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Nov 22, 2012

Co-signing of park management with a few NGOs

A sustainable Development in Action Forum was held this morning. The occasion was two pronged: the signing of a declaration officially designating the Turneffe Atoll as a protected area and the signing of the co-management agreement of national parks. There were two ministers present, few NGOs and enough primary school students. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

 

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The signing ceremony for the declaration of the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve took place inside the Old Belize Jungle Pavilion. The ceremony was a learning experience for the many primary school students in attendance.

 

Manuel Heredia

Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism

“Turneffe is known worldwide as being one of the most sought for after sport fishing, fly fishing and scuba-diving destination. It is a high quality ecotourism destination for the country where tourist pay a premium, come to enjoy the natural wonders of our pristine marine life. This ladies and gentlemen is exactly the type of tourism that the master plan sets to achieve by 2030. The resorts in the area employ approximately a hundred and fifty tourism workers and recent estimates show that Turneffe generates approximately U.S. twenty-one million per year from tourism and fishing activity. So we can easily see Turneffe as one of the jewels of the Mesoamerican Reef System. It gives us so much and I am glad that today we are here to recognize its importance and we are giving something back to it.”

 

Lisel Alamilla

Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development

“This morning’s event will result in three major outcomes. In the first instance, I will be signing into law, the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve Legislation as well as the co-management framework which establishes improved standards for the agreement between Government of Belize and the NGO community that manages protected areas. This is indeed a very important undertaking especially since almost one-third of the territory of Belize is placed under some protected status. I will also be presenting the draft Living Aquatic Resource Bill which will be subsequently taken to cabinet for my colleagues’ review and approval. The Living Aquatic Resource Bill is in principle an updating of the Fisheries Act or Principal Legislation. The signing of the reserve into law will provide fisheries enforcement research and information gathering and decrease unsustainable activities such as dredging and mangrove clearing. This of course is an initiative that has been long incoming and I am happy to move this matter across the finish line so that all the stakeholders and the Belizean citizens can benefit.”

 

Arlene Maheia Young

The occasion also marked the signing of co-management agreements of national parks. Notably absent were APAMO members including the Belize Audubon Society and SATIIM.   But the signing went on schedule for the few NGOs in attendance.

 

Arlene Maheia Young, Asst. Program Director

“I applaud the foresight by the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development, Friends for Conservation and Development, Ya’axché Conservation Trust and the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment in signing the first of many co-management agreements. It is expected that in 2013, all of our co-managers will have signed co-management agreements with the ministry.”

 

Beverly Wade

Beverly Wade, Fisheries Administrator

“Today’s signing of agreement with some of our partners are an indication of the ministry’s recognition of the role co-management by local NGO has played in the management and sustainable development of our natural resources and the need to continue to foster this relationship and partnership.”

 

There was also a turtle display for the teachers and students in attendance. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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1 Response for “Co-signing of park management with a few NGOs”

  1. Storm says:

    I think these moves have the right spirit, but good intentions without fair, impartial, and honest enforcement will not do much.

    We need prudent development balanced against preserving our resources for future generations. As a matter of national policy, it is important that ALL people are required to follow the law.

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