Belize case study: Marine protected areas co-managed by Friends of Nature. A summary of lessons learnt.
This case study focuses on Friends of Nature (FON), a non-governmental organization based in Placencia, Belize which has co-management responsibility (with Forest Department and the Fisheries Department) for day-to-day management of Laughing Bird Caye National Park (LBCNP) and Gladden Spit Marine Reserve (GSMR). The areas of specific interest in this case study are the southern coastal zone and the Southern Reef Complex that includes the two MPAs that are co-managed by FON and the government. Both MPAs lie within the Meso-American Barrier Reef Reserve System. In addition to the two MPAs, FON has become active in the management of the Placencia Lagoon. Fishing and tourism dominate the caye-based economy of the area. Threats to the marine and coastal resources include unsustainable fishing practices, tourism industry, improper land use, effluent discharges, policy and enforcement, and transboundary issues. The type of co-management used by FON is that of co-management of public protected areas between government and FON with a local advisory committee. This is regarded as a delegated form of co-management where management authority is delegated to local institutions (in this case FON). In return, the government is informed, and reviews and endorses, where it sees fit, decisions to be taken by FON. The establishment of co-management can be viewed as having three phases: pre-implementation, implementation, and post-implementation. The co-management arrangement with FON is currently in the implementation phase. FON has a strategic plan, a Board of Directors, an Executive Director and staff. It has an office and equipment. A management plan exists for both MPAs. Financing has been secured for the immediate future. The MPAs are in operation and the resources are being conserved. However, there are both positive and negative aspects of the co-management arrangement with FON.
Parsaram, K. and McConney, P. 2004. Belize case study: Marine protected areas co-managed by Friends of Nature. A summary of lessons learnt. Barbados: Caribbean Conservation Association. 9 pp.