Mesoamerican Biological Corridor Project: Belize National Report of the Participative Planning Process for the Characterization of Belize's Priority Areas

Herrera, A. (2002) Mesoamerican Biological Corridor Project: Belize National Report of the Participative Planning Process for the Characterization of Belize's Priority Areas. Technical Report.

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    The Mesoamerican Biological Corridor Project (MBCP)is a first attempt by Central American governments towards adapting a common mechanism for conserving regional biodiversity. The strategy focuses on promoting alternative land uses within proposed corridor routes that are compatible with sustaining and enhancing regional biodiversity in the long run, while being able to accommodate the present and future developmental needs of people across the region. Belize stands in a favorable position to meet these goals having over 45% of its national area under some form of protection, plus a land area that is still heavily forested and a citizenry that is becoming increasingly sensitive to the need for proper management of the country's natural resources. Given these strengths the task of promoting biological corridors within privately held areas does not appear daunting. A problem arises however, in that most of the protected areas are located in the southwestern region of the country an area with few good transnational linkages. The remainder is largely cut off by population centers and infrastructural developments. In addition, there are several private and public conservation initiatives that are also threatened with ecological isolation. Unfortunately these areas also contain the most viable transnational routes, indicating a need for sustained action in these areas to secure these crucial linkages. The time is right to promote and consolidate compatible land uses between these conservation areas before they become permanently transformed. To that end the MBCP will provide that necessary technical guidance to initiate action to secure these linkages. A central tenet of the strategy is to solicit the participation of private landowners to manage their properties in ways that are compatible with the objectives of promoting biodiversity. Working with people in this way will ensure the broad based participation and consultations that are an integral part of the planning process and are consistent with project strategy. Adhering to this policy will ensure that people themselves are at the heart of the planning process, participating first in the design and later in the implementation of program activities. In this way, they stand to benefit fully from the implementation of the project, thereby assuring its long-term success. In meeting the goals of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridors Project in Belize a first study was commissioned(Project RLA/97/G31)and submitted to the RCO in March 2001. That report addressed the general physical, ecological, socioeconomic and institutional factors prevailing in the country at the time and commented on the work of the MBC regionally and nationally. In particular it looked for synergy between the national conservation programs and the objectives of the MBC. It also defined and delineated 2 priority areas for inclusion into the strategic framework of the MBC system. This document was prepared to forward the work started in the previous year, to update gaps identified from the previous study and to study and evaluate a third priority area (Northern Belize Priority Area) with a view for its inclusion into the MBC system. The general objective is to have an updated and comprehensive baseline of the relevant priority areas of Belize in which they form an integral component of the National Biological Corridors Program. One of the most important outcomes of this process is the development of strategic action plans for the MBC in all its member countries. This process will involve broad consultations with all stakeholders in order to assist in defining the thematic and geographic priorities It is expected that alliances and partnerships will be formed as a result of this process, which will enhance the consolidation of the MBC. In this report the consultants relied on a combination of information sources and field assessments. A thorough literature review was conducted, drawing from the latest environmental and socioeconomic reports. Main sources were the latest national vegetation maps, aerial photographs and satellite imagery as well as the most recent Housing and Population Census and National Human Development Reports. In addition the consultants conducted field visits, and met with the stakeholders from the various regions culminating in a national workshop that brought the major players together at a single venue. The process elicited a high level of broad based participation, and the report addresses issues of gender and youth in involvement in areas as land tenure and organized groups as well as the need to incorporate the MBC objectives into the Government of Belize's policies and planning

    Item Type: Technical Reports (Technical Report)
    Related URLs:
      Keywords: MBCP, planning, participative, characterization, priority
      Subjects: (F) People and the Environment > (FB) Resource Use
      (I) Socio-Economic Information > (IB) Economic Valuation
      (Z) Other or Unspecified
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3B) NGOs
      Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2010 16:02
      Last Modified: 20 Jan 2011 14:28

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