residence documents, and signs of human trafficking were also examined.

These actions arise from the intention of the RIEC's cooperation partners to better tackle subversion* in the ports and in construction in the field of human trafficking and labor exploitation on the islands, respectively.

A multidisciplinary team, consisting of the Dutch Caribbean Police Force, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, Douane Caribbean Netherlands, the public entity Saba, the Coast Guard, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, supported by the RIEC CN (Regional Information and Expertise Center Caribbean Netherlands) carried out the checks.

No violations were found during the inspections and no fines were issued.

The RIEC CN plays a crucial role in tackling subversion* on Saba and St. Eustatius. Collaboration and sharing of information between different agencies increases the effectiveness of controls and interventions, with the aim of guaranteeing the safety and integrity of the port and construction.

RIEC CN is a partnership in which the RIEC CN is the linchpin with regard to connecting the chain partners. Amongst others through information exchange to tackle undermining crime, prevention and support in the preparation and implementation of joint inspections and actions.

*Criminals use legal companies and services for illegal activities. As a result, standards fade and the feeling of safety and quality of life decreases. This effect is also called subversion.

 

Grisha Steps in to Aid WINAIR Increase Flights to Curacao Amid JetAir Bankruptcy Impact.

PHILIPSBURG:--- Hundreds of passengers bound for St. Maarten are currently stranded in Curaçao because of the unexpected bankruptcy of JetAir, which was to fly them to Princess Juliana International Airport.
Numerous travelers in St. Maarten, eager to visit family and friends in Curaçao, have also been affected by JetAir's demise.
Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication Grisha Heyliger-Marten, swung into immediate action upon receiving information from the CEO of WINAIR regarding a critical situation affecting air travel between St. Maarten and Curaçao.
Heyliger-Marten right away reached out to Prime Minister Pisas and Minister Charles Cooper of Curaçao to seek their assistance in fast-tracking the necessary approval that would allow WINAIR to increase its flight frequency to Curacao with an additional four flights weekly.
The Curaçao Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) had indicated that it would take at least one week before a decision could be taken on WINAIR’s application to increase its flight frequencies to Curacao. This delay would compound the current void created by JetAir’s bankruptcy and would mean that the St. Maarten airline would not be able to increase its flights on this route until July 8 at the earliest.
WINAIR has been pressing for expedited approval due to the urgent need to address the travel disruption created by the failure of JetAir.
Many passengers who had bought tickets on JetAir, hoping to attend conferences and other events in St. Maarten, are finding it almost impossible to travel due to lack of airlift. The impact of this disruption extends even to the local economy, with a prominent resort already reporting a $20,000 loss in revenue for the week due to the interrupted travel plans.
Following her discussions with Minister Cooper, the latter agreed to temporarily allow the increase in WINAIR’s service to Curacao for 2 to 3 weeks. This decision will, in the meantime, enable WINAIR to operate the additional flights to Curaçao, thus alleviating the immediate travel issues until a permanent solution is reached.
According to Heyliger-Marten, the governments of St. Maarten and Curaçao are working closely to ensure a swift resolution of this matter, demonstrating a commitment to maintaining strong regional connectivity and supporting the needs of travelers and the economy of the islands.
Thanking Minister Heyliger-Marten for her prompt action in defense of WINAIR, the airline’s CEO, Hans van der Velde told her, “We will be able to change our schedule and facilitate four extra flights as per July 1, and possibly a few days before that date, if we get an answer today or tomorrow.”

 

Fostering Resilient Crisis Management (FRCM) Welcome Cocktail.

resembidbak20062024PHILIPSBURG:--- On June 18th, the welcome cocktail for the Fostering Resilient Crisis Management (FRCM) took place, welcoming focal points from the Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories, disaster management representatives from various islands, the Netherlands, and the European Union. The FRCM project, funded by the European Union RESEMBID program and implemented by VNG International, is in its final stage, ending with a closing conference on Resilient Crisis Management. The FRCM Project is a staple project for disaster risk management. Through this collaboration, the Government achieved the following results in the area of disaster risk management:
- Crisis Information Management: development of a net-centric crisis information management system;
- Training and Education: Training of Trainers training for internal as well as external stakeholders;
- Operations and Procedures: development of Standard Operating Procedures for the EOC, including crisis escalation structure;
- Regional Coordination: regional crisis coordination and development of the handbook introduction to a Host Nation Support – Reception Departure Center

Through initiatives such as the FRCM project, the Government of St. Maarten continues to strengthen St. Maarten’s disaster risk management system. The overall objective is to anchor the long-term resilience and self-sufficiency of the Government of St. Maarten in the field of crisis management. Additional results of this partnership (SDG SDG 17: partnerships for the goals) also include: updated disaster related legislation, updated ESF sector plans, trainings and operational support along with a long-term training and exercise plan. This project was programmed through the department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) along with the National Disaster Coordinator (NDC). This project supports NDV pillar 3: A Safe, Secured, Decisive and Independent Nation – Goal(s):
- 18: National security measures improved national security measures are in place to protect the lives and safety of the people of St. Maarten (SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities);
- 19: The impact of climate change addressed (SDG 13: Climate Action).

The FRCM project forms part of the Resilience Portfolio of the RESEMBID programme. Government will continue to strive for a comprehensive and robust disaster management system.

 

In support of the initiative of Irion, the faction is calling for an urgent meeting to amend budget for purchase of generators amid GEBE crisis. (UPDATED)

ardwellirion09062022PHILIPSBURG:--- 

The National Alliance (NA) has written to the Honorable Chairlady Wescot-Williams, President of Parliament, requesting an urgent public meeting to address the ongoing crisis at the utility company N.V. G.E.B.E. and the island's electricity generation.

In the letter, they express their dissatisfaction with the lack of clarity following a meeting on June 17th with the Prime Minister Dr. Luc Mercelina and other officials to discuss potential solutions for N.V. G.E.B.E. He states that the general public remains confused about the way forward and immediate next steps.

Irion strongly disagrees with the Prime Minister's assertion that renting a power barge, a proposed solution, is too expensive given the severity of the crisis. "I do not believe that any solution which can bring immediate relief should be deemed too expensive, without proper explanation of the determining factors." Irion writes.

As an alternative, the MP suggests using funds allocated for containerized generators to instead rent a power barge for six weeks while awaiting the purchase and installation of the generators. He proposes that N.V. G.E.B.E. can make a one-year payment plan with the government through the concession agreement.

The members of the National Alliance faction fully agree with the steps proposed by MP Irion to ensure a stable electricity supply for the island.

Irion is calling for the urgent convening of Parliament and requesting the attendance of the Prime Minister, the Minister of VROMI, the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of TEATT. The purpose is to discuss and amend the 2024 budget, specifically the capital expenditure, to facilitate the purchase of generators for N.V. G.E.B.E.

"The current crisis surrounding N.V. G.E.B.E. and the island's electricity generation has reached a critical point," Irion states in the letter. "With no immediate solution in sight, it is imperative that we take swift action to address this issue."

The MP emphasizes the urgency of the situation, citing the unbearable conditions faced by the population, especially during the summer months due to the heat.

Irion believes that convening the relevant Ministers in Parliament will expedite the necessary steps to resolve the crisis and ensure a swift resolution to this urgent issue, which is crucial for the well-being of the community.

The statement from Irion provides the key details from MP Irion's letter, highlighting his call for urgent action, his proposed solution, and the request for an emergency meeting of Parliament to address the N.V. G.E.B.E. crisis and amend the budget accordingly.


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