Saba Government Information Service Saba April 25, 2014
Workshop on results “What is Saba’s Nature Worth?” and start of the Nature Policy Plan for Saba.
“Maintaining the healthy natural environment of Saba is very important for our future economic prosperity,” these were the opening words of Commissioner of Economic Affairs, Chris Johnson, during the workshop Natural Capital of Saba on Friday the 25th of April. The workshop was organized among the local and national government, Saba Conservation Foundation, and representatives of the tourism and agricultural sectors on Saba to discuss the results of the study “What is Saba’s Nature Worth?” and the development of the nature policy plan for Saba. During the morning session, researchers of Wolfs Company and the VU University Amsterdam presented the results of the study that investigates the economic importance of the natural environment on Saba. The afternoon was dedicated to the nature policy plan that the local government wants to develop.
Results of the study demonstrate that nature on Saba currently contributes $29 million dollar annually to the economy and welfare of residents on both the island and the Dutch mainland. With the current pressure on the natural environment of Saba, the economic value of the natural environment will decrease from $29 million today to around $22 million in 30 years. However, the study evaluated different management scenarios regarding tourism development, goat management and agricultural development to maintain and maximize the value of nature on Saba. For the research, 200 tourists and 300 residents where interviewed.
The nature policy plan of Saba will be developed to maintain and increase the value of Saban nature in the long run. During the afternoon session participants of the workshop talked about how this can be achieved. Strategies like effective goat management, agricultural development, marine spatial planning and Commissioner Johnson’s ambition to create a large national park along the north coast of Saba were discussed.