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Aug 29, 2002

PACT writes big cheques to Belizean NGOs

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Belize’s natural resources have been a constant source of pride and joy, but as more entrepreneurs dive into the tourism sector, there is a need to make sure that protection is on the heels of development. Jacqueline Woods has more.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

It’s no secret why tourists from across the globe have been travelling to Belize; the country is home to many land and underwater attractions. Because much of the sites have largely remained untouched, Belize has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Central America. To protect and conserve those sites, PACT (the Protected Areas Conservation Trust) annually award grants to organisations that work to sustain the development of these areas.

Emelda Lizarraga, Grants Programme Officer, PACT

“Well PACT’s main mission is to protect and to conserve our protected areas in Belize. So in 1996 PACT was established and we opened the grants programme in 1997 actually to give grants to projects that will benefit protected areas.”

During a ceremony today at the Pelican Beach Resort in Dangriga, five conservation projects received financial assistance. Green Reef, Community Baboon Sanctuary, TIDE, Ya’axche Conservation Trust and Mayflower Bocawina National Park were awarded grants amounting to over a hundred and eighty-seven thousand dollars.

Jessie Young, President, Community Baboon Sanctuary

“The money we will be getting from PACT will be used for an education centre for the Community Baboon Sanctuary. It’s just to enhance our awareness of the sanctuary throughout all the seven villages and for visiting schools that will come by as well.”

Mito Paz, Director, Green Reef

“This money is going to be used to promote manatee conservation in Belize through pride. Where use and animal that’s symbolic to Belize and we work the with communities, especially the communities bordering the wildlife sanctuaries for manatees. We have a series of activities, and environmental education would be developing with the communities to promote manatee conservation.”

To date, PACT has funded thirty of the seventy-one protected areas in the country. Each proposal is reviewed by an advisory council, which makes the final decision. According PACT’s Grants Programme Officer Emelda Lizarraga, once the projects have been approved and implemented, they are monitored to ensure that the money received is being used for its purpose.

Emelda Lizarraga

“We would review projects and those that are competitive, those that are really benefiting the protected area, those are the projects that are selected. It goes to an advisory council, then to a board of directors and they are the ones that make the final decision.”

Reporting for News 5, Jacqueline Woods.

Since 1997, PACT has awarded grants totalling one point eight million dollars to Belizean NGOs. If you’d like assistance from PACT, the deadline for the next project submissions is October thirtieth.

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