By Aaron Humes: Belize’s Barrier Reef has been listed on the World Heritage Sites in Danger since 2009, and is tipped to remain there when the UNESCO World Heritage Committee considering the issue meets next week.
So how is Belize’s Government performing in enacting and maintaining policies that help safeguard the reef?
Fairly well, according to a six-point scorecard crafted by several environmental organizations, but it could be better.
The scorecard’s total rating is 11 points out of 18, or 61 percent. All categories – oil, mangroves, coastal development and tourism, environmental regulation, world heritage value and fisheries were rated between 1 and 2.5 at most based on the recommendations made in the UNESCO Desired State of Conservation Report, with the average score on each being 2 except for environmental regulation, which was rated 1.
Vice President of OCEANA in Belize Janelle Chanona spoke of a major factor in keeping the reef safe – formalizing the moratorium on petroleum exploration offshore and following up with a full ban.
The Government has not responded publicly to the UNESCO challenge.
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