The Protected Area Conservation Trust (PACT) this year accomplishes two and a half decades of protecting the environment. The PACT Act was passed in 1996 and considered an innovated piece of legislation that has shown tremendous benefits over the two decades. In 2015, the PACT Act was amended to accommodate the needs of the country’s protected areas system. As Belize’s national conservation trust, PACT collects revenues from conservation fee and redistribute monies throughout the National Protected Areas System. Multi-media Officer for PACT Andre Marsden highlighted the importance of PACT’s role.
Andre Marsden, Multi Media Officer, PACT: “The work of PACT as I mentioned is to manage the protected areas and protected areas are incredibly important to the country of Belize not do they serve as an attractor of tourism which is as we know from the pandemic has been the largest industry for many years in Belize but the protected areas themselves serve a very critical, practical function to Belize’s functioning and development. Today there are 103 protected areas comprised of a number of categories from forest reserves, marine reserves and national parks and so on and we’ve invested more than $34 million in management of those protected areas as well as building human capacity in the form of scholarships, providing training and basically building the human element the ability for people to manage and to benefit from those protected areas.”
Marsden says that PACT remains committed to contributing to the sustainable management and development of Belize’s natural and cultural assets.
Andre Marsden, Multi Media Officer, PACT: “You could see an impact on ecosystem health which relates to biodiversity management and also enforcement and practicing enforcement of sustainable use, building financial sustainability of the protected areas and of the agencies responsible for comanaging those protected areas and providing socioeconomic benefit. Essentially if the adjacent communities could benefit from the protected areas, from the work that the comanagers are doing then we knew that our investments were sound and that we could benefit from those. So under this our conservation and investment strategy we focused on those areas, we focused on forming partnerships that contribute to those areas and based on those we are able to look and see whether our strategy is working, whether our investments are seeing some sort of return. So this year marks year three of that so as part of our 25th anniversary we’re actually looking forward while also looking back. So we are assessing our investment strategy, how that went, what were some of the challenges we may have may have faced and we’re putting together those lessons for the future for organizing a new development plan, a new conservation investment strategy and even new ways of forming partnerships between PACT and community organizations.”