Oh yes. Belizean Heritage. Excellent.And I see the 2009 World Heritage site evaluation of the Belize Barrier Reef is mentioned.
That would be theJune 15th 2009 evaluation which in UNESCO's mission report, quote "concluded that the reef is faced with specific and proven imminent danger, and should be considered for immediate inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger" unquote
So our reef is now on that list.
Why you may ask is that? Who is to blame?
Well the UNESCO report which was not well publicised at the time (I wonder why?) tells the story.
And it has NOTHING to do with tourism, tour guides, so let's shoot that canard straight away.
Here are a few quotes from that report.
"The overall impression is there is no clear recognition or understanding of the management implications of a World Heritage property"
"The government appears to be managing mangrove islands as unprotected national public lands and not as part of the World heritage property"
" It is apparently still possible with the current government for large developments to take place within the World Heritage property"
And finally " The mission team was disappointed in that, except for a brief meeting with the Minister of Tourism, no senior government representatives met the mission thus not allowing for discussion of the findings"
In other words GOB snubbed UNESCO. Very smart. When the doctor tells you you are sick, the smart thing to do is listen to what he says, not refuse to meet him, or be "in a meeting"
This report is damning, but for the BTB or BTIA to think they will be able to help is re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
What is the real reason the Barrier Reef in trouble?
There are two reasons.
First we are not controlling development on the system. that is an inescapable conclusion from the UNESCO report.
Second, we are failing to manage the pollution, eutrophication sedimentation, and habitat loss to development all of which are key contributors to reef decline. This is taken from the summary of the MMAS symposium last Friday in Belize City.
I posted a report on the symposium on a separate thread.
I close by repeating what Dr Kaufman said in his concluding remarks. " we conclude that simply managing fishing pressures and direct human impacts (ie tourism)are insufficient to halt reef decline"
So maybe we should all be asking the body responsible for the control of land based pollution, eutrophication, sedimentation, and habitat loss to development, the Department of Environment what they made of Dr Kaufman's remarks?
Oh, wait a bit, we can't. The DoE did not even bother to go to the meeting, and nor did the Forestry Department.
Anyway the message is clear. It ain't the tourists damaging the reef, its US who live here. Uncomfortable maybe, but thats what the scientists tell us (very gently LOL)