Belmopan. May 28th, 2018. The Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Natural Resources recently led a collaborative team comprising the Fisheries Department, Forest Department, Lands and Surveys Department, the Belize UNESCO Office and the World Wildlife Fund to implement a series of remedial actions to qualify the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System for de-listing from the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger. The Ministries and their collaborators are pleased to announce that a draft decision has been published on the World Heritage Center’s website (https://whc.unesco.org/en/soc/3807) notifying that the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System has now substantially met the indicators for de-listing. The final decision of the World Heritage Committee will be made in June this year at its 42nd meeting in Bahrain.
The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System comprises seven protected areas along the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere. It includes atolls, several hundred sand cays, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries. This outstanding natural system illustrates the evolutionary history of coral reef development and is a significant habitat for threatened marine species, including sea turtles and the West Indian Manatee. The Barrier Reef and its various attractions are one of the core foundations for Belize’s vibrant tourism industry. It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.
Although the work to de-list the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System began several years ago, the recent success was made possible through the strategic support of the Cabinet, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Environment, the Minister of Natural Resources and the two-line Ministries. The Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Natural Resources thank the Belize UNESCO Office, the World Wildlife Fund and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature for their support during this process.