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London, United Kingdom (15th November, 2016).  The Belize High Commission in London is pleased to announce the signing of an agreement between SELVANA Ltd, a UK-based company and Friends for Conservation and Development, a Belizean NGO, setting out the delivery of activity on the Maya 2020 project. The Maya 2020 Project is a collaboration between FCD and Selvana Ltd with the aim of supporting the sustainable forest conservation objectives of FCD as the only non–governmental organization with an assertive management presence in the park.

Chris Minty MBE, Managing Director of Selvana said: “This rainforest is particularly important as it provides critical habitat for countless rare and endangered species, including tapir, scarlet macaw, howler monkey and the elusive jaguar. It also regulates local and regional climates and soaks up carbon gases from the atmosphere, an essential process to help combat global warming.”

According to The Nature Conservancy, a leading US conservation charity, the forest also harbors up to 400 species of resident birds, with several million individuals resting whilst migrating through the area during the North American winter periods.  However, like so many areas around the world, the forest is coming under increasing pressure from illegal deforestation, particularly and along its western border with Guatemala.

The collaboration has developed a unique approach to halting the illegal activities within the forest. By using a range of remotely sensed imagery techniques and ground-based acoustic technology, a global network of trained volunteer observers will monitor the forest in real-time from anywhere in the world - 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.

Executive Director for FCD Rafael Manzanero OBE said “we are delighted to be working with the Cornish team in the challenging task of protecting this forest.  Modern technology, if used appropriately, will be a great addition to our strategic conservation management of the Chiquibul and greatly assist our park rangers in their day to day duties”.

High Commissioner for Belize to the United Kingdom, H.E. Perla Perdomo commented: “The multi-pronged approach of use of technology, training of rangers, as well as providing sustainable livelihood resources to the Belizean community surrounding the Chiquibul must be commended and should be seen as model for others to follow.”

Maya 2020 has recently been endorsed by Her Majesty the Queen through the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Initiative. It was launched at Buckingham Palace on 15th November 2016 and aims to set a new global standard in forest conservation whilst providing sustainable jobs for local people.

Maya 2020 is also endorsed by the Government of Belize, supported by the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, the Belize High Commission in London and Rainforest Concern, a UK Charity helping to conserve rainforest. The project has also received support from the Tremough Innovation centre in Falmouth developing early project concepts and models.

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