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Feb 8, 2013

Still on danger list, barrier reef visit wrapped up

Belize which boasts one of the world’s wonder’s, the Barrier Reef, was given more prominence when it was declared a World Heritage Site. But soon after in June 2009, UNESCO included Belize on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger.  Commercial land sale and development within sensitive parts of the reef along with site visits by UNESCO showed some degradation in areas such as the Sapodilla Cayes. UNESCO also wrote of grave concern about oil concessions in sensitive marine ecosystems. A team from UNESCO was in Belize earlier this week and they met with the Minister of Fisheries and Sustainable Development Lisel Alamilla. Alamilla said the result of the meeting with the UNESCO delegates was good. 

 

Jose Sanchez

“The team from UNESCO has been here this week to do an assessment of the reef. Did they go to the sites; Yum Balisi, Sapodilla Cayes, those different areas that they looked at the last time around?”

 

Lisel Alamilla

Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development

“Yes, we took them to those sites. They required that we take them to those sites. Their terms of reference dictated where they wanted to go and so it was the government’s responsibility to organize that trip and accompany them on that mission.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“I know that they have wrapped up their session in Belize and are leaving the country. Have they given any preliminary indications of what they saw or if there is anything positive or if anything remains the same?”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“Generally, the result of that meeting was very good. They were very impressed with the inroads we had made with addressing the challenges that we faced from last report. They applauded the country of Belize, really, for the leadership with fisheries management and reef management. They recommended that we really need to communicate to the global community the experiences that we’ve had in managing our natural resources and so that people can learn from our experiences that have brought good results.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“I know man power is always an issue to manage an entire reef, but have they given an indication of what their feelings are regarding the barrier reef being on the endangered list for world heritage sites?”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“Well we really didn’t go into discussing that because that is a given; that we are on the endangered list. The challenge now is for us to come off that list. And so we are committed to doing what is necessary to ensure that our world heritage site is removed from that list.”

 

Minister Alamilla said the team report will be sent to the UNESCO Committee for review at a June session in Cambodia. That is when the committee will decide on how to proceed with recommendations to the government. 

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2 Responses for “Still on danger list, barrier reef visit wrapped up”

  1. Kenny Cox says:

    What are you people thinking????? if there is an oil spill on the reef, what do you think will happen to Belize??? the people who live off of the sea? all the wild life? tourism???? do you people even think???? why is this being allowed to happen? belizeans need to stand up for your future!!!

  2. Louisville,Ky says:

    What the Minister and her colleagues can start with is the banning of all gill net fishing in the Jewel. Discontinuing the rake and scrape of the sea bed by those fishing trawlers, was the first step in the right direction.
    Lets outlaw all seine as of NOW, and help bring back the fish stock which in turn will assist the entire marine ecosystem and allow us to reap the economic spin-off as a result.
    That should not be too hard to accomplish since it’s not rocket surgery.
    But then again, if some Minister’s pocket is being filled, banning all gill nets will be easier said than done. Oh Boy……

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