On Monday August 23, 2022, the honorable Minister of VROMI, Mr. Egbert J. Doran, signed the advice regarding the legal review for the environmental legislation of Sint Maarten. This follows from a request of the Nature Foundation to the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) for assistance to carry out a gap analysis of existing legislation related to the conservation of Sint Maarten’s natural resources. The goal of this legal review is to identify methods to enhance existing legislation or to create new legislative measures to update, reinforce and enhance the conservation of nature on Sint Maarten.
The DCNA is a nonprofit organization created to safeguard nature in the Dutch Caribbean through supporting the designated Protected Area Management Organizations on these islands. Through its partnership with the DCNA, the Blue Marine Foundation has generously offered to fund the legal review and gap analysis through an independent legal consultant.
The Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) is a charity organization dedicated to restoring the oceans by addressing overfishing through creating marine reserves, restoring vital habitats and establishing models of sustainable fishing. BLUE achieves these goals through advocacy, innovation and forging new partnerships to bring together sources of funding, governments and conservation expertise to catalyze the creation of vast marine protected areas.
The overall mission of BLUE is to see 30% of the world’s ocean under effective protection by 2030. This is in line with the global goal to protect at least 30% of land and sea by 2030. This target is grounded in the updated post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) that is set to be adopted during the 15th Conference on the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in December 2022. As signatory to the CBD, Sint Maarten will be required to work towards these goals once adopted.
The Man of War Shoal Marine Park is the only actively managed marine protected area on Sint Maarten. Located south of Philipsburg, this marine park is home, migratory stopover and/or breeding site to numerous species of conservation importance. It includes not only a range of habitats from coral reefs to seagrass beds and open water, but also the Proselyte Reef, which was named after the HMS Proselyte, a 32-gun frigate that struck the reef and sank in 1801. The Man of War Shoal Marine Park covers 3,100 hectares (7,700 acres), representing 5.7% of the total marine waters of Sint Maarten.
In 2010, the Minister of TEATT approved the Man of War Shoal Marine Park in accordance with the Federal Decree on Maritime Management, 2008. The formal designation of nature parks is the responsibility of the Minister of VROMI, in accordance with the current Landsverordening grondslagen natuurbeheer en –bescherming. As such, the legal review and gap analysis through the Blue Marine Foundation will provide recommendations towards enhancing the legal framework for nature conservation. This will directly support the current management of the Man of War Shoal by the Nature Foundation and will further support the Ministry of VROMI to establish additional nature parks. Through approving this legal review, the Minister of VROMI is demonstrating commitment to achieving the sustainable development goals of country Sint Maarten.
“The Nature Foundation is thrilled to partner with the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance, the Blue Marine Foundation, and the Ministry of VROMI to begin this extremely important work for St. Maarten. It is our mission to preserve and protect the natural resources for generations to come and having the legal framework in place to protect our island is essential. There has been a desire for some time throughout the community to safeguard our beautiful island while still allowing for economic growth and success. This will be a critical step towards sustainability for St. Maarten that we look forward to contributing to,” said Nature Foundation Interim Manager Leslie Hickerson.