Over 27% of all territory in Belize is under environmental protection, whether as national parks, monuments and reserves, or private sanctuaries and special grounds for animals. One of the common misconceptions about protected areas is that they are completely off-limits to those who make a living when in fact, through such activities as logging and research they do contribute to the national economy. The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development and the National Protected Areas Secretariat aim to change the public view through a branding campaign emphasizing the natural beauty, cultural importance and necessity to life of protected areas. We spoke with Communications Officer for the Secretariat Guadalupe Rosado.
“What this branding campaign does is to elevate the importance and the value of the whole particular areas to Belize as a whole because it’s of significant importance to the country and it’s not only to the communities particular areas. So, awareness programs and communications activities for particular areas have mostly been for science and conservation focus, and there is really much more to protected and just conservation and preservation. So, what this branding campaign does is to ensure that the message when it comes to protected areas is able to appeal to the values and emotions of every single Belizean are protected for all Belizeans. So, this campaign has developed a brand. It is based on social marketing; when you sell your products, you sell it to everyone; not only to business people. So, in terms of awareness, our message has to change; our message has to ensure that we are able to show people that holistic approach”.
The tagline is “Nature, Culture, Life,” and in keeping with the effort the co-managers of the protected areas will be doing much of the work in promoting the National Protected Areas System. The campaign begins almost immediately and features many partners. Senator Lisel Alamilla who heads the Ministry noted that it culminates years of activities and efforts in this area of her expertise.
“Public awareness is key to getting the support for the development of the National Protected Areas. Admittedly, there is a considerable work that has been done in this area. However, it tends to be a hock, and generally speaks to the needs of particular initiatives and organizations. Thus, it aims to implement a comprehensive coherent branding campaign that informs the public of the importance of the protected areas in general and most importantly, sustaining it. The branding campaign represents a significant step, not only towards implementation of the system’s plan, but also towards the advancing of our commitments under the Convention of Biological Diversity, the CBD’s form of work and protected areas. It is designed to achieve the CBD’s program of work goal 3.5, which is to strengthen communication, education and public awareness of the benefits of protected areas”.