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PACT earmarks $3.5 million for new conservation investments

Posted: Saturday, February 24, 2018. 6:47 p.m. CST.

Yesterday, the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) announced a new funding strategy for Belize’s National Protected Areas System (NPAS).

This Conservation Investment Strategy will ensure the allocation of funds for long-term support towards the achievement of priority actions within priority ecosystems.

The investment portfolio will see an initial budget allocation of $3.5 million to be replenished periodically.

The strategy is another component of PACT’s transition to a new operational framework which seeks to improve the impact of the Fund. It was developed through a collaborative planning process among protected area co-managers, PACT, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Environment, & Sustainable Development.

It has been a year of bold change at the institution and as the operational year comes to a close for PACT, the following accomplishments are highlighted:

1. A Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system for regular monitoring, reporting and evaluation of the impact of the Fund’s investments and level of compliance with its strategic plan.

2. A raised Fund-level credibility profile: integrity standards for anti-fraud & prohibited practices, independent investigation, and whistle-blower protection; accountability policies for financial management & reporting, independent audits, fair and transparent procurement processes; transparency policies for fair decision-making procedures, clear ethics, conflict of interest rules, and internal auditing.

3. Lowering of operating costs relative to income. Operating cost was reduced from 30% to 16% of income, liberating over $700,000 for new investments. The real impact of this recent change is seen relative to future cost. With control measures now in place, the larger result is greater availability of funds for conservation investments now and in the future.

The overall aim of the Fund’s transition is that with the advancements it is making in funding strategy, monitoring performance, improved governance, and low operating costs, PACT will be placed in the best position it has ever been to effectively engage other partners and international collaborators for supporting Belize’s globally important protected areas system.

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