Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute
Established by the Belizean Government, the Coastal Zone Management Authority has responsibility for implementing and monitoring policies that govern the use and development of the coastal zone in Belize - taking a multi-sectoral approach that links the effects of land-based activities on the marine environment. In addition to advising the Government on all matters related to the coastal zone, the major functions of the Authority are to assist in the development of coastal programmes and projects, planning policies and development guidelines.
The ‘I’ of the Belize CZMA&I represents the ‘Institute’ - the leading marine scientific research organization in Belize. It is headed by a Director with a technical staff to carry out monitoring and research programmes, and in coordination with various regional agencies undertakes technical functions of coastal management, such as the managing the national coral reef and coastal water quality monitoring programmes, data storage, training and support, and input into national coastal zone planning.
The CZMAI is
more than a national programme in Belize – they’re also fostering regional and
international collaboration to improve the knowledge and understanding of
issues affecting the Belizean coastal zone, therefore better preparing
communities to make informed decisions on the use of the resources. Public awareness and education campaigns are
one of their main tools in educating and influencing conservation outcomes, and
the CZMAI have coordinated events such as Manatee Week, Coastal Awareness Week
Dive in to Earth Day, Open Day and Coast Fair, as well as participating in
national and international forums to promote greater public awareness.
CEO Vincent Gillett has been working with the Belize’s Coastal Zone Management Authority for over seven years, and his current portfolio of responsibilities includes developing a National Coastal Zone Management Plan, which should advance the management and conservation of Belizean marine and coastal environments.
A focus of this work has been to establish effective partnerships with key stakeholders which have allowed planned development to proceed in a participatory and iterative process.
More recently Vincent and his team have been working with international partners through the Australia Caribbean Coral Reef Collaboration to look at offsets as a way of protecting biodiversity in a changing climate, using Belize as a case study. The Marine Biodiversity Offsets project will help Caribbean governments, corporations and stakeholders to identify, implement and assess ways to ensure development activities in the marine environment result in no net loss of biodiversity.