The tiny Caribbean island of St. Eustatius -known affectionately as Statia- has taken one giant step towards environmental preservation with a commitment to develop critical environmental protection rules.
In keeping with a central government mandate to protect the environment in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, known as the BES islands, the Public Entity St. Eustatius and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management have signed a letter of intent to work together to effectively implement the environmental legislation, thus contributing to sustainable economic growth on the island.
“Today, we take one small step for the environment, one giant leap for Statia,” said Deputy Government Commissioner Claudia Toet, mirroring the words of the American astronaut, Neil Armstrong, when he landed on the moon in 1969.
“With the stroke of a pen we continue the journey to a true commitment to our environment, which is in keeping with our vision for a green Statia,” added the Deputy Government Commissioner, who signed on behalf of the Public Entity St. Eustatius. Director General of Environmental and International Affairs Roald Lapperre signed on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. The signing took place at the government administration building in the capital.
The decree from The Hague shall include legislation directing businesses to take the necessary steps to protect the environment in the three BES islands.
The Public Entity and the Ministry have concluded that careful implementation of the decree – which is scheduled to take effect on 1 January 2023 – is important to protect the environment on St. Eustatius, an 8.1 square-mile island in the Caribbean Netherlands. Therefore, they have agreed on an implementation plan aimed at:
- supporting the development of defining environmental rules in an Island Ordinance to ensure that environmental goals are compatible with the local situation;
- ensuring capacity building within the relevant government departments;
- achieving a sustainable level of knowledge transfer on the main tasks required to implement the environmental legislation.
They have also determined that the business community on Statia must be well informed about the environmental regulations and must be adequately prepared to comply with the rules.
In this regard, the two sides have also signed a two-year cooperation agreement to establish a system to share information about the environmental legislation with local companies.
It will consist of an information desk and a web portal to provide easily accessible details and advice on the environmental regulations to the businesses.
The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management will contribute €50,000 towards the operational costs of the information system and will also contribute to the implementation plan agreed in the letter of intent.