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Jan 20, 2015

UNESCO officials assessing the endangered barrier reef system

Martin Alegria

The Belize Barrier Reef was placed on an endangered list by UNESCO since 2009 and it remains on that list tonight. But we can report that a delegation from UNESCO’s World Heritage Center is in country to review the state of the Barrier Reef. The reef reserve system was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, but due to commercial land sales and development within sensitive parts of the reef as well as reports of degradation in areas such as the Sapodilla Cayes, UNESCO placed Belize on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger. Since then, there have been several visits to assess if there have been any improvements in the management of the reef system including one in 2013. Currently the UNESCO reps have been meeting with several environmental and government agencies. News Five spoke today with Chief Environmental Officer, Martin Alegria, who says that the assessment will allow government to strengthen efforts to remove the blacklisting of the reef.

 

Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer, DOE

“It’s a process that we have had, if you are aware, for some years now where we were on the list and we are doing a lot of issues to address those concerns so that we are out of it. And to develop a long term strategy—communication being one of those—but also action plans that will take us out of those lists and at the same time strengthen that partnership between the World Heritage Site Committees and our national policies and programs.”

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