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PACT move’s into year three of its Targeted Investment Program

The Ministry of the Blue Economy and the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) signed a subsidiary agreement for the implementation of year three of PACT’s Targeted Investment Program. The program titled “Improving the Management of the Marine Reserve Network,” is aimed at enhancing conservation returns on investments in Belize’s marine areas. It is being executed by the Belize Fisheries Department and includes areas such as Caye Caulker, Bacalar Chico, Sapodilla Cayes, Glover’s Reef, and the South Water Caye marine reserves. At an investment program award ceremony held on Friday, Minister of the Blue Economy, Andre Perez, highlighted the importance of the program.

Abner “Andre” Perez, CEO, Minister of the Blue Economy: “It highlights the efforts, the collaborative efforts that occurs within our ministry and the different partners, including PACT that also plays a vital role in all the marine protected areas that fall under PACT, and Bacalar Chico is one of them. Today that scores what could be achieved if we worked together. That’s the most important thing. That is a collaborative effort. That is for all to see here. The five years are extremely important, because more and more, we are seeing the increase of tourism that is coming, especially from Ambergris Caye. And, to give you the facts, 85 percent of the tourists that had come at the P.G.I A. come to Ambergris Caye. So, these areas are directly affected. So, it means that we will have to pull more resources to better manage our zones that are available for tourists, in particular Bacalar Chico. It is well kept. It is well maintained for all to seem and we want to make it a good that is for everyone to see. This is exactly what the definition of what the Blue Economy is all about. It’s whereby we have to find that balance of developing our island in a sustainable way, in terms of growing the infrastructure. But, at the same time being mindful of our aquatic blue resources that we have to offer, that we have to take care of it for generations to come. That is the balance, the equilibrium that the Blue Economy aims for. We always make it clear, that we are not to confuse what is Blue economy with. It is not an environmental portfolio. It is an economic portfolio. But, also that the environmental aspect of it plays a vital role in that balance that we move forward to.” 

The three-year program, which is valued at a total of $1.1 million seeks to improve infrastructure and management across the network of marine reserves. Executive Director of PACT, Nayari Diaz, spoke about how the final year of the program will be executed with the assistance of the Fisheries Department.

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The implementation of the final phase of the program is expected to end on December 31, 2023.