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  • Deal or case news
  • 06-06-2016

On 3 June 2016 the highest administrative court of the Dutch Caribbean confirmed the annulment of the zoning plan which planned for a large-scale restaurant and entertainment pier in the middle of the heavily protected marine park of Bonaire. Echoing the verdict of the Court of First Instance of last year the Joint Court of Justice confirmed that the Island Council didn't motivate the significant breach of the Islands protection policy by suddenly allowing commercial building activities in the marine park.

Anne-Marie Klijn and Berend Haagen of NautaDutilh are advising and conducting legal proceedings at the request of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), The Bonaire National Parks Foundation (STINAPA, statutory manager) and Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) against a maze of public law decisions facilitating commercial building activities in the marine park. The concerns of STINAPA and STCB for irreversible damage to the marine environment and in particular the Bonaire reef are not unfounded and supported by international coral reef experts. In addition, earlier refusals of the local authorities dating from 2009 relating to the same pier also emphasized the unparalleled precedent  "In conclusion, the construction of the pier, the dimensions and the design are contrary to the marine environment directives and the policy pursued by the island territory since the early 1990s to protect the underwater park. Many permits have been refused in the past on this basis. It would be very risky to adopt a different position now and to create a precedent, as this would seriously undermine Bonaire's development policy and also harm Bonaire’s image as a green island". Thus the verdict of the Joint Court of Justice of 3 June 2016 strengthens STINAPA and STCB in their objectives to protect the Bonaire National Marine Park.

NautaDutilh and corporate social responsibility
Taking responsibility for the effects of our activities from social, ecological and economical perspective, is a fundamental part of how we think and act. We are firmly rooted in society and actively contribute to the way it functions, based on our specific competences and our diversity, in a way that is true to our character. That same mission was of equal importance to one of our founders, Tobias Asser, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1911 and the same applies today. This is exemplified by our desire to help the WWF and its partners to ensure that central government and local authorities exercise the greatest care when taking decisions that affect the world heritage of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

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