The goal is to expand knowledge and action on solutions that harness natural processes to address environmental challenges among the countries in the Dutch Caribbean.
The symposium had participants such as H.R.H. Princess Beatrix, H.E. Governor Alfonso Boekhoudt, Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes, and various other guests.
During the symposium, Minister of Transportation, Integrity, Nature, and Elderly Affairs Ursell Arends gave a speech emphasizing the urgency of initiatives for nature preservation and praising Aruba's commitment to conserve nature through laws and management. They also announced the expansion of protected areas under the Ramsar Convention in Aruba. In addition to Spaans Lagoen, it now includes the Western Wetlands system, consisting of five saltpans, the south coast, Westpunt, and Oostpunt.
Ramsar is an international recognition for the natural value of areas both on land and in the sea. In the future, an "Island Round Marine Park" will be part of our marine areas management. Unlike Ramsar, the designation of a marine park around Aruba is a way to recognize, in national legislation, the need to use these areas sustainably. Although the Ramsar recognition does not prescribe specific regulations, it encourages Aruba to intensify its conservation efforts. For example, Spaans Lagoen received Ramsar recognition in the 80s but was formally designated as a protected area in law only in 2017.
The Ramsar status is to protect these areas without interfering with economic activities, emphasizing damage reduction and nature restoration in case of inevitable damage.
The cooperation across the Dutch Caribbean borders for marine conservation is crucial. The goal is to achieve an "ABC-wide" Hope Spot by 2024, collaborating with Mission Blue to protect the shared sea between Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.
The government thanks the organizations FPNA, DNM, TurtugAruba, Aruba Birdlife Conservation, Aruba Marine Mammal Foundation, and Wageningen University for their collaborative efforts in the significant achievement of the Ramsar status for the additional regions in Aruba."