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BZ $1.1 Million to Protected Areas Managers

PACT REVEALS TWO NEW CATEGORIES OF FUNDING AND AWARDS BZ 1.1 MILLION TO PROTECTED AREAS MANAGERS

Belize City, Belize. (Monday, 27 March. 2017) –Today the Trust held its Annual Investment Award Ceremony, handing over 1.1 million dollars under two new categories of funding – the single and multiple investment categories. Speaking to the progress made since last year’s Award Ceremony, Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration, Dr. Omar Figueroa informed that the new investment categories of funding “signals the shift in the way in which PACT [supports] proposals geared towards institutional and governance strengthening, financial sustainability and resource mobilization; and protected areas management plans”.

The Ceremony also saw the new CEO and PACT Board Chair, Dr. Percival Cho – engage stakeholders echoing Hon. Minister Omar Figueroa’s optimism that PACT will continue to grow to meet the challenges of financing protected areas. Speaking specifically to the new investment categories of funding, Dr. Cho remarked that “the new investment angle complements the equally new opportunity for PACT to fund up to twenty percent of an organization’s budgeted staffing and office costs related to carrying out a project…thereby allowing [CBOs and NGOs] to invest a greater portion of their energies in fundraising initiatives to advance their work on the ground”.

This year PACT awarded a total of five grants under its ‘single’ and ‘multiple’ categories. The ‘Single’ category carries a maximum funding envelope of BZ $100,000. This year, three single grants were awarded to the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD), Southern Environmental Association (SEA) and Programme for Belize. The ‘Multiple’ category awards funding to multiple recipients under one, singular project area with a funding envelope of BZ $400,000; recipients under this category are the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) and Ya’axche Conservation Trust, alongside the Belize Audubon Society (BAS) and the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE).

The shift in this year’s investment cycle reflects a move towards a holistic and collaborative approach to protected areas management. The Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) extends its warmest well wishes to all the investment award recipients and wishes them every success in the execution of their projects!

PACT Project Funds used Towards the Creation of New Nature Centre

PACT Project Funds used Towards the Creation of New Nature Center

Belmopan City, Belize. (Wednesday, 8 Feb. 2017) – Saint Herman’s Blue Hole National Park (SHBHNP) just got an upgrade. Today, the Trust was on hand as the Belize Audubon Society (BAS)unveiled its new nature center at the national park. Delivering the keynote address was Dr. Omar Figueroa – Minister of the State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration. “This national park, while relatively small in size, is an important component of the larger network of protected areas. It is important ecologically, and it is important socially.” Dr. Figueroa also applauded the Belize Audubon Society for mobilizing and engaging the buffer communities of Ringtail, Armenia and St. Margaret over the course of the project.

Saint Herman’s was declared a national park in December 1986. It is co-managed by the Belize Audubon Society and the Government of Belize. It is one of 18 national parks within the National Protected Areas System (NPAS). The area of the reserve is roughly 575 acres and is a popular spot for picnicking, cave exploration, swimming and bird-watching. Saint Herman’s Blue Hole National Park gets its name from a clear deep pool which is a stunning, sapphire blue.

During the 2014 grants cycle, the Board of Directors of the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) approved the following proposal put forward by BAS: to ‘enhance St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park’ through new infrastructure, mapping of the area that forms the National Park as well as the creation of a 5 year management plan. A total of BZ $204,998.75 was approved for the expansion and renovation of the swimming platform and to replace the railing near the swimming areas as well as to create new restroom facilities at both park entrances. Funds were needed to complete and furnish the Nature Center with displays and signs and so in 2016 a large grant for a total of BZ $419,936.74 was approved for the Belize Audubon Society to provide for the long term sustainability across three renowned conservation areas in Belize – one of which is Saint Herman’s. This project will focus on creating financial sustainability through the provision of a gift shop and ticket booth among other objectives.