It’s exciting what’s happening on Aruba!
For the last two years we have been following the developments on Aruba with great interest. The objective to be completely independent of fossil energy sources by 2020, set by the government of Prime Minister Mike Eman, is the kind of ambition we for one have been longing for. In Europe we find ourselves still in a situation where people only see the economic crisis, but do/will not recognize the identity crisis of a permanently altered world.
The Aruban government offers its citizens perspective: new economic sectors, new top sector jobs, and a cleaner and greener livelihood for all. On macro- and meso economic scale, the Aruban government and their major partner, Sir Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room, organize the right conditions for sustainability and innovation, making it attractive for the market to participate and invest. At the same time Aruba is also very aware of the fact, that sustainability is not just a matter of an energy system. The Prime Minister referred to the larger issue at stake “The increase in well-being has lagged behind the increase in prosperity.” Therefore Aruba makes efforts to involve the whole island, aiming to achieve a fully sustainable economy.
The trick now is to transition to this sustainable economy, in a way that certainly does not harm its inhabitants and the islands economy. But in fact lets them take advantage of the new opportunities that new economic opportunities, private involvement and transformation of urgent places offer. Spatial development is the perfect discipline to integrate these different stakes. Government can, by carefully dealing with locations and programs and strategically positioning them, provide clarity and security to new investors, whilst at the same time allowing her own program to piggyback on the new developments arising from them.
We believe that if Aruba makes the right strategic choices now and uses the momentum it has created to its full potential, the island could set an example that the whole world is in desperate need of!