How is Belize protecting our heritage?
Wildlife, jobs, coastal protection. So much value, yet so many threats. The Belize barrier reef is supposed to be protected. But we don’t think enough is being done to safeguard this valuable World Heritage site.
Belize is currently at a crossroad. The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System was added to the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2009. Today the future of the site is still threatened by offshore oil drilling and damaging coastal construction. This, despite the fact that more than half of Belize’s population, or about 190,000 people, are supported by incomes generated through reef-related tourism and fisheries. The annual economic contribution of reef-related tourism, fisheries and scientific research is estimated at around 15 per cent of Belize’s gross domestic product (GDP) .
The Belize government can choose sustainability and secure the long-term prosperity of the reef. Doing so would ensure that the reef could continue to support fisheries, provide coastal protection, and generate revenues for current and future generations. Further, such decisive actions could help the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System to be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
As UNESCO’s 40th World Heritage Committee (WHC) Meeting is approaching in July 2016, UNESCO will report on the Belize government’s progress towards the corrective measures agreed over the latest Desired State of Conservation Report (DSOCR).
The aim of this scorecard is to look at how the Belize government is performing in protecting our reef and to provide some recommendations in the lead up to the WHC Meeting in July 2016 and beyond. We will use this scorecard to track future policies and actions.
If you agree, share your concern with the Belize prime minister now: http://panda.org/belize