With all the controversy over reserves and parks, the Government of Belize followed up on their promise to establish a commission to oversee these protected areas. We hope that this will add a layer of security and help save our national assets. The article is pasted below.
A National Protected Areas Commission was officially introduced this afternoon during inaugural ceremonies at the Protected Areas Conservation Trust conference room in Belmopan.
Hon. Florencio Marin, Minister of Natural Resources & the Environment, officially appointed the 17-member commission in fulfillment of national obligations under the National Protected Areas Policy and System Plan endorsed by Cabinet last year.
The formation of the National Protected Areas Commission is an affirmation of government’s commitment to improve management of Belize’s protected areas and to ensure transparency and accountability. The Commission will now serve as the advisory body to the Ministers responsible for protected areas and as a national body for coordination between government agencies, non-governmental organizations, community based organizations and other associated groups.
Members appointed to the commission consist of representations from various private and national protected areas organizations, as well as government agencies.
The new members of the Commission are: co-chairs Chief Forest Officer Wilbert Sabido and Fisheries Administrator , Beverly Wade; and other members are Edilberto Romero, Programme for Belize, Lindsay Garbutt, Friends of Nature, Trevor Roe, Roe & Company, Emily Waight Aldana, Ministry of National Development, Noreen Fairweather , Lands & Surveys Department, Eugene Waight, Ministry of Agriculture, Greg Ch’oc, Sarstoon-Temash Institute for Indigenous Management, Jaime Awe, Institute of Archaeology, Valdemar Andrade, Protected Areas Conservation Trust, Tracy Taegar-Panton, Belize Tourism Board, Julian Lewis, National Federation of Community Based Co-Managers and Florentino Pop, Aguacaliente Management Team.
The members of the National Protected Areas Commission held their first inaugural meeting to review the purpose of the commission, their scope of responsibilities and their operational framework. The inaugural session adjourned to reconvene in the near future.