Belmopan, Belize, 18 August 2017 (WWF): The Belize government’s decision today to introduce critical legislation to establish a permanent moratorium on offshore oil activity in and around the Belize Barrier Reef has been welcomed by WWF, Oceana and other members of the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage as a landmark step forward for the World Heritage site and marine conservation globally.
The move to stop damaging oil exploration in Belize’s territorial sea and Exclusive Economic Zone, expected to be adopted in the country’s next parliamentary session in November 2017, marks an important first step toward protecting coastal and marine ecosystems worldwide and safeguarding the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, a significant biodiversity hotspot.
“At a time when nature is under increasing pressure and being lost at an unprecedented and accelerating rate, we are beginning to realise its irreplaceable contribution to our own economy and welfare”, said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International.
“The Belize government’s commitment to protect the Belize Barrier Reef sets an example for the kind of leadership we urgently need to protect our planet’s oceans and some of its most productive, outstanding – and yet, extremely vulnerable – places,” he continues.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996, is home to almost 1,400 species and serves as a critical source of livelihood for over half of Belize’s population. In October 2016, a decision to allow seismic testing for oil barely one kilometre away from the site caused national and global outcry over concerns on the potential impact on the site and its unique ecosystems.
“Last year’s mobilization showed how we stand united in our determination to protect the reef – a source of life, tradition and pride for all of us in Belize. We are heartened by today’s decision which demonstrates the government’s commitment to protect our national treasure,” said Nadia Bood, Mesoamerican Reef Scientist at WWF.
“We now need to continue our efforts, as decision-makers, civil society and individuals, to ensure the reef and its remarkable biodiversity is safeguarded for marine life and communities for years to come.”
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Tidligere i år kunne Tulum-erklæringen fejre 20-års jubilæum. Det er en aftale mellem Belize, Guatemala, Honduras og Mexico om at bevare det store Mesoamerikanske Koralrev.
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