PACT gives to the environment and to Restore Belize
Over a million dollars have been disbursed for environmental projects by the Protected Areas Conservation Trust in the past nine months. Earlier today another quarter of a million dollars were distributed to four agencies. The bulk of the money went to an anti-crime initiative, Restore Belize while the other environmental organizations got the remaining funds. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports from today’s ceremony at the Biltmore.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
Since its establishment in 1997, the Protected Areas Conservation Trust’s grants program has disbursed an estimated twenty million dollars to various natural resources management efforts across the country. Today PACT continued this initiative by awarding an additional quarter million dollars in funding to four agencies, three of which are dedicated to the preservation of Belize’s marine and terrestrial resources. The fourth is a one-off partnership between the trust and the Government of Belize to subsidize its anti-crime initiative dubbed Restore Belize.
Sharon Ramclam, Executive Director, PACT
“We looked at the Restore initiative and we thought that [uhm] well we need to help in some way to develop our people and so as a responsible organization we have that responsibility to ensure that we develop our people and so you’ve heard that this partnership is to allow for these forty high school students to be enrolled back in high school and also to foster more appreciation and understanding for the natural environment.”
Of the total sum being awarded Restore Belize commanded the lion’s share with a hundred thousand dollars. Despite the fact that it is about preserving what’s left of our decaying social fabric there is the need, according to Mary Vasquez, to engage youths in educational and environmental activities.
Mary Vasquez, Executive Director, Restore Belize
“The majority of the funding is going directly to high school scholarship assistance, so seventy thousand dollars is going to high school scholarships for two years. We have areas of focus and we will be directing this funding towards those students that need assistance in order to attend school. Fifteen thousand dollars will go towards visits, school visits to protected areas. We will be taking upper primary and high schools, high school students to visit protected areas and this will provide I think some wonderful exposure that sometimes some of the schools don’t get this opportunity to visit outside of Belize and see what the protected area thing is all about.”
Among those protected areas are the Maya Mountains and Bladen Nature Reserve which are co-managed by the Ya’axche Conservation Trust.
Lisel Alamilla, Executive Director, Ya’axche Conservation Trust
“This funds will contribute to continuing our patrols. It will also fund our research monitoring program that we have. We’ve been doing that for five years so it will continue to fund that and it will also fund the multi-agency patrols that we do with the BDF, TIDE and the police.”
The selection of awardee organizations, says Ramclam, was based on applications submitted for funding.
“What we did this year was that we prioritized the investment areas. We actually was very proactive in identifying these organizations and we looked at national level initiatives and initiatives that would have a broader impact on the country and as you’ve heard we decided to invest in the Maya Mountains, specifically Bladen and the Chiquibul because of all the activities that are happening up there particularly the illegal incursions and so this support will help to strengthen the enforcement and surveillance activity in that area.”
Monies awarded to the Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association will be used to bolster the organization’s efforts to reach out to the twelve hundred fishermen who form its membership. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.