WWF’s ongoing Save Our Heritage Campaign to protect Belize’s Barrier Reef has now gathered approximately 265,000 petitions; the largest petition effort ever for Belize. Ambergris Today and iTravel Belize teams joined the Reef Petitions Parade in Belmopan City on Friday, March 10, 2017, at the National Assembly to be part of the historic delivery of the petitions to the Office of the Prime Minister of Belize.
Even more so, iTravel Belize blogger Madison Edwards, was invited to hand deliver her letter to the Prime Minister which she wrote asking him to stand up along with her and there rest of the country against offshore oil exploration. Madison, WWF and Belize Coalition Partners stood at the steps of the National Assembly and delivered their messages of protecting the reef and the ban of offshore oil exploration. They broadcasted Live on Facebook platforms of WWF Belize, WWF international and Oceana Belize.
The campaign started in April 2016 with the idea to give people from all over the world, including Belize, the opportunity to show how much our Belize Barrier Reef #WorldHeritage Site meant to them, by sending an email directly to the Prime Minister asking him to take the necessary steps to protect it and get it off the UNESCO in danger list.
The reef is currently on UNESCO's "in-danger" list, meaning that the organization that designates World Heritage sites is worried about the management and longevity of Belize's largest tourist attraction and greatest natural wonder.
"There are a total of four indicators that the government must address as part of the ask from UNESCO to get the sight removed from the endangered list rather,” stated Nadia Bood - WWF . “One indicator relates to mangrove, one indicates to coastal development, one indicator relates to land ownership and development aspects to those cayes that are owned within the World Heritage Site and one relates to oil.”
Bood says that the longer our reef stays on the "in danger" list, the more likely it is that it will be stripped of its status as a World Heritage Site; a title which Bood says is instrumental in developing Belize as a tourist destination. WWF is hopeful that the Government of Belize will meet the standards of UNESCO by 2018 as not enough has been done to meet the deadline at the middle of this year.
”This is an ongoing campaign that we have undertaken since 2009,” commented Valentino Shal - WWF. “Belize's World Heritage site, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System has been in the endangered list with UNESCO and there are several measures that the government needs to take to ensure that it's properly protected and then it will be taken off. Those measures have not yet been met and year after year we are making very slow progress. So we need to bring this matter to the attention of the Prime Minister."
While this is an awesome milestone, Belize still needs your help. Go to panda.org/belize today and let's get #Belize OFF the in danger list.