Schoolgirls in Bonaire

BES Islands Caribbean


Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba - abbreviated to the BES islands - are part of the Netherlands. UNICEF supports improving the situation of the children on these islands.

Boys on Saba

Boys in Saba

Boys in Saba

What is UNICEF working on?

The islands are public bodies of the Netherlands, similar to municipalities. The Dutch government, together with the island governments, is responsible for enforcing children's rights, yet many children on the BES islands live in unsafe and unhealthy conditions. UNICEF advises local authorities, local organizations and ministries on, among other things, child protection, data collection and participation. For example, in 2019 UNICEF conducted a follow-up study into the child rights situation on the Caribbean islands. This research was conducted in close collaboration with local organizations, public bodies and relevant ministries. The list of recommendations aimed at local and Dutch authorities can be found in the Dutch and English factsheets. UNICEF continues to work closely with governments to monitor the progress of the recommendations and continuously advocates for the improvement of the situation of children.

The studies are the basis of the 2019-2021 UNICEF children's rights program in the Caribbean Netherlands, funded by the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations.

We offer technical expertise, training and workshops to civil servants and professionals in the field of children's rights, communication for behavioral change, and monitoring and evaluation.

Inspiration campaign

A Quality time campaign was launched in 2022 to inspire parents and guardians to spend time with children. Because spending time with each other is not only fun, but also important for the development of children. In 2023 this was followed by our Raising our Future campaign.

Watch our YouTube videoplaylist to see the importance of qualitytime for families on the islands. They are available in Dutch and English

Childrens Rights: Education and Participation

We support schools on the three islands with children's rights education and participation activities and we continue the program that was carried out between 2016-2018. This includes the second round of the Children's Rights Film Festival in the Caribbean and debate training.

Boys playing basketball



What do we want to achieve?

    Children's rights as a basis: Knowledge and respect for children's rights has increased in society on the islands, enabling children and adolescents to flourish, reach their full potential, and participate in protective and inclusive learning environments and initiatives.

    Promoting children's rights through behavioral change: improved education and social care for the youngest children.

    Children's rights in the picture: the conditions of the most vulnerable children are being improved. The situation is well monitored and necessary actions are taken to ensure their rights.


The corona crisis has turned the world upside down. How will this crisis affect the future of young people on these islands? UNICEF asked them to share their voices so they will be heard by politicians in The Hague and on each of the islands. Young people between the age of 13 and 20 shared their opinion on how they think the world should look like after the corona crisis with our My New World-campaign.