World Bank provides US $6 million for plan to protect Barrier Reef

By Benjamin Flowers
Staff Reporter

The Belize Marine Conservation and Climate Adaptation Project is a US $6 million climate change project funded by the World Bank. It is scheduled to begin early this year, according to the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute.

The project is to go on for five years and is geared towards strengthening the resilience of the Belize Barrier Reef System to climate change. Strengthening will come about through ecosystem-based marine conservation and climate adaptation measures.

The plan is to employ a two-track approach which combines ecosystem-based adaptation with enabling policy and legal frameworks as an effective long-term approach to help strengthen the resilience of the reef system against adverse effects of climate change.

The Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) will be in charge to implement the project, to support improvement of the reef’s protection regime, expand and enforce measures of marine protection and to create replenishment zones in strategically selected locations. These zones will promote viable and sustainable alternative livelihood for affected users of the reef.

The project will also raise awareness and disseminate information regarding the overall health of the reef ecosystem and the resilience of coral reefs.
Chief Executive Officer of the Coastal Zone Management Authority, Vincent Gillett said the launch of the project will allow CZMAI to significantly expand and improve its role in coastal zone management.
He added that support for the Belize Coastal Zone Management Plan will be high among the activities under the adaptation fund.

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