The accolades for the Barrow administration continue to come in following the decision to ban offshore oil exploration in certain areas including the World Heritage Sites. As recent as today, the former Programme Specialist for the Special Projects Unit at UNESCO World Heritage Centre Marc Patry told the Communications Specialist at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), quote, “I was very happy to read that the Government of Belize has decided to ban all oil exploration activities within the World Heritage site, and even extending out 1km beyond the boundaries. This is a testament to the strength of the World Heritage Convention.” End of quote. Patry added that he applauds the tireless efforts of Belizeans who have been making a lot of noise over this issue and congratulate the government of Belize for doing something for which Belizeans a hundred years from now will thank them for. Meanwhile the Association for Protected Areas Management Organization, APAMO, issued a release today on that same token of congratulating the Government on its decision. The release reads, in part, quote, “The approval of a policy that will legally apply a ban on offshore exploration in areas along the Belize Barrier Reef System and within its World Heritage Site is of critical importance significantly contributing to the 3 pillars of sustainable development; the economic, social and environmental welfare of our beloved country. The APAMO in particular is pleased that the policy also includes that areas that fall outside of the large acreages banned, would not automatically allow for seismic activities and exploration drilling without conducting the existing stringent environmental studies to determine critical habitats and sensitive zones. The Association with 5 of its 13 members having management responsibilities over marine protected areas welcomes this milestone and remains committed to continuing working with the government and directly with its relevant ministries and regulatory authorities to protect the integrity of the protected areas of Belize while allowing the sustainable development of industries in Belize.” End of quote.