By Aaron Humes: In the 20 years since its founding, the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) has assisted local conservation organizations with millions of dollars in funding for grant projects to sustain the development of the more than 20 protected areas on land and sea countrywide.
Today, it met with some of those stakeholders at a forum in Belize City to discuss its revised focus after contentious changes to its legislative foundation made last year, and launched its call for proposals for the coming year, at a cost of 1.2 million dollars.
CEO in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development, Dr. Colin Young, says PACT is focusing on institutional and governance strengthening; financial sustainability and resource mobilization; and management plans for protected areas. Funds will be granted up to 100 thousand dollars for a single category and up to 400 thousand for multiple applicants – but only six total grants will be issued – four to single entities and two to multiple entities.
PACT maintains a stringent monitoring process for spending of the funds, but some have complained that this process is too laborious to get through. Dr. Young says it will be addressed and Dr. Elma Kay, a PACT board member, says they are working with applicants to get the proposals done properly and with an understanding of how to monitor successes.
A further 325 thousand is available for projects outside of PACT’s designated scope.