Posted: Wednesday, April 26, 2023. 12:06 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System is getting action to safeguard from the impacts of climate change.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation launched the formal Belize Strategy for Reef Resilience, linking government, business and civil society in ensuring Belize’s most priceless asset is not further damaged or eliminated altogether. Initial seed funding has been provided to start implementation of priority actions, each addressing an important challenge that will strengthen the resilience of this globally iconic coral reef ecosystem.
The Resilience Strategy was developed over two years with consultation of community members, scientists, managers and government agencies under the Resilient Reefs Initiative. Key challenges to be addressed include enabling the protection of key blue carbon ecosystems and improving the well-being of Belize’s small-scale fisheries communities through the creation of viable, sustainable, and resilient alternative livelihoods. The Strategy is underpinned by existing science about the health and challenges facing Belize’s reef ecosystem, the resilience of communities’ livelihoods, and the current governance arrangements that are in place to protect the World Heritage-listed coral reef.
Management will be in the hands of a Chief Resilience Officer, to be appointed for four years, who sits within the Belize government and who is tasked with coordinating the on-the-ground work.
The Resilient Reefs initiative was initiated by the Australian Great Barrier Reef Foundation in collaboration with UNESCO, The Nature Conservancy’s Reef Resilience Network, Columbia University’s Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes, Resilient Cities Catalyst, and AECOM and funded to the tune of US$9.5 million by the BHP Foundation. It has launched resilience strategies for the Australian Ningaloo coast and will follow in Palau’s Rock Islands Southern Lagoon and France’s Lagoons of New Caledonia later this year.
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