Published On: Mon, Dec 8th, 2014

Answers parliamentary questions on the Isla refinery

Dutch ParliamentTHE HAGUE, WILLEMSTAD – The Chairman of the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament, answered, on behalf of the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs and the State Secretary of Infrastructure and Environment, the written questions posed by the MPs Hachchi and Van Veldhoven (both D66) on the Curaçao Isla refinery relation to international environmental agreements.

These questions were sent on November 13, 2014.

The MPs also received answers to their questions posed to the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment on the Isla refinery in relation to international environmental treaties. These were also submitted on November 13.

The first question. How does the government position itself towards the idea that the environmental pollution and CO2 emissions of the Isla refinery is a pure matter of Curacao, turning to the international obligations assumed in treaties such as the Montreal Protocol and the CBD for the whole Kingdom of Netherlands?

Answer:

Both the Montreal Protocol and the CBD apply to the entire Kingdom. Curaçao has asked for joint responsibility and indeed has introduced the necessary implementing legislation. However, each country within the Kingdom is responsible for the implementation of the environmental policy. This means that Curaçao, as an autonomous country, has a responsibility to ensure that their internal legislations remain in line with those two conventions to implement those laws and to comply with the treaty obligations.

Second question. In the 5th national reporting on the Dutch biodiversity policy there are comments about Curaçao, but it makes no mention of the Isla refinery; why is the Isla refinery not mentioned in this report, while it is still one of the biggest problems for the conservation of biodiversity on and around the island?

Answer:

In the CBD report the effect of the refinery was not discussed. The focus of the CBD report is the so-called 'green' environment, thus nature and biodiversity. Although it cannot be denied that the refinery can also affect the green environment, it was decided not to bring it up in this report. There are few data on the effects of the refinery on the green environment.

Third question. Some international conventions in the field of environment, climate and nature, such as the above mentioned Montreal Protocol and the Convention, apply to the whole Kingdom, but other conventions such as the Kyoto Protocol, apply only to the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; please indicate why these conventions do not apply to the whole Kingdom, and whether the Isla refinery plays a role here?

Answer:

When a treaty is submitted for parliamentary approval, it is indicated in the approval documents for each country if the joint responsibility of the government of that country is considered desirable. From the adoption papers of a treaty, it shows for which parts of the Kingdom the treaty applies and at which specific time. After approval by Parliament, it is indicated in the ratification act, which parts of the Kingdom are bound within the treaty. Binding to a treaty is possible only after the required implementing legislation is ready. The preparation of these implementing legislation is a matter for the country itself. It is therefore possible that one treaty, as the Montreal Protocol, applies to all parts of the Kingdom, and that the other treaty, such as the Kyoto Protocol, applies only to the European part of the Kingdom. Although the Kyoto Protocol has been approved for the entire Kingdom and the governments of the overseas countries have now announced to wish for joint responsibility of the Protocol for their respective countries, the Protocol cannot be ratified for the overseas countries as the implementing legislation there is not yet ready.

Question number four. At this time you are working on the preliminary negotiations for a new international climate; shall these obligations, which in due time will be accepted into these negotiations, apply for the entire Kingdom of the Netherlands, or only for the European part and why?

Answer:

The governments of the countries will have, in due course of time, receive the question whether they wish joint responsibility of the treaty in their respective countries.

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