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Jul 15, 2009

Blue print unveiled for conservation of natural monuments

Story PictureA blue print entitled Public Resource and Use Plan was released today for the management and conservation of the Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye Natural Monuments, which comprise part of the World Heritage Site. In June of this year, the World Heritage Site was placed on the danger list by UNESCO. But the Belize Audubon Society says that before this happened, it was working on a set of guidelines to maintain the integrity of the reserve. B.A.S. Advocacy Manager, Amanda Burgos-Acosta, says that the plan will be implemented over the next five years.

Amanda Burgos-Acosta, Advocacy Mgr, Belize Audubon Society
“One of the comments that was made in the UNESCO report was the high visitation. What this does, it is not a response necessarily but we are being proactive. We started this project two years before they came because we had noticed visitation, we had noticed that people are interested in experiencing this World Heritage Site. So what this plan does is that it promotes, it facilitates, and it plans for conservation and for sustainable eco-tourism of the site. We looked at what is the integrity of the site, how much stress can it take and what are the realities of having tourists and tourism on the site and yet maintaining the integrity of the World Heritage Site. The process had eleven stages, its modular and throughout the process we had different stakeholders involved. We had a little survey of visitors, we looked at tour-guides, tour-operators, we looked at fishermen, our buffer communities. So it was very comprehensive in terms of whole all was involved—it is a very participatory process. This goes along with our mandate, which is to balance people and our environment. We know that there is an allure, there is an attraction to go to these sites. They want to experience it and when they promote Belize you see picture of blue hole everywhere. We’re trying to keep that footprint controlled. We recognise it as a natural monument, we recognise it as a world heritage site and we want to maintain the integrity and hopefully these actions that are implemented, this plan that is being implemented can help in maintaining that.”

Burgos says that the Public Resource and Use Plan has been effectively implemented in Bolivia, Venezuela China and Mexico.


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