Preserving Biodiversity: The Imperative for Bonaire’s Environmental Future


Late October 2023, a new executive council assumed leadership on Bonaire. One of its initial actions was to discontinue work on the preliminary draft Spatial Development Plan 2023 (ROB2023). The decision to halt ROB2023 was driven by concerns about the potential for unchecked housing development in Nature and Open landscapes. The executive council aims to embark on a new Spatial Development Plan once the foundational prerequisites are addressed.

Bonaire is home to a diverse array of unique and often endangered animal and plant species, enjoying protection at various levels—locally, nationally, and internationally. It is imperative that this protection is ingrained into upcoming spatial development plans in a legally binding manner. This strategic integration is pivotal as the effective preservation of the rural ecosystem provides the bedrock for conserving marine nature, particularly the delicate coral reefs along the coast. The vulnerability of coral reefs to land-based pollution emphasizes the critical nature of robust terrestrial protection. Without fortified safeguards on land, initiatives to protect and rejuvenate marine life are likely to yield suboptimal results.

A holistic, integrated approach that extends protection to both terrestrial and marine environments is essential for the sustainable conservation of natural diversity in and around Bonaire. Moreover, nature serves as a fundamental pillar for the local economy, stressing the urgent need to guarantee adequate protection of the environment and nature for the well-being of both current and future generations. This underscores the interconnectedness of environmental stewardship, economic resilience, and the overall prosperity of the community.