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Belize Receives $6.9Mil Grant to Protect Forest Reserves

Government of Belize and World Bank Sign Grant for “Management and Protection of Key Biodiversity Areas in Belize” Project – The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) and the Government of Belize signed a Grant Agreement on November 5, 2014 for US$6.9 million.

The grant is provided by the Global Environment Facility and is being administered by the World Bank. This large grant was approved for a five-year project entitled “Management and Protection of Key Biodiversity Areas in Belize”, which will be executed by the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development.

The Project aims to strengthen natural resource management and biodiversity conservation in Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) of Belize by supporting Sustainable Forest Management activities in six Key Biodiversity Areas, and institutional strengthening for enhanced enforcement of Environmental Regulations. The target sites are Freshwater Creek Forest Reserve in the north, Spanish Creek Wildlife Sanctuary in the Belize District, Vaca Forest Reserve and Chiquibul National Park in the west, and Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve and Columbia River Forest Reserve in southern Belize, a total of 535,000 acres.

Belize Receives $6.9Mil Grant to Protect Forest Reserves

The project is expected to increase the area under sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation, while at the same time partnering with the people in targeted forests and 48 adjacent communities to increase their involvement and benefits from sustainable livelihood opportunities offered by the forests.

Also included in the project are activities for revisions to the Forests Act, the Wildlife Protection Act and the Environmental Protection Act, as well as the establishment of a national Forest Information System, a Forest Monitoring and Compliance Unit and regional Forest Fire Brigades, all aimed at increasing institutional capacities to improve forest and protected areas management in Belize.

Ms. Sophie Sirtaine, Country Director for the Caribbean Countries, signed on behalf of the World Bank. Ms. Sirtaine is visiting Belize this week on a familiarization tour and will visit with various government entities and private sector representatives. These meetings form a critical part of the country diagnostic leading to the development of a new country partnership strategy. Ms. Sirtaine and her team will also be touring ongoing activities funded through the Belize Municipal Development Project, which is currently being executed by the Social Investment Fund.

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