Institutionalizing element of the Convention on Biological Diversity in the Belize Integrated Coastal Zone Management Program

Gillett, V. Institutionalizing element of the Convention on Biological Diversity in the Belize Integrated Coastal Zone Management Program. Technical Report.

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    The Convention on Biological Diversity was signed by Belize on June 13, 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and ratified in December 1993. Belize also signed the Central American Agreement on Biodiversity in 1992 and the Alliance for Sustainable Development (ALIDES) in 1994. In 1994, the Government of Belize formed an Interim National Biodiversity Committee and in 1996, the National Biodiversity Committee was established and charged with the responsibility of providing guidance to the Government on policies necessary to conserve and sustainable use Belize’s biological resources. In September of 1998 Belize published, in two volumes, its National Biodiversity Strategy and The Belize Biodiversity Action Plan. These were significant achievements for the country of Belize, given that the concept of Biodiversity was fairly new and, prior to 1993, was rarely mentioned in national planning exercise (Jacobs and Castaneda, 1998). Nevertheless, the government of Belize, being mindful of the threats faced by it natural and cultural resources as a result of unsustainable development practices and an increasing population growth was, determined to forge ahead with formulating policies and strategies to minimize these threats. The Biodiversity strategy developed was based on the recognition that the sustainable use of the country’s resources would only be achieved if programs and action focused on conservation; this principle being consistent with the spirit of the Convention on Biological Diversity. There is however, no formal policy on the conservation of biological diversity, though the Minister of Natural resources Environment and Industry had commissioned a Committee to help in 1999 to help to formulate and develop a National Biodiversity policy document (Chun 1999).Nevertheless, Belize’s biodiversity conservation efforts have been directed towards a National Protected Area System, which consists of about 60 state and private reserves within both the terrestrial and marine environment (PFB & IADB, 1995). The intent here is to formulate a National Conservation Policy, within which a network of National Protected Areas Systems would be established and maintained. Central to this theme is the coastal ecosystem including the “coastal zone” the connected Belize Barrier Reef System and the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) created therein. As was the experienced with most other coastal states, Belize was resolute in its intent to better manage its coastal resources especially in light of development staking place within it. In this regard, it developed, with the help of donor agencies an 4 approach that aimed at Sustainably Developing and Managing the Biologically Diverse Coastal Resources of the country. This approach was first suggested at a meeting of national and international scientist and stakeholders in Belize (Anon.1990).The group concluded that an integrated approach to coastal zone management would most appropriately contribute to sustaining Belize’s highly biologically diverse coastal resources. Following on the recommendation of the group a coastal zone management unit was established, in 1990 in the fisheries Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Then in 1993, with funds provided by the Global Environment Facility, a five year project was implemented. The project, Belize: Sustainable Development and Management of Biologically Diverse Coastal Resources was implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries through the Coastal Zone Management Unit of the Fisheries Department. As a consequence of the findings and effectiveness of the project, the Government of Belize enacted, in 1998, the Coastal Zone management Act. As result of this Act the Coastal Zone Management Authority (CZMA) and the Coastal Zone Management Institute (CZMI) was established. The activities of these organizations were funded by the Phase II GEF project which was to further the work began in 1993. This phase of the program was funded for a further five years; from 1999 to 2004. The Coastal Zone Management Program was the first in Belize to embrace the concept of integrated coastal zone management. The program has been operational for about nine years and has been assessed several times. The issue of the application of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) is best demonstrated by an examination of the strategy devised by Belize for the management of its coastal resources through the programs and activities of the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute. This paper seeks to provide information regarding the incorporation of the CBDs objectives in to the Convention into the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute’s (CZMAI). The methods used was to review the project goals, objectives, activities and results and assess to the extent to which elements in the Belize program were utilizing approaches and tools encouraged by the in CBD.

    Item Type: Technical Reports (Technical Report)
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      Keywords: coastal zone management, CZMA, CZMI
      Subjects: (A) Biodiversity > (AB) Birds
      (A) Biodiversity > (AC) Fish > (ACB) Marine
      (A) Biodiversity > (AI) Reptiles > (AIB) Marine
      (C) Ecosystems > (CB) Marine > (CBA) Coral Reefs
      (H) Protected Areas > (HD) Marine Reserve
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3A) Government Departments
      Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2010 13:54
      Last Modified: 20 Jan 2011 14:51

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