Belize Audubon Society's Advocacy Program
Since the Belize Audubon Society began in 1969, environmental advocacy has been one of its key programmatic areas. The first issue addressed through its Environmental Advocacy Program was the protection of the Jabiru stork. Today, the Environmental Advocacy Program is consistently reasserting the mission of “creating a balance between people and environment” as Belize, similar to other natural resources-rich countries, is challenged with balancing economic growth and social benefits with conservation of its natural resources.
Our position is that conservation of Belize’s natural resources must be balanced with development which is sustainable, equitable and seeks to further the national development of Belize. There are four principles which guide the Belize Audubon Society’s advocacy initiatives:
- The environment along with the economic and social dimensions must be integrated into any national development policy and strategies.
- National policies must seek to protect people’s livelihoods, environment and health.
- National policies must protect the natural environment.
- Environmental decision-making must involve true, active participation from an environmentally aware public.
Our Environmental Advocacy Program aims to effect policy change through policy-influencing, research, education, communication and mobilization. Our primary strategic focus is on protected areas and sustainable natural resources management.
Our Areas of Focus
Recognizing that they are broader environmental issues outside the protected areas scope, we also focus on other issues of special concern which directly relates to sustainable natural resources management. These issues include:
- Uncontrolled development
- Land use and allocation
- Petroleum exploitation and exploration
- Endangered species protection
- Water resources
Advocating for Sustainable Natural Resources Management Through Environmental Monitoring and Advisory Bodies
We work closely with key Government agencies including the Department of the Environment (DoE), Geology and Petroleum and Forest Departments to ensure that development is regulated and that the Government agencies with responsibilities for regulating development is carrying out their mandate. BAS also acts as a watchdog to ensure that the authorities are notified about environmental problems.
Our work includes representation on several advisory bodies, key amongst them is the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC). The NEAC is an advisory body for the Department of the Environment and is responsible for reviewing all development projects which require Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA's). Development projects which require an EIA is due to their potential to cause significant environmental impacts. We are also on the executive council of Association for Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO), which advocates for maintaining the integrity of protected areas.
- Advocacy Updates
- Advocacy Initiatives and Campaigns
- Members Discussion Forum
- "An Environmental Agenda for Belize 2008-2013 " an analysis of key environmental issues in Belize and recommendations to address these concerns.
- For more information on the Advocacy Program at Belize Audubon Society please contact Amanda Burgos-Acosta .
What environmental issues are affecting Belize today?