Belize's National Environmental Action Plan 2015-2020 is a cross-sectoral plan with a mission to ensure that Belize's development is sound through effective environmental management for present and future generations. It is an offshoot of the new 2014-2024 National Environmental Strategy entitled "Belize: Green, Clean, Resilient and Strong" and should be considered jointly.It recognizes that these are essential elements of Government of Belize strategies to eradicate poverty by looking at these as a replenishable source of "natural capital" essential in sustaining livelihoods and ensuring food security.The strategy aims at making agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable through sustainable management and conservation. To this end, the policy looks at three major environmental issues dealing with degradation of Terrestrial and Marine Resources, Sustainable Land Use and Planning and Integrated Water Resources management. In the first area, activities will include the development and adoption of "A New and Robust Forest Policy that will look at incorporating preservation, maintenance, sustainable utilization, restoration, and enhancement of the natural environment and inclusion of other actors to improve governance; reducing the the clearance of fringing mangroves, seagrass beds and littoral forest by at least 30%; reduction of anthropogenic pressures on coral reef ecosystems; and sustainable fisheries management. In the area of Land Use and Planning the strategic actions will include the effective development and implementation of land use plan, mandates and responsibilities including the establishment of a National Land Use Coordinating Commission and National Physical Planning Coordinating Body involving all major stakeholders, integration of the management of the seabed and national petroleum exploration and extraction strategy into the National Land Use Planning. While in the area of water resources, the activities will include the development and implementation of a National Integrated Water Resources Plan (NIWR) and Institutional Development Plan for the NIWR Agency, and protection of water for domestic use through adoption of legislation, institution of national standards and mechanisms for enforcement, and increasing public awareness about conserving the national water resources by efficient use and pollution prevention.To make agriculture more inclusive the Government will also create appropriate regulatory frameworks for the creation of payments for environmental services schemes and the sustainable generation and equitable distribution of benefits derived from those schemes. Activities include the development of a national integrated financing strategy for forest administration, defining the rights and obligations of forest beneficiaries of investments made for the protection of ecosystem services, foster the development of carbon projects, REDD+, clean development mechanism etc., re-direct Environmental Tax funds into maintenance of Ecosystem Services; activities to increase revenue for timber and non-timber forest products from value added activities by 100%.Increasing the resilience of livelihoods to disasters in amongst the goals of this policy. To this end, the government will work to build resilient communities to the effects of natural, technological and environmental hazards and engendering a shift from protection against hazards to risk management. To reduce the vulnerability of 100% of identified communities, the strategic actions will include: dynamic risk analysis, development and implementation of strategic actions with respective targeted communities to minimize threats and improve resiliency, enforcement of land-use planning in hazard prone-areas, education of stakeholders, establishment of national information exchanges, undertaking of periodic reviews of accomplishments in hazard, risk and disaster reduction efforts, and fostering the development and effective implementation of a Climate Change Action Plan.Regarding governance, the Department of Environment is the responsible institution for the policy implementation although the capacities for effective policy development, implementation, and maintenance will be enhanced through effective inter-agency planning and coordination.
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