An Environmental Agenda for Belize 2008 - 2013


Presentation Description

This presentation was made at the launch of an Environmental Agenda for Belize 2008 - 2013. This is a policy document for which the Belize Audubon Society is advocating for implementation by the Government of Belize.


Presentation Transcript

Belize Audubon Society : 

Belize Audubon Society An Environmental Agenda for Belize 2008 - 2013 Tanya Williams-Thompson Advocacy Programme Manager

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BACKGROUND An Environmental Agenda for the 21st Century Goal: To promote BAS’ mission and ensure that Government decisions are base on sound environmental principles. Environmental Agenda 2002 and Beyond Goal: To influence Government to implement its environmental manifesto promises.

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An Environmental Agenda for Belize 2008 – 2013 Goal: To influence the development of a national environmental agenda and to influence the integration of environmental issues into the national development policy. Analysis of key environmental topics Diagnosis of problems (issues and concerns) Recommendations for corrective actions.

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The Process Identifying topics and potential expert contributors Review and validation Promulgation LOBBYING PUBLIC AWARENESS

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INSIDE THE ENVIRONMENTAL AGENDA Environmental Governance Belize Aquaculture Industry Coastal Resources and Coral Reefs of Belize The Fisheries of Belize Climate Change Water Resources Agriculture Sector: Food Security and Sovereignty Infrastructure and Sustainable Development Tourism Waste Management Energy Petroleum Exploration and Development in Belize Environmental Education Belize’s Protected Areas

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Development of new policies and revision and updating of existing policies The lack of a land use policy to guide development The need for greater inter-agency coordination to reduce conflict and gaps. Greater financial and human resources in order for agencies to carry out their mandates. OVERARCHING ISSUES

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Environmental Governance concerns how decisions are made with a particular emphasis on the needs of citizens and interest groups, and communities generally, to participate and have their voices heard.

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Status Environmental Governance legal foundation is rooted in Environmental Protection Act. Belize is signatory to several environmental agreements. Public participation plays an important role in good governance. ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE

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ISSUES No shared vision of sustainability Lack of coordination, fragmentation and overlaps Discretionary Powers of the Executive Lack of resources Recommendations for action Formulate a sustainable development vision and policy Formalize a body responsible for coordinating land use and terrestrial development. Re-establish the Coastal Zone Management Authority/Institute (CZMI) with its coordinating function Review all existing draft policies, plans and legislations.

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3,500 acres of shrimp production ponds = value in production at Bz$62.52 (2006) 300 acres for tilapia = value in production at Bz$3 million Open sea caged fishery (Cobia) = Bz$1 million

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BELIZE AQUACULTURE INDUSTRY Status Aquaculture industry is based mainly on the production of the pacific white shrimp. Decrease in market price = closure of some shrimp farms. Production of other species such as tilapia and Cobia is increasing.

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Issues Restoration of Aquaculture Sites National Zoning Plan for Aquaculture Aquaculture Development Act Environmental Certification Recommendations action Amend the Aquaculture Development Act Put in place regulatory measures restoration plan Update and implement the Draft Aquaculture Policy and Zoning Plans Promote eco-labeling of aquaculture commodities and certification of aquaculture

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The Belize Barrier Reef complex contributes 30% to Belize’s Gross Domestic = commercial fisheries products, tourism and private sector investment in coastal developments and aquaculture.

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COASTAL RESOURCES AND CORAL REEFS Status The coastal resources and coral reefs of Belize are important for their biodiversity significance, ecosystem services and economic contribution.

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Issues Over-exploitation and degradation of resources Lack of coordinating mechanism of the CZMAI and Integrated Coastal Zone Management Strategy Financing for long-term sustainability Recommendations for actions Reactivation of the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute and all its functions Support and endorsement of financing mechanisms for coastal resources management

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1/2 of the world’s population lives within 60 km of the coast In Belize, 100% of Belize’s population lives 125 km from the coast 26% of respondents to Belize Climate Change KAP Survey did not know what the term climate change mean

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Climate Change Status Climate Change is real and is the greatest challenge facing humanity during the 21st century. Models for global average surface air warming for 2099 are 1.8C for the low scenario to 4.0 C for the high scenario. Belize is extremely vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change (Fuller, C.)

