Proceedings of the First Belize Freshwater Summit

Program for Belize, (2003) Proceedings of the First Belize Freshwater Summit. UNSPECIFIED, Belize.

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    Sponsored by Programme for Belize and The Nature Conservancy, the First Belize Freshwater Summit was held at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City on 14- 15 January, 2003, in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Cooperatives. The purpose of this summit was to draw together all organizations, agencies and experts in the fields of freshwater ecosystem conservation and management to exchange information and explore the potential for collaboration on a national freshwater strategy for Belize. More than sixty-three individuals from 46 governmental, non-governmental, community based, and industry organizations attended the two-day conference, which is summarized in the document below. Day one consisted of presentations in four topic areas: Water Science, Resource Use, Conservation Case Studies, and Water Policy. Noted Belizean and accomplished foreign researchers working in Belize presented their research findings on hydrologic and sediment models, rapid watershed assessment, ecosystem classification, and the ecology of malaria carrying mosquitoes in northern Belize wetlands. In the resource use segment, the Banana Growers Association presented on influences that banana production has on water in the Stann Creek and Toledo District, and the Petroleum and Mines Department summarized trends in sand and gravel extraction. Programme for Belize and the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment presented their current and planned freshwater conservation activities in New River Lagoon and the Maya Mountain Marine Corridor respectively. Finally presentations were given by the Department of Environment and the Fisheries Department on existing and planned policies protecting freshwater resources, and proposed inland fisheries regulations. Audience questions and comments during these presentations focused on: (1) reconciling the perspectives of scientists, civil society and policy makers; (2) the need to quantify threats to water quality, quantity and biodiversity from resource use activities; (3) the need for NGOs to forge strong alliances in communities and government; and (4) the need to match regulations with enforcement and monitoring capacity. Day 2 started with a discussion about the role of scientists in the policy making process, and moved into a forward-thinking dialogue about integrated freshwater management in Belize. When asked, "Do we need a national strategy to help manage Belize's Freshwaters?", the group replied with a unanimous "Yes". Next, regional breakout groups summarized threats to human health and water quantity, water quality, and biodiversity were (1) human settlements;(2) commercial agrochemical runoff; and (3) subsistence runoff on the floodplain. Ten waterborne health threats, key stakeholders in the regional water management process, and information needs were also identified and are summarized below. A Policy breakout group identified strengths and weaknesses of existing policies protecting freshwater. Toward the end of Day 2, following a presentation about the status, achievements and challenges of the Coastal Zone Management Institute and Authority in Belize, a whole-group discussion led to consensus on the following three points- important end products of the summit: 1. A task force should be formed by the Ministry of Natural Resources that builds on existing efforts to create a National Freshwater Management Strategy for Belize. 2. Freshwater Summit coordinators should follow up with MNR to share results from this productive forum. 3. The process of developing a national strategy should include extensive stakeholder consultations at multiple levels.

    Item Type: Other
    Related URLs:
      Subjects: (C) Ecosystems > (CA) Freshwater > (CAA) Lagoons
      (C) Ecosystems > (CA) Freshwater > (CAB) Lakes
      (C) Ecosystems > (CA) Freshwater > (CAC) Rivers
      (E) Hydrology
      (F) People and the Environment > (FA) Environmental Health
      (F) People and the Environment > (FB) Resource Use
      (G) Pollution > (GC) Water
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3B) NGOs
      Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2010 16:01
      Last Modified: 20 Jan 2011 14:50

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