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Jun 20, 2016

PACT Hosts Stakeholders Forum

Today, the Protected Areas Conservation Trust, PACT, hosted a forum intended as an engagement with PACT’s stakeholders to inform them of the organization’s plan of operations for the year ahead. That has become necessary because PACT’s role and function was expanded as a result of an amendment to the PACT Act which passed in October 2015. That piece of legislation transformed PACT from an institution which just provided grants to one that is now responsible for financing conservation and overseeing management of protected areas. The interaction with stakeholders is also important because the proposal and passage of the amended bill was a cause for much concern among co-managers of protected areas, including APAMO. Today PACT Chairman Colin Young told us that all that is important is that all stakeholders work together for the common good.

 

Colin Young

Colin Young, Chairman, PACT Board of Directors

“Unfortunately there was quite a bit of unease or in some cases perhaps dissatisfaction depending on which group of stakeholders you were with the PACT Amendment Bill. However it is now the law and while everyone would probably if they had the power tweak certain parts of it the Board and the government believes that it is a piece of legislation that can actually achieve the goals of the Protected Areas system which is to protect them in perpetuity for the benefit and enjoyment of all Belizeans. Since we have been as a Board we have APAMO, they have two members on the PACT Board – they have the Belize Audubon Society and Ms. Amanda Acosta is the board member there, which is a large N.G.O. and we have Mr. Hislop who is a member of the Board representing APAMO but as a small community-based organization. Both the Ministry and the PACT Board has a very good working relationship with APAMO and the other stakeholders. So I think we are now looking at the legislation and because it is law we have to ensure that we are following the mandate but to do so in a way that actually highlights the benefits of the new legislation in terms of how it can assist all of us, meaning government and non-state and civil society in achieving the objective which I think is the same regardless of who you are. We all want to ensure that we have an effective protected areas system that preserves biodiversity, provides employment opportunities for people and thereby helps with poverty alleviation – as well to ensure that it’s around for future generations. So I think it’s working out. Whenever we do run into the issues as invariably we will, we try to work with it as best as possible.”

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