Belize’s Delicate Balancing Act

You find all sorts of things when you Google “Belize”, and today’s discovery was a blog by a Kevin Edmunds, posted on the North American Congress on Latin America website.

It was interesting as it echoed considerations we aired in recent posts regarding the need to balance economic development with environmental sustainability.

After all, Belize is a developing nation which means that leaders must consider raising the standard of living for all Belizeans by ensuring employment with an adequate supply of jobs, and generating the income to support the all-important education and training opportunities for people, and especially young people.

And doing this while ensuring that development isn’t destructive to the environment. In Belize, which depends on ecotourism for income, it’s very much a case of protecting the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Private industry certainly has a part to play – and a responsibility – in this area. For example, The Lodge at Chaa Creek provides direct employment for some 135 staff members, as well as a healthy swag of spin-off employment for suppliers, service providers and the like.

Chaa Creek also has a highly regarded staff development policy and sponsors training and career development opportunities for many staff members, as well as initiatives such as the innovative Eco Kids educational summer camp, an annual free weeklong training camp for young people that is designed to inspire an appreciation for Belize’s natural environmental as well as instilling a sense of responsibility for protecting it. Hopefully, some of tomorrow’s environmental activists will get their start at Eco Kids.

This isn’t just to blow Chaa Creek’s horn, but to provide real life examples of how a small developing country like Belize can harness both the private and public sector to maintain this very delicate balancing act between the need to generate income and the long term goal of protecting the country’s most important assets.

And so on to Mr Edmund’s blog on the NCLA site. He raises some compelling points concerning this balancing act while praising Belize’s “very effective and comprehensive policy of conservation.”

Particularly interesting to me was his acknowledgement of the role “people power” plays in maintaining Belize’s environmental integrity. He also mentions considerations such as “Like most Caribbean countries, Belize is burdened with extremely high-energy costs” and how effectively the people of Placencia challenged the construction of a cruise ship port in an environmentally sensitive area near the Belize Great Barrier Reef.

Anyway, it’s an interesting read and puts many issues being raised recently in perspective.

You can find it at:

It’s good to see that that even far away in the north (Mr Edmunds is working on his PhD at the University of Toronto) people recognise not only Belize’s environmental credentials, but the role Belizeans play in moving their country forward while protecting the environment.

If you have any comments about this article or wish to contribute information or ideas, we welcome your input.  Feel free to email Mark at [email protected]. While we can’t answer every letter, rest assured that they are all read and appreciated.                                          


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