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Nov 30, 2010

APAMO offers to help Gov’t to save World Heritage Site

The Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage along with the Association of Protected Management Organization (APAMO) received a boost when UNESCO shared its sentiments against offshore drilling for oil. Belize’s Barrier Reef, a World Heritage Site, is in danger from not only aggressive stressors such as bleaching and sedimentation, but also from commercial oil exploration. Because of land holdings and now oil concessions given out in the area, UNESCO placed the precious barrier reef on the list of World Heritages in Danger. The organization is calling on the government to put an end to the Offshore Concessions and sale of land within the reserve. If it doesn’t, the clock is ticking and by February first, 2011 the reef will lose its place among the world’s greatest natural wonders.  APAMO’s Chairman, Edilberto Romero, told News Five that if the government wants, the NGO community is willing to assist in formulating a plan to deal with potential catastrophe that can affect Belize as an eco-friendly tourism destination.

Edilberto Romero, Chairman, APAMO

edilberto romero

“The Belize Barrier Reef World Heritage site continues to be a place on the list of World Heritage sites in danger. What will happen next is that if the country of Belize does not take corrective measures, our site can be taken out of the World Heritage Site List.”

Jose Sanchez

“The damage if we are delisted. What sort of damage can we experience just by being delisted?”

Edilberto Romero

“First of all it’s a shame for the country in the sense that it is a very important site ecologically, its uniqueness, all its features, it’s very important. It means that the government of Belize have not been able to address the issues, the threats that are affecting the World Heritage Sites.”

Jose Sanchez

“A possible delisting, does it make it easier for the oil companies to look for oil if they don’t have UNESCO on its back anymore?”

Edilberto Romero

“Obviously, being a world heritage site, one of the policies when it comes to world heritage site is that oil exploration and production is incompatible with World Heritage Sites. It is not allowed. So if it is delisted, it can open up to many things—not only oil, but unsustainable development. The issue here is that the threats have not been addressed. In the past, lands have been leased and sold out of the world heritage sites, marine reserves, there have been dredging, and clearance of mangroves and things like that and so the site in under threat. What UNESCO has been saying is that those threats need to be addressed. Legally, you need to put the policies, the legislation that will protect the sites. There are people with land within the marine reserves, in the world heritage site. That needs to be regulated, legislated, recognized and so that no other lands can be given out. What the coalition and APAMO is saying is that there should be a ban on oil exploration in the offshore period; especially in the protected areas. But the main thing that the government needs to do is prepare a plan, submit it to UNESCO to inform them how they intend to address the threats and a timeline it will take to address it. Speaking as an APAMO representative, we can say and we have offered the government in the past and we do it now, we’re offered the government that we can help if they would like and need help in order to address this issue.”

Romero said that anyone wishing to join the fight against offshore drilling can do their part by writing their name on a petition that is calling for a referendum. The petition is available at APAMO, OCEANA, the Belize Audubon Society or any conservation NGO that is a part of the coalition.

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8 Responses for “APAMO offers to help Gov’t to save World Heritage Site”

  1. rootsman says:

    I think that the government needs to put a stop on any and all actions to do any drilling for oil in these sensitive places that are worth more to Belize and the world on a whole than any oil that could be found in these areas. It does not take a rocket scientist to know this and if the government does not take action in good time the people of Belize should have a protest over this whole mess there has to be better ways to improve the GDP.

  2. Also Concerned says:

    Greed is at the center of all this. Even a primary-school child knows the importance of the Barrier Reef. Shame on us if we allow the Reef to be delisted. There comes a time when the ppl of Belize need to stand up for what is best for the country.

  3. daveyt says:

    he point is that the government wants the reff taken off the list, so that drilling for oil can commence as soon as possible. Oil + $$$ + very, very rich government officials, and if there is a leak, and the reef is destroyed, those that made millions will simply go to their second homes in Miami, Cayman Islands etc. and leave the whole mess to their “Fellow Belizeans”……

  4. Joe Devine says:

    Let’s not be emotional and hyped up about protecting the barrier reef! Have you considered the damage being caused to the reef through cruise tourism and tourism in general. Where do think the waste from the resorts out at Turneffe, Lime Caye, Govers’, etc go?

    Let’s not mix bananas with sugar cane. Oil exploration and drilling has nothing to do with the potential de-listing of the Barrier reef!! Tourism, Aquaculture (shrimp and tilapia), banana farms, cruise tourism are the activities that have been and continuing to destroy the reef!!! Finally for those who are so much against offshore oil exploration, are you prepared to pay US100 million annually to the government treasury to maintain the reef’s status quo?

  5. Mustard Stand says:

    joe devine;;;lol, they would just lose the money anyway..
    Both governements have been told over and over and over again, about mass tourism, shimp farming, banana and citrus run off… THEY DO NOT CARE, They make their money and thats that.Half of the lawyers in this country are either PUP ,UDP and they have more money than all of us.. YES. They can move, so, why should they care about the rest of us????? We put them there and we be the fools….the NGOS in this country are totally ignored.. There is not one GOOD lawyer in this country on enviromental issues or OIL and GAS Leases, check it out, go find an Enviromental Lawyer here, there been NONE.Go Big Creek and look at all the NON equipment for an oil spill……nada, zip, zilch,ZERO..Oh, the oil spill plan is sitting on a shelf..

  6. rootsman says:

    If it is a fact that existing commerce is responsible for the damages done to the reef then I believe that the government has failed in its duties of policing and collecting adequate revenue to offset any pollution caused intentionally or unintentionally by these companies therefore it would certainly be a situation that would cause much greater damage to the reef if they should approve the operation of a so called dirty industry such as the oil industry to commence drilling operation in these sensitive areas.

  7. Jukdog says:

    NO OFFSHORE DRILLING IN THE WATERS OF BELIZE PERIOD !

  8. Earl Grey says:

    THE GOVERNMENT SOLD THEIR SOUL …………………for a LITTLE SILVER!!!!

    IS UNESCO PUTTING UP ANY MONEY????????

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