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Dec 9, 2009

Protected Areas Conservation Trust boldly moving forward

26076Lack of funding is also affecting one organization that deals with the issue of the environment. That’s the Protected Areas Conservation Trust which today launched a new initiative called Boldly Moving Forward. The name for the Institutional Assessment Initiative was chosen because the organization is taking a critical look at its performance in light of the challenging times and low funding coming from the region. But PACT’s Executive Director, Sharon Perrera, says they are not expecting any surprises at the end of the project, but solid information and recommendations. News Five’s Delahnie Bain got the details at this morning’s ceremony, where the organization also awarded small grants for conservation projects.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting
The Protected Areas Conservation Trust has been around for thirteen years. And while there have been considerable developments in conservation, the organization has not changed its structure. The Institutional Assessment is expected to provide the way forward.

Sharon Perrera, Executive Dir., Protected Areas Conservation Trust
“The institutional assessment is actually an extensive review of PACT; looking at the performance of the governance structure, looking at the organizational structure, looking at all of our processes and policies that we have in place and actually looking at how we’ve performed over the last thirteen years and whether or not the structure that we have in place is sufficient, it’s adequate to meet our legislative mandate.”

Gaspar Vega, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment
“The key thing about this institution is to ensure that they do exactly what they should be doing and that is to protect and conserve—especially different areas of our country—but to do it in a manner that is transparent and accountable.”

The assessment is expected to be completed within two months and will result in information and recommendations by a team of experts.

Sharon Perrera
“And the team selected comprised of Mr. Noel Jacobs, who is an Institutional Expert; Dr. Colin Young, a Natural Resource Management Expert; Dr. Vincent Palacio, a tourism planner; and Mr. Benjamin Randolph, who is a Financial Expert.”

While the review is the first of its kind by any statutory body in Belize, the organization constantly provides funding for environmental projects. It used today’s event to present small grants for countrywide conservation programs.

Sharon Perrera
“ We’re providing over five hundred and fifty thousand dollars in small grants to eight different organizations spanning from as far north as Sarteneja for the Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to as far south to the community of San Miguel to do some mangrove restoration projects along the Rio Grande. And then we have organizations such as Green Reef getting support for conservation work and the Shipstern Nature Reserve and the Trial Farm Village Council again for some mangrove restoration work; Belize Hotel Association and Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.”

The grants ranged from forty-five to a hundred thousand dollars and were given based on contracts for scheduled disbursement and reporting. Delahnie Bain for News Five.


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