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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.


on Bonaire


on St Eustatius


on Saba

boys on Saba

Boys on Saba

Boys on 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 support all 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.

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.

Basketballers Statia

Basketball on Satia

Basketball on Satia

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.

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