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World Wetlands Day Manifesto

February 2nd is World Wetlands Day. On this day, the STINAPA Junior Rangers will hand over a manifesto to Lieutenant Governor Edison Rijna, the Executive Council, and the Kingdom Representative, calling for sustainable management of wetlands on Bonaire. We need your support! Sign the online petition to support the manifesto. We will hand over our manifesto together with all of the signatures.

By signing the petition, you understand the indispensable value these areas have for Bonaire and show that you support this initiative. Together we can ensure that the wetlands on Bonaire receive more attention through good management in the future!

Wetlands of indispensable value on Bonaire

Kralendijk - February 2nd is World Wetlands Day, STINAPA for many years has celebrated this and used this opportunity to bring awareness to the importance of protecting these areas on Bonaire. This year the NME team and the Junior Rangers started a petition. With a call on the local community to sign this petition the team has a goal of 100 signatures to support and this manifesto will be presented to the lieutenant governor Rijna.

The letter read as follows:

With this letter we want to bring the immense importance of our wetlands to your attention. Our island is fortunate with the possession of many rich and beautiful wetlands. They are indispensable for the ecosystems on our island and the well-being of the population. With global climate change increasingly and more severely affecting our daily lives, it becomes even clearer that we need to protect, manage and restore these areas. The Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention and the United Nations are therefore calling for action. Money, human resources and political will are needed to prevent wetlands from disappearing and to restore degraded areas.

This applies to both wetlands that are protected by the Ramsar Convention because of their international importance and wetlands that are not (yet) protected. The first category includes the Washington Slagbaai National Park, Klein Bonaire, Pekelmeer and Lac. Other water areas of great value are: Saliña Frans, Saliña Tam, Saliña di Vlijt, Dam Aruba, Washikemba, Lagun, Dam Onima and the freshwater lake at the sewage treatment plant (rwzi). Saliñas are of great importance for the protection of the underwater park against erosion and as a habitat for numerous water birds. Dam Aruba and the freshwater lake at the rwzi also attract many birds. All these wetlands contribute to the identity of our island and its appeal for tourists, holidaymakers and bird watchers. In relation to climate change, sea level rise and erosion control, the entire southern coastal strip from Punt Vierkant to Bakuna is also of vital importance. Fortunately, there are non-governmental organizations that are restoring and expanding the mangrove forests. In this way CO2 is captured, a barrier is formed against the seawater and the coral reef is protected against erosion.

Naturally, local and national governments have an important role to play in protecting, managing and restoring our wetlands. This is apparent from, among other things, the fact that a number of our wetlands have had the status of Ramsar area since 1980. Just last year, the individual Ramsar areas of Slagbaai and Gotomeer, together with all surrounding land, were merged into one large Ramsar area 'Washington-Slagbaai' containing six saliñas. The annual World Wetlands Day on February 2, recognized by the United Nations, underlines the importance of wetlands for life on our blue planet. Such living natural monuments must be well managed and maintained.

The signatories of this letter call on our local officials to handle the wetlands on our island with care. In addition to a protected status, this also means paying attention to management and creating the necessary preconditions for this. At a time when increasing population growth, recreation and tourism are putting increasing pressure on these areas and climate change is making itself felt, sustainable management is indispensable. In that light, the undersigned hope that you, as local officials, will advance the adoption of the Bonaire Nature Plan and the Bonaire Environmental Program containing the implementation plans for the sustainable management of our wetlands.

For more information you can contact Desire Croes at

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