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Issues Increasing sea water temperature (1 to 3.5 C) resulting in frequency and severity of coral bleaching, effects on fisheries, tourism Rising sea level rise of about 1m by 2100 Aquifers serving San Pedro and Placencia have already been lost as result of over-extraction of freshwater, Caye Caulker aquifer is compromised. Agriculture will be affected through a decline of 10-20% in crop yields. Recommendations for actions Develop strategies that ensure the country develops along a path that is sustainable and can adapt to a changing climate Revise the National Climate Change Policy and integrate climate change into all department planning and policy development Sensitize the public to the potential impacts of climate change on Belize through a general education programme

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Main sources of water for human consumption are from surface water (rivers) and ground water (wells) Safe drinking water stands at 92% nationwide

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Water Resources Status Belizeans consumes 2 billion plus gallons of water yearly. Water availability per person in Belize is 65,000 cubic metres Changing trends in extreme flow events may be indicative of land use and land cover changes. 68.1% of urban and 25.8% of rural communities have adequate sanitation coverage (2005 MDG First Report)

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Issues Lack of Integrated Water Resource Management Effects of land use on water resources Water quality is affected by contamination due to inadequate disposal of household, agricultural and industrial liquid and solid waste. Recommendations Implement the recommendation of the NPTWC including the establishment of the National Water Commission Enforcement of the 66 foot riparian buffer zone along all water bodies Implement and enforce the effluent regulations to prevent contamination of water bodies from industrial effluents, especially including the penalties for violations

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Agricultural outputs for 2007 was Bz$373 million = 12% of GDP

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Status Belize has a farming census of 9,697; covering land area of 364,394 acres. A significant level of self-sufficiency for staple commodities have been achieved Export markets long-term viability is dependent on trade liberalization in CARICOM, the European Union, and Belize. AGRICULTURAL SECTOR: FOOD SECURITY AND SOVEREIGNTY

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Issues Environmental cost of sustaining production growth is increasing Land availability and tenure Agriculture development challenge for future growth is in the identification and access of markets Recommendations for action Integrate agriculture polices with natural resources and environmental policies Discontinue the practice of de-reserving lands with agricultural potential within protected areas. Develop a land distribution strategy (so that the little lands left can get in the hands of those who produce food, may involve the buying back of agricultural lands)

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Belize’s protected areas cover 26.2%, includes the second longest barrier reef in the world, wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites), Mayan archaeological sites and contributes to Belize’s ecologically, economically and culturally. BELIZE’S PROTECTED AREAS

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Status 94 terrestrial and marine protected areas. Government has endorsed the National Protected Areas Policy and System Plan. National Protected Areas Policy is the key statement on the role and management of protected areas. National Protected Areas System Plan is designed to implement the policy with strategic actions Belize’s Protected Areas

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Issues Need for improve coordination between agencies with resp. for protected areas Co-management arrangements between CBOs/NGOS and the Forest Department and Fisheries Department require clarity Legislation that governs protected areas have major weaknesses Mineral and petroleum extraction within legally recognized protected areas. Recommendations for action Harmonize and standardize protected areas categories to allow for coherency in the system Establish a co-management framework, legislation and guidelines Conduct stakeholder meetings to discuss the issue of mineral/petroleum extraction in protected areas amongs all stakeholders, and use the outcome to guide development of a policy on mineral.

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Government is the lead in implementation but all NGOs and CBOs are partners in the development of Belize. BAS will partner with other NGOs in lobbying Government for uptake of recommendations. Development and implementation of environmental education programme. NEXT STEPS

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