We’ve been working with the government of Belize to develop a long-term coastal development plan that takes full account of the huge value of its natural assets.
The beauty and diversity of Belize’s coastal ecosystems draw tourists from around the globe. More than 40% of the country’s population lives and works along the coast and depends on these ecosystems for their livelihoods. The services they provide – like support for commercial fisheries, tourism, and protection from erosion and storm surges – are worth up to US$559 million per year. That’s equivalent to more than two-fifths of Belize’s GDP.
In 2010, we began working with Belize’s Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute and the Natural Capital Project (NatCap) to develop an integrated management plan. Instead of just looking at narrow economic considerations, the plan incorporates the value of Belize’s coastal ecosystems and the services they provide.
By balancing conservation with current and future development needs, the plan could:
- Boost revenue from lobster fishing by US$2.5 million
- Increase the functional area of coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass by up to 25%
- Double the value of these ecosystems for protecting the coast by 2025
In short, it will help the people of Belize plot a wiser course for managing the incredibly valuable resources their ocean and coast provide.