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Oct 25, 2021

FCD & Asociacion Balam Receive IDRU Milefsky Award

Friends of Conservation and Development, better known as FCD and its Guatemalan counterpart, Asociacion Balam were the recipients of the fourth annual IBRU Milefsky Award for its continued work across disputed Belizean Guatemalan borderlands. The non-governmental organizations were nominated by David Gibson, the coordinator of the Centre for Strategic Studies, Policy Analysis and Research based in Belize. In granting the award, the IBRU Director said that the border, which is often associated with tension and conflict can also be sites where communities come together to improve livelihoods, and manage environments. Today, News Five spoke with FCD Executive Director Rafael Manzanero via phone.


On the Phone: Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD

“The International Boundaries Research Unit is the institution that has provided this award as part of their recognition of institutions or individuals who basically do boundary marking or cross-border cooperation programs. So in this case it has been with Asociacion Balam that we have been working with over the last eleven years. At that time, we signed a formal agreement that specified the activities that we would be doing. The first one was to develop an action plan for the protection of the Chiquibul Maya Mountains, Belize/Guatemala. Now this is important because in the Guatemalan landscape, it is called Chiquibul Maya Mountains as well and here in Belize we known the Chiquibul Forest along with the greater portion of the Maya Mountains. And so we developed that action plan that outlined three main activities over the years. It goes in line with environmental education and public outreach as one of the components; the second one being law enforcement that relates to both countries in terms of trying to diminish or to reduce the threats and the third one is sustainable livelihoods and particularly that component is more stronger in Guatemala where the element there is to support communities along the adjacency zone in Guatemala with the aim of reducing the conflicts along that western front.”

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