While our local and national authorities as well as our government is spending countless hours, effort, energy and money in dealing with many other and sometimes trivial issues like oil drilling in protected areas and the sea, citrus problems, sugar problems, bus and transport dilemmas, crime, the Infamous Ninth Amendment to the Constitution, etc., not enough attention is given to our reef which has been placed in the endangered list by the World Heritage Center, Take note that there are many threats to the health of our reef and if these threats are not removed and there is more deterioration of our reef, then it will not be considered anymore a World Heritage Site.
Here is what the World Heritage Center has asked Belize, and the government for that matter, to do: (1) Implement the necessary legal measures to guarantee the permanent cessation of the sale and lease of lands throughout the property and the cessation of mangrove cutting, coral dredging and other associated real estate development activities that lead to the destruction of marine ecosystems. (2) Ensure that development rights on existing private or lease lands within the property are clearly defined and strictly controlled with a view to conserving the outstanding universal value of the property. (3) Develop and implement a restoration policy for lands degraded by unauthorized activities (4) Establish a clear institutional mechanism to ensure conservation and governmental decision-making process. (5) Develop a framework for co-management (6) Systematically consider and address the threat established.
We have in our possession a copy of the long document presented by the World Heritage Center and it simply explains that adequate attention needs to be given to this matter. If not, we can kiss good-bye to the “extraordinary status” given to our Belize Barrier Reef as a World Heritage Site.