Marine Protected Areas: A Tool For Integrated Coastal Management In Belize
Management of the Belize Barrier Reef was originally envisioned through the creation of marine protected areas. However, the influence of land-based activities was not accounted for in Marine Protected Area (MPA) programs. Therefore focus was shifted to an integrated approach via Integrated Coastal Management (ICM). The Belize ICM process has evolved into a system of coordination through the fostering of multi-sectoral linkages for integrated management of coastal resources. Marine protected areas were included in the ICM program as tools for achieving biodiversity protection and management of sensitive habitats. The ICM process has resulted in greater coordination and consultation in decision making for coastal resource issues, the MPA program however has not evolved with the trend of greater community involvement in MPA management. The greatest challenges to MPA and ICM programs in the next 10 years are: improved linkages between the two, fostering of community participation in management, broadening of the scope of ICM to watersheds and ocean governance, and sustainable financing for both programs.
Area of Interest: Belize