Friends for Conservation and Development, FCD, co-manages the largest protected area in Belize, the Chiquibul National Park and the largest cave system in Central America, the Chiquibul Cave System. It’s no easy task but in the last seven years, FCD has been fighting encroachment from Guatemalans. The good news tonight is that FCD rangers along with other agencies here in Belize and Guatemala have managed to reduce and contain the extraction of xate and illegal logging. FCD’s Executive Director, Rafael Manzanero spoke to Love News.
Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD: “A lot of it has been due to more enforcement program in the area, in having more of the rangers and support systems particularly from the Belize Defense Force and the police to be able to contain and arrest the problems. However, it is important also to note that part of the strategy then has been to work in close collaboration with our Guatemalan counterparts. When I talk about counterparts I mean environmental groups also across in Guatemala who also just like us in Belize have their other kinds of alliances that they would build in terms of addressing some of the transboundary issues. So it has been a mix of strategies that have been able to dovetail and be able to reduce those particular threats. One of the other unique things that have happened in Guatemala and hopefully we’d be able to expand more by next week whenever we have the binational forum is that sustainable livelihoods in those communities across the border has also been addressed in terms of starting up seed funds for those communities so that has also been able to reduce some of the conflicts among the communities there and also the conflicts that they have had within Belizean territory.”