Today, PACT held a Grant Award Ceremony, where they awarded over $800,000.00 in new project grants. The grants went to projects under the themes of Protected Areas Management and Conservation, Protected Areas Promotion and Development, and Environmental Education and Awareness. PACT shared Small and Medium-Sized Grants among Belize Fishermen Cooperatives Association Friends for Conservation and Development Programme for Belize Southern Environmental Association Toledo Institute for Development and Environment and Ya’axché Conservation Trust. Keynote Speaker for this morning’s event was Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Developmnet, Liesel Alamilla.
Liesel Alamilla – Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Developmnet:
As to PACT, you have my commitment that I will eventually table amendments that will seek to support co-managers in accessing funding needs that are difficult to raise from our international partners. I know too well, the stark reality that you are challenged to keep your doors opened and more importantly to keep your team securely employed. I know too well that protected areas need to be managed based on long term plans, but more often that not, your funding is shakily secured for six month periods at most. I know too well, that conservation NGOs are perceived to be wealthy organizations when in reality, you are functioning with budgets that are far less than what you need to effectively manage our protected areas. But I know that you do it because you understand that as a country, our survival depends on our natural resources and that knowledge fuels your passion to continue the hard work despite the many obstacles.
The ceremony was held at the Guanacaste National Park in Belmopan.