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#500415 - 01/28/15 04:16 AM FCD Meets with Guatemalan Counterparts
Marty Offline

To Discuss Illegal Issues in Chiquibul

The Friends for Conservation and Development, better known as FCD, has been working tirelessly to stop a number of illegal activities inside the Chiquibul.  For the FCD, illegal logging remains one of the top issues to tackle. For the past three years, the organization has had an agreement with Asociacion Balam, a Guatemalan organization that promotes conservation and territorial integrity. Today, FCD, in an effort to further that relationship, met with Asociacion Balam, Guatemalan officials from Poptun and other border communities to launch a project aimed at reducing illegal logging in the Chiquibul Forest. According to Executive Director of FCD, Rafael Manzanero, a number of issues were discussed.

Via Phone: Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD

“This is actually a project that is receiving the support from the EU and FAO program. It is one that has been supported over the last three years and this is another support program that we will be conducting particularly to address illegal logging and trafficking of illegal timber that would be specifically for the area of Chiquibul. We know it as a twin project because also Asociacion Balaam that is our main partner in Guatemala is also doing with the EU/FAO project.”

Rafael Manzanero

Andrea Polanco

“So based on the discussion that you had today, what are some of the things that came up in terms of some of the actions being taken to move forward?”

Via Phone: Rafael Manzanero

“Part of the work that Balaam will be doing as part of the project output is to work also on the Judiciary system in Guatemala; in terms of increasing any penalties for the illegal trafficking of timber, and also the formulation or strengthening for a task force to deal with Illegal logging in certain areas of Petén. Likewise, they will be promoting awareness in communities across in Guatemala, nearby the western border to Belize. In Guatemala, in terms of highlight the rules and laws of regulation as it pertains to the protection of the forest. Finally, they will also be dealing with more of the bi-national relations in terms of meeting with us here in Belize with sharing of data and information.”

Attending the meeting today were Executive Director of Balam Byron Castellanos, along with high level personnel from the Guatemala National Institute of Protected Areas and National Institute of Forest.

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#500534 - 01/30/15 12:58 PM Re: FCD Meets with Guatemalan Counterparts [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Wildlife ambassador seeks help for endangered scarlet macaw

The scarlet macaw (Ara macao cyanoptera) is endangered in Belize due to poaching, mostly by Guatemalans. According to the 2014 nesting report produced by Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD), the Chiquibul Forest is the key foraging and breeding habitat for the scarlet macaw, and the organization’s executive director, Rafael Manzanero, who says there are only about 100 pairs of the special birds left in Belize, is traveling to Taiwan for a week on a mission to get funding for projects to protect them.

Taiwan’s Ambassador to Belize, H.E. Benjamin Ho, said that when he met Manzanero, he was very impressed by his conservation work.

“I was so touched by what he shared that I arranged a visit for him to meet counterparts in Taiwan,” the Ambassador said.

Manzanero said that he is grateful to the Taiwan Embassy in Belize for the opportunity to undertake the 5-day mission. He explained that his objective is twofold: first, he will meet with conservation NGO’s and other institutions to highlight the FCD’s work in the Chiquibul and the Maya Mountains, and second, he will seek financial support for scarlet macaw conservation.

The official itinerary provided to us by the embassy says that the visit will run from February 2-6, 2015. Manzanero is slated to meet on Monday with the Director of Dongshih Forest District Office, Lee Yanshou, at the Forestry Bureau, where he will provide a briefing on “protecting the bi-national Chiquibul Forest, Belize-Guatemala,” to an audience of just under 20 persons.

He is scheduled to deliver that same presentation to a smaller audience, which will include the Director-General of Taiwan’s Forestry Bureau, Lee Taosheng, as well as a second presentation on the Scarlet Macaw Conservation Project on Wednesday, February 4.

Ambassador Ho says that he encouraged Manzanero to submit a funding proposal to the Bureau in light of the FCD’s mission to conserve the macaw, because the Bureau offers grants to organizations in support of their conservation work.

Manzanero’s trip to Taiwan includes a number of nature trips, including a bird watching outing at the Dashueshan National Forest Recreation Area.

He will also visit Taiwan’s Wildlife Conservation Center at the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, as well as Bird World at the Taipei Zoo.

His final presentation on the Chiquibul will be presented on Friday afternoon to an audience of about 60 persons.

Ambassador Ho said that apart from pursuing government-to-government cooperation between Belize and Taiwan, he also promotes grassroots cooperation between agencies such as FCD and their Taiwan counterparts. He told us that Manzanero will travel to Taiwan as a wildlife ambassador for Belize.

The Ambassador said that conservation is a very important issue for his country. He stated that in the past, they have suffered from environmental degradation because of over-logging or over-development, and because of those experiences they have enacted laws to help protect their natural resources. He further noted that they place emphasis on awareness of environmental protection strategies.

Ambassador Ho said that even after huge parties with thousands of people are held in his home country, Taiwan, after the people go home no trash is left behind “because we know how to protect our environment.”



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