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Jan 23, 2015

UNESCO Experts in Belize

Since Monday, a team of experts from the UNESCO World Heritage Center has been in Belize on a technical mission. For five years, since June 2009, the Belize Barrier Reef Marine System has been under the threat of delisting as a World Heritage Site.  So the team has been here to assist the government of Belize to get the prestigious barrier reef off the list. Throughout the week, the UNESCO reps have been meeting with government agencies and environmental groups discussing a roadmap to maintain the integrity of the ecosystem. The mission also looked at the impact tourism has on the reef, says Coordinator for UNESCO’s Marine Program, Doctor Fanny Douvere.


Fanny Douvere

Dr. Fanny Douvere, Coordinator, Marine Program, UNESCO World Heritage Center

“It’s a very complex ecosystem. That’s the same anywhere in the world when it comes to large coral reef systems. Belize barrier reef is the second largest in the world so it is a phenomenal place, but it is also complex to manage. In addition to that we are also working in a very socioeconomic context that is very important. It is important to understand also that there are a lot of jobs created from the Belize barrier reef system which are crucially important for the country and the Belizean people. So what is challenging is to bring all those various perspectives together and to design a roadmap that works both from a socioeconomic perspective, but also from an environmental perspective. So we actually had very constructive discussions this week and we are very hopeful and very optimistic that we can find a suitable solution that works for us all.”

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