The Democratic Party D66 in the European Parliament has been successful in securing funding for nature and environment of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, reports The Daily Herald. The three public entities will be able to tap into the funds per 2014 under the new European nature and climate programme LIFE 2014-2020, which was approved by the European Parliament on Thursday. The six-year LIFE programme has a budget of 3.46 billion euros and will be available for the European Member States and their territories.
D66 Member of the European Parliament Gerben- Jan Gerbrandy said he was very satisfied with the results. “I have fought very hard for this and I am happy that we succeeded. The islands will no longer be excluded from having access to these funds,” he stated in a press release. The funds from the LIFE programme could assist the islands in managing and protecting their natural resources. “The islands are biodiversity hotspots. It is important to protect them, not only because of their nature, but also in the interest of the local population. The many tourists that come to the islands to witness all this beauty are a vital source of income,” said Gerbrandy.
Projects will be merited on their quality, which guarantees a better and more efficient use of European funds, explained Gerbrandy. Projects will be funded by the European Committee and the Member State, which is the Netherlands in the case of the public entities. “This ensures sufficient attention for the protection of endangered animal and plant species in difficult financial times,” he said.
LIFE’s total budget is not sufficient to cover all objectives of the Natura 2000 comprehensive nature plan of the Dutch government. “We will meet 20 per cent of the objectives with LIFE and the other action programmes. That is not enough by far,” said Gerbrandy, who called on the Dutch government to take its responsibility to protect nature, not only in the Netherlands, but also in the Caribbean Netherlands.