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Jun 4, 2018

Gov’t Hails Step Toward De-Listing Barrier Reef

Patrick Faber

A final decision is pending but after nine years, Belize’s Barrier Reef could no longer be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Danger. A preliminary decision by the World Heritage Committee issued last week states that a series of remedial actions taken and implemented Ministries of Fisheries, Forestry, Environment, Sustainable Development and Natural Resources along with the Belize UNESCO office and the World Wildlife Fund have now substantially met the indicators for de-listing.  Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Education and Culture and the president of Belize’s UNESCO National Commission, Patrick Faber, has issued a swift reaction, noting that Belize can now once again market the site to tourists as being environmentally friendly and rehabilitated, increasing our share of both the tourism and fishing dollar. He outlines what Belize has done, including the key promulgation of legislation to ban petroleum-related activity in a one-kilometer zone straddling the Reef and key protected areas.

 

Patrick Faber, President, Belize National Commission for UNESCO

“We established a moratorium on oil exploration in our maritime areas; that was big for the world and we are glad in Belize that we could lead in this regard and be an example for other nations of the world who have an ocean front and of course, are thinking about oil exploration. And then there are those regulations that we made as well to protect mangroves in this country – they are very important to our ecosystems, and we are glad to lead in that regard as well, and of course then also making sure that those portions of land that were Government-owned, and even those that are privately owned, that these lands are now put under the protection of legislation so that they cannot be exploited in any way, that fall apart of the World Heritage Site.”

 

The final decision of the World Heritage Committee will be made later this month at its forty-second annual meeting in Bahrain.

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