The Public Entity Bonaire (OLB) has finalized its evaluation of the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods and businesses across Bonaire. The assessment focused on critical sectors, such as tourism and logistics, and identified steps needed to facilitate recovery from the pandemic.
Findings are presented in the document entitled, COVID-19 Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) Bonaire: Socioeconomic Assessment Report, available publicly on the websites of OLB and Bonaire’s Chamber of Commerce. The evaluation and ensuring report are the result of a successful collaboration between OLB, Bonaire’s Chamber of Commerce, the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Bank and the European Union (EU).
The analysis of Bonaire’s macroeconomic performance estimates a 23.1 percent contraction of the baseline 2020 GDP estimate in the absence of COVID-19 and a 19.3 percent decrease compared to 2019. This is comparable to other tourism-dependent economies in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Without financial intervention, the report concludes that the economy would have experienced an estimated 36.2 percent downturn.
Hennyson Thielman, Commissioner of Economy, Tourism, and Finance in the Executive Council of Bonaire said: “This PDNA report shows how vulnerable we are as Bonaire for disasters, with a specific focus on COVID-19 and the impact on the social and economic situation of the island. We all knew the impact would be big but seeing the numbers in this report shows the harsh reality.”
“This report will give us the tool to have in-depth conversations with our partners and stakeholders and will inform the important decisions we continue to make for the future of our island. Without any doubt I believe in the strength and resiliency of us Bonairian people and trust we will come out better and stronger of this crisis.”
Cherethy Kirindongo, Director of Bonaire’s Chamber of Commerce said: “The PDNA report provides a broad picture of the significant negative financial and economic impact that COVID-19 has caused on the local businesses specifically and the economy of Bonaire in general. Furthermore, it reiterates the fact that our small and medium businesses are even more vulnerable and need special assistance to properly overcome the effects of this pandemic. I would like to express my gratitude to all businesses who took the time to complete the business survey.”
The human impact analysis concluded that the impact of the pandemic exacerbated the existing inequalities in society, and that vulnerable families, especially single-parent families, may require special measures to assist them in building resilience, both economically and socially.
Nina den Heyer, Commissioner of Social Affairs in the Executive Council of Bonaire said: “We all felt -and still feel- the enormous impact COVID-19 had on our island. This report shows the naked truth concerning the social and economic reality on the island and will be a strong foundation to have constructive conversations with our partners and stakeholders. I thank all parties involved in creating this report and/or offering the necessary data. Together we will work on the next steps to make the society of Bonaire stronger and more resilient.”
Having lived through the pandemic for more than a year and with the vaccination efforts underway, there is now the need to focus on implementing recovery interventions that will contribute to building the resilience of the people and economy of Bonaire to disasters. The recovery needs identified in the PDNA report will guide this process.
Federico Baechli, Senior Country Officer in the World Bank’s Caribbean Country Management Unit said: “Disasters continue to disrupt and threaten people’s lives and well-being in the Caribbean. Recovery efforts in Bonaire must focus on improving the resilience of families and businesses to the risks of various hazards, including pandemics, to ensure the prosperity of Bonaire, which is so rich in culture and natural beauty.”
The analysis undertaken in preparing this assessment was based on data collected through the Caribbean COVID-19 Food Security & Livelihoods Impact Survey supported by the WFP, a business survey supported by Chamber of Commerce, consultations with local stakeholders across Bonaire’s social and economic sectors, and publicly available data.
The COVID-19 PDNA Bonaire has been financed by the EU in the frame of the Technical Assistance Program for Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance (DRFI TA) in Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs), managed by the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). The objective of the DRFI TA program is to enhance long-term financial resilience to disasters in Caribbean OCTs, to the benefit of the most vulnerable. The program is part of the EU-funded OCTs Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Program (RESEMBID).
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