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Apr 8, 2014

Marine biodiversity offset – a concept to promote sustainable development

Marine Biodiversity Offsets… it is a concept that when put into principle is to be used as a tool for the private sector and the government to work together to conserve and manage environment while promoting sustainable development. And for the past two days, the Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI) through the Australia-Caribbean Coral Reef Collaboration is providing Belize with an opportunity to adopt marine biodiversity offsets. As it implies, the workshop focuses mainly on offshore developments, but can also be applied to terrestrial projects as well as to address measures that can be taken to compensate for significant or adverse impacts. Stakeholders and partners gathered at the Radisson to evaluate and discuss the potential benefits of the offsets strategy which experts believe can improve integrated coastal zone management and biodiversity conservation.


Vincent Gillett, C.E.O., Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute

“For development, we have to look at all of those options which allow us to find a balance within our conservation goals and our development goals without sacrificing, without sacrificing, those very resources that we depend on. And this particular concept is a way of doing so because what we have is the concept biodiversity offsets which actually gives us measures, numbers, metrics of what the situation is.  So that there is what is described technically in literature as no net loss of biodiversity in the development proposal. In other words, there is no gain for developer to an extreme extent; there is no loss for us to an extreme extent…we want to have no net loss in our biodiversity values.”


Ray Victorine

Ray Victorine, Wildlife Conservation Society

“All developing countries have choices and challenges and one of those is of course to promote develop, create jobs and at the same time a lot of those jobs are dependent on natural resources and I think that’s the case in Belize. This idea of biodiversity offsets creates an opportunity where we can try to promote development and at the same time ensure the protection of our natural resources. It is something that is happening around the world; in Latin America for example, several countries are developing new laws: Chile, Peru, Colombia…all around offsetting and the mechanism to balance development and conservation.”


Vincent Gillett

Vincent Gillett

“If you know Belize and you know the conservation community and if you know how very engaged our governments have been in ensuring that our resources remain as intact as possible and for the long term benefits of Belizeans which we have described as sustainable, clearly we are not going to sell-off our resources. The key thing is sustainability, but we are also recognizing that for our long term development, for the long term sustenance of our country and the people of Belize and for us to be able to utilize our resources sustainably so that we can benefit from them, development is clearly a key component.”

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