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Sustainable Development of SIDS; The role of government


In the process of globalization the state is being hallowed out. And there is a shift from intervention by government towards enabling by government (Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, 2011). Global governance is growing because it is needed to cope with climate change. The sustainable Agenda 21, up to now has been implemented mainly via governments. The adjustment towards a more bottom-up approach, starting at the local level has not worked. One of the explanations for this is the low political priority, especially with local government (Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, 2011). To enforce this agenda in many cases legislation has been issued. But these policies often have not been enforced. Financial incentives do not work (Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, 2011).

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is considered a tool of governance. UNESCO declared the Decade for ESD in 2005 and it will last till 2014. The progress has been slow. A Caribbean Network has been created to a sub-network of UNESCO International Network of Teacher Education Institutions. This Caribbean network includes Florida. Part of the explanation of the poor progress is the difference in perspectives of the concept of sustainability. But also the Caribbean context is a factor (Down and Henderson, 2007). The question is: is educations is a government task or is it the domain of NGOs?

In Curacao the situation of EDS is the following.  NGOs and outside pressure play an important role in advancing the sustainable

development agenda. Although a great deal of policy work has been done, and the foundations have been laid for the implementation of a sustainable development strategy, the conclusion can only be that some important elements are still missing. The legal foundations for sustainability are still weak. Political support is not sufficiently stable, and long term planning is weak. There is still no Master Plan. The lack of political support might be a consequence of lack of understanding of the political benefits of sustainable development.

The NGOs play a crucial role in balancing the three P’s. The Amigunan di tera and the UNA have been especially important in this context. The government of the Netherlands also functions as a balancing force. Several constraints on sustainability can be recognized:

- lack of a sustainable development philosophy or ideology

- lack of political support

- lack of community support

- lack of a Master Plan

- lack of legislation

- lack of enforcement.

Curaçao is on the road to sustainable development but still has a long way to go. However, in the long term SIDS have no choice but to embrace sustainable development.

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