21 June, 2001 - San Pedro Town
The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System Project was officially launched
during ceremonies in San Pedro Town on Wednesday afternoon.
Four countries, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, are taking part
in the project which has as its major objective the sustainable use of
Barrier Reef, the largest in the Western Hemisphere.
The MBRS Project is a five-year initiative with funding of US$10 Million
provided by the World Bank.
Guest speaker at the launching ceremonies was Prime Minister Said Musa
who reaffirmed Belize's commitment to the Tulum Declaration, which was
signed in 1997.
"We share a common environment and a common destiny and today is proof -
if ever proof was needed - that all of us inhabiting this space of earth
on the middle America mainland, do possess the vision and the will to
live in harmony with our environment and protect our common heritage so
that future generations will also be able to enjoy its blessings," said
the Prime Minister.
Although the Barrier Reef spans the entire 174-mile length of Belize's
coastline, both the Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources
Hon. Johnny Briceno agree that the Project is larger than that because
as both leaders said in their addresses at the ceremonies, environmental
problems know no political or geographical boundaries.
The region, the Prime Minister said, is confronted with sensitive issues
like hunger, poverty and illiteracy.
He noted that the ecological consequences of global problems caused by
environmental depredations add to concerns about Central America's
sustainability as one region.
"Environmental issues appear to be much more pervasive at this point in
our existence," said Mr. Musa, "and our efforts to resolve them must
fully take into account the beneficiaries of our collective actions."
"We must guard against being unwittingly railroad from this task by
those who would take advantage of international sensitivities associated
with the failure of others to do their duty to mankind, and be steadfast
in our mission to be champions of our earth and its treasures as well as
people who inhabit and have first call on its harvest," the Prime
Minister of Natural Resources Hon. Johnny Briceno tells the Press Office
that the headquarters for the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System Project
will be located in Belize City.
The headquarters building is currently under construction at the
Fisheries Department compound on Newtown Barracks.
Completion of the building is scheduled for next month.
Also present at Wednesday's Launch of the MBRS were Ministers of State
Patty Arceo and Servulo Baeza and Chief Executive Officer in the
Ministry of Natural resources Patricia Mendoza.