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PACT Awards 6.7 Million Dollars in Investments to Protected Areas


PACT Awards 6.7 Million Dollars in Investments to Protected Areas


21st December 2018 — (Belize City, Belize) The Protected Areas Conservation Trust, PACT, announced the award of a total of 6.7 Million dollars in targeted conservation investments for Belize’s National Protected Areas System (NPAS). This total investment will be made through 6 local conservation organizations that collectively co-manage 12 protected areas. PACT also announced an additional 3.2 Million dollars in the pipeline which is expected to be committed by March 2019. Collectively, these $9.9 Million dollars will be invested in targeted actions and ecosystems over the next 3 years (2019-2021) carrying with it, the potential to leverage a further $10 Million dollars from other sources.

The six (6) non-governmental organizations that PACT is partnering with for making this investment are:

          Ya’axché Conservation Trust, on behalf of the Bladen Nature Reserve, for a total investment of $1,000,000.00 in the programme entitled “Protection of natural heritage of Bladen Nature Reserve”;

          Friends for Conservation and Development, on behalf of the Chiquibul National Park, for
a total investment of $1,295,726.36 in the programme entitled “Instituting a Landscape Program for the Chiquibul Forest”;

          Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association, on behalf of the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve,
for a total investment of $1,045,500.00 in the programme entitled “Enhancing Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association’s Management of the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve, Assisting in Securing Belize’s Marine Biodiversity”;

          Toledo Institute for Development and Environment, on behalf of the Port Honduras Marine
Reserve and Payne’s Creek National Park, for a total investment of $1,752,000.00 in the programme entitled “Maintaining the effective and sustainable management of the resources within PHMR and PCNP”;

          Belize Audubon Society, on behalf of the Half Moon Caye Natural Monument, Blue Hole
Natural Monument, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Victoria Peak Natural Monument, and St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park, for a total investment of $990,000.00 in the programme entitled “Improving the management of BAS co-managed protected areas”;

          Southern Environmental Association, on behalf of the Laughing Bird Caye National Park
and Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve, for a total investment of $685,820.30 in the programme entitled “Improved protection and conservation of the ecosystems and biodiversity of LBCNP and GSSCMR”

PACT is thankful for the continued partnerships that enable it to improve its work in investing in Belize’s protected areas and looks forward to the success of these investments over the next 3 years.   


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. PACT contributes to the effective management of Belize’s National Protected Areas System (NPAS) through strategic partnerships and high impact investments. The PACT is managed by a Board of Directors that is comprised of Government agencies, non-government organizations and individual experts.

Contact: 822-3637 | | |

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!

Entering La Selva Maya: The Chiquibul Challenge Marathon

La Selva Maya

‘La Selva Maya’ (the Maya forest) is today recognized as one of the largest, intact rainforests within Central America. An impartial witness to the passing ages and actions of men, it has outlived both the ancient Maya groups of the classic period and the early twentieth-century logging camps that had once traversed its length. Today, the Chiquibul is formally recognized as a protected area and forms a key part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. In addition to serving as a physical record of the various periods of Belize’s history, it is a natural habitat that supports the biological diversity of the region’s plants and animals. Unfortunately, the biological diversity the Chiquibul supports has also made it a target for poachers, illegal logging, mineral extraction and the extraction of non-timber forest products.

The Challenge

Over the weekend, PACT organized a team of 5 staff members and sponsored two members of Channel 5’s media house to enter the first annual Chiquibul 20/40k Marathon to raise awareness for the Chiquibul and support their friends in conservation. The marathon trail ran through forest cover – on medium to course terrain – starting off from Guacamayo bridge through to Las Cuevas Research Station, some 12.5 miles away. Participants were given the option of entering as a 20 K marathon challenger, or 40 K challenger. A special competition was created for rangers of protected areas to also compete. Organized by the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic (BWRC), the concept of the Challenge was simple: engage the public by offering an opportunity to connect with nature and celebrate fitness while fundraising and directing attention to the causes of both the Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) – who co-manage the Chiquibul Forest and National Park, and the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic, who between them manage the Scarlet Macaw Protection Program.

This being the first annual Chiquibul Challenge Marathon, the response was triple what organizers, Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand and Justin Ford of the BWRC had expected. Speaking at the award ceremony yesterday, Dr. Isabel was optimistic and grateful for the overwhelming support from the local NGO and business community, as well as private citizens. Rafael Manzanero, the Director of FCD, was equally bolstered by the response of the public for the first initiative. PACT, for its part, was happy to participate as both a sponsor and support to raise awareness for both of these organizations that together, champion the cause of protection and conservation or Belize’s natural heritage.

When It Rains it Floods: The Need for Wetlands

When It Rains it Floods: The Need for Wetlands

It’s World Wetlands Day, and forty-six years to the day that the Ramsar Convention for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands was signed. The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty. Every year, on 2 February, World Wetlands Day is celebrated to raise awareness of the value of wetlands to us and our natural environment. In recent years, the quality of wetland areas have been steadily declining. The benefits of maintaining healthy wetland areas are innumerable, and range from providing a source of food, freshwater supply, building materials and climate change mitigation among others.

To date there are 2,231 Ramsar Sites across the globe. The criteria for establishing wetlands of international importance focuses on sites that are either rare or unique. Within the National Protected Areas System (NPAS) of Belize, there are two protected areas that fit this criteria. In 1998, the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary was officially designated a Ramsar Site, with Sarstoon Temash National Park achieving this status in 2005.

Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary (1984)

The Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1984 and is replete with evidence of Belize’s colourful biodiversity. This site is the home of a variety of local and migratory birds for which bird watching is a popular activity for locals and tourists alike. Birds are nature’s little nomads; they travel across the breadth of Belize, similarly soaring through the Petén region of Guatemala and Southern Mexico. All converge at the sanctuary which serves as an important breeding hub. In total, 276 bird species have been spotted at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, of which is Jabiru is perhaps the most notable.

Wetlands help to minimize the effects of storm damage and flooding. When the Belize River is flooded, this reserve acts as an overflow basin.

FACT: Crooked Tree was first settled in 1750 by the British and became an important site for the extraction of logwood. From logwood, a total of seven different dyes were produced for export to Europe. Crooked Tree is likely the earliest inland European settlement in Belize.

Sarstoon Temash National Park (1994)

Sarstoon Temash was formally designated in May, 1994 as a National Park. In total, the park stretches across over 41,000 acres. This makes it one of the largest national parks in the country of Belize. Sarstoon Temash is a diverse wetland complex. In it, lies a highly developed riverine mangrove system. Sarstoon Temash is in part managed by the indigenous communities of Southern Belize making it an example of protecting both environmental and cultural diversity.

As for its biodiversity, a total of 386 plant species have been identified within the National Park – many of which are not to be found elsewhere. Similarly, 42 fish species have been identified, 25 or which are marine as well as 226 bird species including the Montezuma Oropendula, the Great Kiskadee, and the Black-headed Trogon.

FACT: In 1989, Sarstoon Temash was found to have the highest populations of Black Howler Monkeys in Belize. One year later, visiting researcher Dora Meyer reported hearing the distinctive call of its relative, the Mantled Howler Monkey. Efforts to locate the Mantled Howler within the reserve however, did not materialize.