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PACT Partners with Belize’s National University to Provide Training for
Protected Areas Management in Belize

The Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) on October 30, 2012, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and a Medium-Sized Grant agreement with the Environmental Research Institute (ERI), a statutory body  under Belize’s National University—the University of Belize (UB). UB (founded in 2000), established ERI in January 2010 with the aim of addressing local capacity gaps in research and monitoring for natural resources management, conservation and sustainable development. In recognition of the wealth of Belize’s natural resources, the ERI is specifically focused on building national scientific capacities as a partner in the implementation of the National Protected Areas Policy and System Plan (NPAPSP) and undertaking scientific inquiry that is directly relevant and applicable to the sustainable management of Belize’s natural resources.

PACT has partnered with ERI via a Medium-Sized Grant of $200,000 to assist in carrying out the project “National Training Programme for Protected Areas Management in Belize.” The National Training Programme was developed by ERI as part of a larger project entitled “Strengthening National Capacities for the Operationalization, Consolidation and Sustainability of Belize’s Protected Areas System” which is being implemented by the National Protected Areas Secretariat (NPAS) of the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries, and Sustainable Development.

The main goal of the National Training Programme is to develop national capacity for protected areas management to enhance and sustain management of the National Protected Areas System. The Programme will also serve to institutionalize training and capacity building for protected areas managers in a holistic approach (first holistic training programme available to protected areas managers in Belize) instead of the piece-meal approach commonly utilized in Belize.

The MOU between PACT and ERI will allow for greater collaboration in the successful implementation of the National Training Programme. Through this MOU, PACT has made the commitment to financially support the implementation of the first cycle of the Training Programme and provide technical assistance to facilitate easier management and communication of the grant.  On the part of ERI, UB has committed to providing quality training courses and training facilitators to build the capacity of local protected area managers and other conservation stakeholders. Moreover, under this MOU, UB will undergo preparatory work in institutionalizing the Training Programme within its existing academic structure.

Since the Programme will be institutionalized within UB, accreditation benefits will be granted towards a higher education degree for participants in the near future.  With PACT’s support, protected areas managers will be able to participate in the first run of this Programme.  

With this partnership, Belize achieves a significant step towards realizing the NPAPSP.  Moreover, it will promote greater systematic collaboration between conservation stakeholders, government agencies and academia in Belize.

UB partnered with PACT previously in the development and operationalization of the Bachelor’s Degree Programme in Natural Resource Management. The programme has proved to be dynamic and has one of the highest enrolments within the University. It has become common practice for past and current students from this programme to become actively involved in the ERI as staff, volunteers and research associates. Graduates of this have been successful in their careers and are found working in the various government departments (e.g.: Fisheries and Forest Departments) and also in conservation non-governmental organizations.

For more information on this and other grants please visit our website at or email

PACT was formally established in January 1996 with the passing of the Protected Areas Conservation Trust Act, No. 15 of 1995, creating the institution as a Statutory Board. The functions of PACT are to encourage and promote, for the benefit and enjoyment of the present and future generations of the people of Belize, the provision, protection, conservation and enhancement of the natural and cultural resources of Belize. The PACT is managed by a Board of Directors that is comprised of Government agencies, non-government organizations and individual experts.

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