Green Reef-Belize named BEMMACCOR Secratariat

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 18            May 15, 2003

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BEMAMCCOR Chair/Green Reef President Mito Paz

The Executive Committee of the Belize-Mexico Alliance for the Management of the Common Coastal Resources (BEMAMCCOR) met Tuesday, May 6th and announced Belize as their new 2003 2005 Secretariat. Furthermore, Mr. Guillermo "Mito" Paz, Chief Officer and President of Green Reef Environmental Institute, was appointed the Chair of BEMAMCCOR for the 2003 2005 term. Colegio de Biologos del Sistema Tecnologico, (COBIOTEC) from Mexico will serve as the Co-Chair for the Alliance. 

    BEMAMCCOR is a forum for consultation, coordination, convergence and joint efforts in the management of the coastal resources shared between Belize and Mexico. It is a collective body comprised of various agencies, institutes and organizations from both countries, that work together with their respective ministries responsible for natural resources and environment, to fulfill their commitments to responsible coastal resource management.

    The organizations comprising the BEMAMCCOR general membership (as well as those attending the recent meeting) from Belize are Green Reef Environmental Institute (Mito Paz), San Pedro Tour Guide Association,  Belize Institute for Environmental Law and Policy (Godsman Ellis), Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute, Hol Chan Marine Reserve (Miguel Alamilla), Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve and National Park (Alicia Eck), Caye Caulker Forest and Marine Reserve (Isaias Majil), University of Belize and Belize Audubon Society.

    BEMAMCCOR membership organizations from Mexico are Amigos de Sian Ka an, Colegio de Biologos del Sistema Tecnologico, Amigos del Manati, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Universidad de Quintana Roo and Reserva de Banco Chinchorro.

    The objective of the Secretariat of BEMAMCCOR is the coordination of the regional activities of the network and to follow up on agreements made by BEMAMCCOR. These include requesting plans, writing proposals, seeking funds for research projects, representing BEMAMCCOR at public occasions and managing the organization's funds. As Secretariat, Mr. Paz plans to initiate projects such as researching the water quality of  Chetumal Bay, harmonizing the fisheries laws between Mexico and Belize, standardizing the zoning between the marine protected areas of the two countries and providing alternate economic training courses for fishermen.

    According to Mr. Paz, a plan is in place to hire a full-time coordinator to work for both countries of the Alliance. This person would oversee many of the administrative duties and activities required by the Alliance that members do not have time to fulfill.

    Mr. Paz explained that in the last year, members of BEMAMCCOR, a bi-national alliance (Belize-Mexico), met with members of TRIGO, a tri-national alliance (Honduras-Guatemala-Belize). This introduction was initiated by the Meso-American Barrier Reef System organization as a means to combine the strategies of both alliances in the management of trans-boundary marine and national parks (those parks that overlap borders).

    Mr. Paz stated, "Without alliances such as BEMAMCCOR and TRIGO, members of these individual NGOs and conservation organizations might never have met. These alliances have made it possible for all of these multi-national organizations to exchange ideas, research and methodologies, while developing long-lasting working relationships." He added that a multi-national alliance would be able to address issues as a unified front. This alliance could possibly, in time, make recommendations to all governments regarding park management, fishing regulations, zoning laws, etc.

    Belize and Mexico signed an agreement and terms of reference establishing BEMAMCCOR in March of 2001. This year, BEMAMCCOR will register as a Non-Governmental Organization in the country of Belize to assist in the management of their countries' shared coastal resources.
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