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#389210 - 10/05/10 02:34 PM Moves Made To Preserve Protected Areas
Marty Offline


The National Protected Areas Secretariat project and the National Use Policy and Planning Framework consultancy on Sustainable Land Management were introduced today at the Biltmore Plaza. Dr. Colin Young is the Program Director for the National Protected Areas Policy.

Dr. Colin Young; Program Director, National Protected Areas Policy

“We are informing our stakeholders of the Government of Belize via the Ministry of Natural Resources setting up of the secretariat to streamline the coordination of implementing the National Protected Areas Policy and System Plan. The policy provides the enabling environment that demonstrates government’s commitment to the policy and savings plan. The plan itself is already there and it outlines the critical actions necessary to achieve the policy and so if the system plan is implemented as it is written the idea is that protected areas management in Belize will be comprehensive, will be streamlines and effective and we will end up with a protected areas system that is achieving what it is supposed to that is consolidation and functionality. We get the sense that there are a lot of competing interests and the other part of the launch today is the land use policy and planning framework that ties in nicely with identifying the threats, the challenges and solutions to how we some of these issues.”

A vast percentage of Belize is under Protected Areas status, Young says that the Governments commitment to these areas is there, but the planning policy aims to improve the system.

Dr. Colin Young

“We can see that in a sense we have 36 percent of our national territory under some kind of protected areas designation. Nationally including both land and sea over 26 percent that in itself is a remarkable feet for any country. Now, in terms of what that means in terms of the preservation of biodiversity of course there is stuff that can be done to improve the system and part of that is looking at the national protected areas policy and system plan. So, can government do more? Yes. Can the non-government members do more? Yes. Can communities do more? Yes. So I think what the coordinating responsibility of the secretariat is to pull the energy from all of these different members in one area that now moves us ahead to deal with the challenges that protected areas management brings about because there diverse. We now from the incursion of illegal immigrants into our protected areas to having land use development that is inconsistent in some occasions with protected areas. All of that was happening in an environment that lacked a national plan framework and land use policy.”

The projects are part of a larger initiative under the mainstreaming and Capacity building for sustainable land management for Belize, Judene Tingling is the Forest Officer and the Sustainable Land Management Project Manager at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Judene Tingling; Forest Officer, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

“This project basically has three main outcomes. The general idea of the project is to do a couple things. First of all mainstream sustainable land management into our policies, into our different ministries and into our different departments. It seems like such an odd topic but many of the things that we are doing right now are already sustainable. This particular project is going to mainstream that and build capacity and it has as the centre piece of this particular project the development of a national land use policy that will take all the initiatives that we have had such as Horizon 2013 and the National Protected Areas  System Policy and Plan and start to put all of those things together and have one development agenda for Belize.”

Many uses of land including agriculture, tourism, housing needs and human components contribute to the challenges the protected areas are facing. Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega says one of the systems key functions is to increase the policing in these areas in the order for sustainable land use management.


#389217 - 10/05/10 02:40 PM Re: Moves Made To Preserve Protected Areas [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Moves Made To Preserve Protected Areas

The idea of the Launching Ceremony of the "National Protected Areas Secretariat" and the "National Land Use Policy and Planning Framework Consultancy for Sustainable Land Management in Belize" - those aren't titles that exactly denote "hot news" - but it was significant nonetheless when both initiatives were launched today.

The idea behind it all is figuring out how to manage the 26% of Belize's land and sea that is under protected status while also meeting the demands for land by developers, farmers and folks who just want a plot to call their own. Natural resource minister Gaspar Vega addressed those ocmeting concerns in his opening address:…

Hon. Gaspar Vega, Minister of Narural Resources
"There is an unquestionable need for greater access to land and other natural resources. This includes increase access to lands for agriculture, aquaculture, housing, tourism and conservation."

"There is always pressures of people who need land for housing, for agriculture, for different purposes but yet we still have to ensure that our protected areas are conserved."

Dr. Colin Young, Natural Protected Areas Secretariat
"We have about 36% of our national territory under some kind of protected areas designation and national including land and sea over 26% that itself is a remarkable feet for any country. Now in terms of what that means in terms of the preservation of bio-diversity of course there is stuff that can be done to improve the system and part of that is looking at the national protected areas policy and system plan. Can government do more? Yes. Can the non-government numbers do more? Yes. Can communities do more? Yes. So I think what the coordination responsibility of the secretariat is to pull the energy for all of these different numbers in one area that now moves us ahead."

Judene Tingiling, Sustainabkle Land Management Project Manager
"What we want to do rather than continue to operate in silence is to look at all these different land uses and look at them how they contribute to the whole as a oppose to what we are currently doing in an ad hoc manner. The development of this national land uses policy will look at managing and making plans for Belize as a entire landscape. What is the current capacity? We are going to look at zone-ation, so it's not necessarily to say we are going to concentrate heavily on tourism development or agricultural development. We will look at all of those, we will examine all of those and see g how best we can compile and put together something for the nation of Belize. We don't want that at the end of this 8 month period that we had a policy to the people of Belize and say here, this is what we are going to do from here on now. So we want this to be an all inclusive plan."

Hon. Gaspar Vega, Minister of Narural Resources
"Again Jules I think that the secretariat' challenge will be to ensure that we inform the people again, teach them that we don't have to destroy to be able to use the land."

The global environmental facility has approved a grant to finance plan supplemented with a commitment from the protected areas conservation trust for over two million over the next three years.

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