Posted on
17 February 2020
Paramaribo, February 17, 2020
DNA chairman Jenny Simons and WWF-Guianas director David Singh presented on 13 February, the need for the approval of the Environmental Framework Act, which also aims to prevent future natural disasters with irreparable damage. In a full room of Courtyard Marriott with more than 150 participants from the DNA, government institutions, partner NGOs, the business community and other interested parties, the urgency of the law was the recurring theme.

Environmental disasters can be prevented

David Singh, Director of WWF-Guianas, in his introduction, discussed the consequences of the Omai mine disaster in Guyana and whether it could be prevented with a good environmental law. Guyana, too, had no broad environmental legislation when in 1995 nearly 4.5 million cubic meters of cyanide-contaminated mud from the Omai mine ended up in the Essequibo River (the largest river in the country), which declared 80 km of the river a disaster area. He concluded that the natural disaster could have been prevented if there had been clear environmental guidelines. Suriname can learn from this disaster, and with the recent discovery of the oil, the demand for the environmental law is becoming increasingly urgent. "This law is a big step in the right direction for Suriname," says David Singh.

Jenny Simons has often spoken in favor of safeguarding our environment and the relationship between the environment and human well-being. In January 2019, together with DNA members M. Bouva, C. Breeveld, A. Gajadin and A. Abdoel, she submitted a draft initiative law, known as the "Environmental Framework Act". In her speech, she extensively discussed the process of submitting the draft law, the necessity for this law and the fact that the proposal is supported across the board.

After the introductions by David Singh and Jenny Simons, there was a panel consisted of the key speakers, Rudi van Kanten (director of Tropenbos Suriname), Ivette Patterzon (Environmental Coordination, Cabinet of the President) and Gina Griffith (NIMOS) . Those present in the room eagerly took the opportunity to ask questions.

The public has a brief opportunity to comment on the draft law, emphasized DNA Vice-President Melvin Bouva. The law will be on the agenda after two weeks.

When asked by the public whether the Environmental Framework Act would still be adopted during this reign, the DNA chairman assured those present that this is the case. The confidence in a rapid completion and successful adoption thereof has therefore increased further.

The discussion evening was organized by Projekta in collaboration with WWF in the context of the Shared Resources, Joint Solutions program.