Belize Barrier Reef a living treasure
(Friday 23 January 2004 10:36:46 am)

Belize's Barrier Reef Reserve System, a World Heritage Site and the Coastal Zone Man-agement Authority and Institute (CZMAI) are prominently featured in the World Heritage Review No. 33-2003 in an article entitled "Belize - Living Treasures of the Reefs."

The article, written by CZM Institute Director, Leandra Cho-Ricketts, speaks of the tremen-dous value of Belize's Barrier Reef.

"The Belize submarine shelf contains the world's second largest barrier reef system and the largest reef complex in the Atlantic Car-ibbean area. It is an area of considserable scientific value and provides habitat for many species of conservation impor-tance, such as the manatee and sea turtle.

The article states: "The World Heritage Site (the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System) has important intrinsic value to the inhabitants of Belize as it is used for recreation and cultural activities."

CZMAI is responsible for the co-ordination of the management of Belize's World Heritage Site as well as its broader scope of facilitating an integrated approach to the management of Belize's coastal resources.

The organisation has supported five of the seven protected areas which are a part of the World Heritage Sites through provision of staff, training and infra-structure.

In addition, CZMI has financed and spearheaded efforts to revise existing manage-ment plans for these protected areas.

In December 1996, Belize's Barrier Reef Reserve System was declared a World Heritage site by the World Heritage Committee under the UNESCO World Heri-tage Convention.

This Convention provides for the protection of those cultural and natural properties deemed to be of "outstanding universal value."
Seven protected areas are included in the system: Bacalar Chico National Park and Marina Reserve, (Mexico) Laughing Bird Caye National Park, Half Moon Caye Natural Monument, Blue Hole Natural Monument, Glover's Reef Marine Reserve, South Water Caye Marine Reserve and Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve.(Belize)