By Aaron Humes: The Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management announced it has officially entered into public-private co-management partnerships for several protected areas across the National Protected Areas System (NPAS) with several conservation partners.
The co-managers are the Belize Audubon Society (BAS), for Guanacaste National Park; St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park; Blue Hole Natural Monument; Half Moon Caye Natural Monument; Victoria Peak Natural Monument; Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary; Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) – Chiquibul National Park; Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD) – Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary; Itzamna Society – Elijio Panti National Park; Southern Environmental Association (SEA) – Laughing Bird Caye National Park; and Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary – Monkey Bay National Park.
These agreements are site-based and entail the necessary scope, coverage, and commitments to comprehensively address gaps related to financial accountability and transparency, reporting and data availability. Furthermore, these agreements allow for greater collaboration between the Government of Belize and their conservation partners and endeavour to enhance governance of the NPAS for the benefit of Belizeans.
Minister Orlando Habet remarked that, “it is a long-awaited agreement that took the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders, catapulting the long-standing partnership into a new era of improved, innovative and transparent management.”
Amanda Acosta, Belize Audubon Society’s Executive Director, highlighted that “this milestone event marks hours of conversation and negotiation on behalf of the government and protected area co-managers. We are pleased to finally get to this point of signing. We are and continue to be committed to working in protected areas. These agreements are a validation of our work.”
Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director of Friends for Conservation and Development, said he hopes that the ministry continues to build on initiatives to strengthen governance across the system.