German Development Cooperation in Belize
The Selva Maya Project and Marfund are the two most important regional projects of German development activities in Belize. Along with representatives from the German technical cooperation (GIZ), Dr. Thomas Cieslik, Head of Cooperation of the German Embassy, presented these projects to the Minister of Sustainable Development, Omar Figueroa.
The Selva Maya is the second largest rainforest in Latin America (after the Amazonas). It covers Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. The project focusses on the maintenance of its natural richness and supported value-added-chain-activities like the honey production in Cayo for example. With the support of the Belizean Forest Department and the Global Environment Facility – Small Grants Program has been created. This is a project that enhances the productive capacity of the cooperative through the development and implementation of an Institutional Capacity Building Program that would address the issues of improved production technology, environmental degradation and sustainability. The technical cooperation’s program is already in its second phase with a total investment of eight million Euros. Furthermore, Germany will invest 10 Mio. Euros through its financial cooperation to the Selva Maya region, and with funds from the Ministry of Environment, Germany supports with 5 Mio. Euros the establishment of a monitoring system of biodiversity and climate change in the region.
Founded in 2004, Marfund is a participatory, privately managed fund in the region of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. The goals of Marfund are (1) to provide long-term financial sustainability for natural resources management and conservation initiative in the region, (2) to strengthen the alliance among the four participating funds, and (3) to consolidate and allocate donor contributions to common and strategic objectives in the ecoregion. Through its development bank (KfW), Germany contributed with 10 Mio. Euros to Marfund´s endowment and with 10 Mio.Euros as a donation to its program on protection of maritime resources in two phases. Phase One (2012-16) invested in Belize in the Port Honduras Marine Reserve, administrated by the National Fisheries Department and the NGO TIDE (Toledo Institute for Development and Environment), supporting environmental education, training of fishers becoming rangers, developing smart technologies for the surveillance of the closed season and promoting microenterprises. The Marine Reserve covers an area of 414 sq. kilometers incorporating coastline, mangrove cays and submerged banks. Especially the coral reefs guarantee the delicate balance of this eco-system and create the environment also for commercial benefit such as the queen conch, sea cucumber and the spiny lobster. The second phase, starting this year, covers the Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and the South Water Cay Marine Reserve.