the process of developing the sustainable use of marine resources in Belize begins



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Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2022. 9:31 PM CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Government of Belize and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) have launched the Belize Marine Spatial Planning process, which over the next five years will bring together multiple users of the ocean – including energy, industry, government, conservation and recreation – for informed and coordinated decision-making. decisions on how to use marine resources sustainably.

The process of determining the optimal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve the country’s ecological, economic and social objectives is intended to be public, inclusive and participatory, especially given our heavy dependence on marine resources, whether in fishing or tourism, for example. . The government promises it will be guided by the principles of transparency, fairness and inclusiveness as well as science and local knowledge to ensure that ultimately all Belizeans can benefit now and in the future. future of Belize’s abundant marine resources.

Beverly Wade, Director of the Blue Bond and Finance Permanence Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office, says “the launch of the MSP signals Belize’s commitment to the wise and judicious use of its marine natural capital and reinforces its leadership. globally find innovative ways to balance conservation and development The MSP process will build on Belize’s decades of experience in marine resource management and increase public participation to ensure equal access and the opportunities of our rich natural heritage for the benefit of all Belizeans.

The process will be led by a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee, comprised of representatives from government, non-governmental organizations and the private sector and chaired by the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI). Participation will include, but not be limited to, consultations, community meetings, electronic clearinghouse and media.

Chantalle Samuels, CEO of the CZMAI, pledges that “the process will inform how Belizeans can best benefit from our ocean space today into the future through actions that will also protect critical ecosystems. CZMAI will ensure that all communities and sectors with special interests in coastal and marine environments are able to meaningfully participate in the MSP process so that together we can protect biodiversity, achieve economic prosperity and safeguard our heritage.

The newly formed steering committee began its work with a two-day workshop on September 28-29 to define the vision, goals and objectives of the MSP.

Developing a legally enforceable Marine Spatial Plan is one of Belize’s key commitments under the Blue Bond Loan Agreement and Conservation Funding Agreement with TNC. These agreements specify the terms of the US$364 million debt conversion for marine conservation, which was signed in November 2021. Thus, this official launch marks an important milestone under the agreement to finance the conservation.

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