Today the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute kicked off Coastal Awareness Week. CZMAI partnered with businesses and other stakeholders, like the IDB, to help raise awareness for the sustainable development of Belize's coasts. We spoke to CZMAI's CEO, Chantalle Samuels, and IDB Country Representative, Cassandra Rogers, about this important initiative...
Chantelle Samuels, CEO - CZMAI
"The Coastal Zone Management and Institute is observing the 3rd annual coastal awareness week and this year we have selected the theme "Business and the Environment - A foundation for Sustainable Growth." It is a week that will allow us to engage our stakeholders, impart knowledge, but also build awareness and have them assist us in informing how our coastal resources should be sustainably manage and develop over time. So, today we are at the official opening ceremony and we've had remarks from our parent ministry - the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development, as well as the Ministry of Economic Development and we had a special invited guest Dr. Cassandra Rogers of the Inter-American Development Bank - Belize office and Belize is celebrating its 25th year of membership in the IDB and so they have partnered with Coastal Zone as an initial activity towards that celebration."
Cassadra Rogers, Country Rep., IDB Belize
"Well the bank has had a very long relationship in terms of supporting the government's efforts in sustainable tourism. We have been doing this since 1998 through several different programs, the provision of different grants, technical studies, research, knowledge exchange visits and the like."
"Much of that focus has been on protecting Belize's coastal and marine resources, because in deed they are natural assets, but economic assets notwithstanding and so our work has focused on protecting that environment, valuing the economic quality of that asset as well as in the first program that we completed in 2014, the "Sustainable Tourism Program." We generated with the support of course with the Ministry of Tourism, a national tourism master plan and that plan as you know is the main policy and strategy instrument for sustainable tourism development including coastal development in Belize."
"In addition to that, the bank approved a second phase of this operation "The Sustainable Tourism Program 2" and this program is really design to improve tourism income, improve the employment from tourism in an improve tourism expenditure in a very sustainable manner, taking consideration of the value and the benefits of the coastal environment."
This week's events will include a primary school trivia competition, a seminar for businesses on best practices and a competition for tertiary level students at the end of which one contestant will get an opportunity to intern at the IDB.