Thursday, May 30, 2024

Signing of the Chiquibul and Vaca Forests Joint Enforcement Protocol

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December 13th, the Ministry of National Security (MNS), Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration (MAFFESDI), and Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) signed the Chiquibul and Vaca Forests Joint Enforcement Protocol.

Signing the protocol were the Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar; Chief Forest Officer, Mr. Wilber Sabido (MAFFESDI); and Executive Director of FCD, Mr. Raphael Manzanero.

The protocol sets out a formalized Chiquibul and Vaca Forests Joint Enforcement Program to address illegal activities occurring within the forest which put the integrity of the forest ecosystem at risk and threaten the national security and territorial integrity of Belize. The Chiquibul and Vaca Forests are part of the Maya Forest, a tri-national forest shared between Belize, Guatemala and Mexico. The Maya Forest is the largest remaining contiguous block of broadleaf forest north of the Amazon.

The purpose of the protocol is fivefold: 1. To enable the formalization of effective coordination and enforcement efforts amongst the agencies; 2. To facilitate proper strategic communications between member agencies; 3. To maximize the use of limited resources among respective agencies; 4. To formalize the process for addressing challenges that may arise with regards to the conduct of joint operations; and, 5. to provide rules and guidelines for the member agencies.

The signing of the protocol took place at the NEMO Conference Room in Belmopan.

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