Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Environment, People & Places » Environmental N.G.O.s Not Spared from Pandemic Impact
Jul 27, 2020

Environmental N.G.O.s Not Spared from Pandemic Impact

Valdemar Andrade

Since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, we’ve been reporting on its impact. The tourism industry collapsed and many other industries and sectors continue to experience shockwaves as a result. One area that’s not talked about a lot is the impact on the environmental sector, particularly on the N.G.O. community that acts as managers and co-managers of our protected sites and national parks. To generate income, just about all of these organizations depend on international visitors as one of their revenue streams. And so with tourism almost non-existent, COVID has hit these organizations hard, despite the value their sites provide to the country. Take for instance, the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve which provides over four hundred million dollars in value to Belize every year, through shoreline protection, tourism and fishing.  Executive Director Valdemar Andrade of the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association says that these hard times have pushed them to explore new and creative but sustainable ways to generate revenues to ensure that they can manage the marine resources.


Valdemar Andrade, Executive Director, TASA

“A lot of our income and a lot of income for marine protected areas come from tourism. So, we are directly related to tourism. So, many of us lost a big component of what finances our management and operations. For us, we were just beginning to implement tourism. So, when we calculated the loss it was tremendous. At the beginning of COVID, for Turneffe we were minus seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars and we gradually worked with partners and have it down to about four hundred and seventy-thousand right now. We are working with organizations through the Association of Protected Areas Managers like PACT, UNDP, the Belize Marine Fund, to look at how we can continue to bridge that gap. For us, as we look forward, tourism still has to play a role. I don’t think we can move away from that. We have too much invested in tourism to move away but we have to look from our point of view, how do we invest those dollars in the future. We also can’t invest them in present day value. We also have to look at a resilience account because when something else like that happen or a major hurricane, we will have to be able to bounce back. We have to look at new opportunities. For us, we are looking at blue carbon, again, along with TNC. We are working with the private sector owners of Turneffe to look at the carbon offsets for them to be able to donate the carbon offsets and donate it so that we can create some financing from that. So, those opportunities are new opportunities that we are looking at. We are also looking at impact investments. So, we are looking at the private sector and how they invest and dovetail conservation targets, along with revenue generation targets. So, those opportunities are new and it will require a new way of thinking.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed