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Apr 4, 2013

PACT Grants: over $800,000 provided to 6 NGOs

Each year the Protected Areas Conservation Trust, PACT, awards project grants to organizations to support the conservation and promotion of environmentally sound management of Belize’s natural and cultural resources. While the organizations who receive that much coveted funding assistance may change from year to year, the goal they work toward remains the same. This year funding was provided under the themes Protected Areas Management and Conservation, Protected Areas Promotion and Development and Environmental Education. Six organizations were chosen – five for medium sized grants and one for a small grant, and today a grant award ceremony was held at the Guanacaste Park just outside Belmopan. Freelance Reporter Mike Rudon has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

PACT opened its doors seventeen years ago, and in grant award ceremonies like this spanning over sixteen years, has handed out some twenty-two million to organizations who meet very exacting specifications.

 

Natalie Rosado

Natalie Rosado, Acting Director, PACT

“The process is a three tiered process. It goes through internal screening at the organization and then it goes through a technical evaluation which is done by our advisory council composed of technical exports and then the final approval is done by our board of directors. And so it is a three tiered process, it is very rigorous so when we issue the call for proposals it has the thematic areas that we would fund. So the project has to align with those thematic areas.”

 

And this year six organizations met those specifications, and from the smiles as they received their grant awards, they know exactly how that funding will be used in meeting their particular agendas, which are diverse.

 

Rafael Manzanero

Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD

“Well the grant that we are receiving from PACT this morning it’s really targeting agricultural incursions along the western flank of the Chiquibul Forest which would include the Chiquibul National Park and the Caracol Archeological Reserve. The idea will therefore be to put more of the boots on the ground, to be able to monitor, to be able to develop a database; but more importantly to do law enforcement.”

 

Nicole Auil-Gomez

Nicole Auil-Gomez, Executive Director, SEA

“PACT has generously given us funding that is going to help our enforcement efforts in the southern barrier reef complex. So we are going to be utilizing it for our special enforcement unit and for our rangers to more effectively carry out the fisheries regulation of Belize and basically patrolling the waters and help with the training for our staff and partner with our agencies that we partner with: the police department, the coast guard and TIDE.”

 

Lowell Godfrey

Lowell Godfrey, Treasurer, BFCA

“It will be used to educate fishermen in god fishing practices and fishing regulations and also used to promote awareness to the general public through our newsletter and send couple fishermen in regional meetings.”

 

Joe Villafranco, Program Manager, TIDE

Joe Villafranco

“It will be sued to advance the conservation of Payne’s Creek National Park and also an investment in the sustainability of the park. So investing a little bit of the amenities for the park that people can come and enjoy, also to generate some income off of the park to help us with financial sustainability.”

 

Natalie Rosado

“The monies we collect is basically from a conservation fee that is levied to tourists as they exit the country—that’s by land. We also collect a small portion of the cruise commissions that is levied on cruise ship passengers as they exit. So those funds then are reinvested into protected areas projects and so over the years, we’ve been able to invest roughly about twenty-two million Belize dollars in protected areas.”

 

The funding was delayed for some three months, since these grant ceremonies are usually held in December, but in this case, and for these organization, the cliché better late than never holds true. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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