This morning, the Belize Fund for a Sustainable Future awarded grants amounting to $559,563.00 BZD to five (5) non-government agencies for the management of eight (8) protected areas across Belize. At a signing ceremony held at the office of the Belize Fund for a Sustainable Future in Belmopan, the Chair of the BFSF Board of Directors – CEO Kennedy Carrillo of the Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation – executed these first ever awards under the BFSF. The recipients of the awards are:
The funds will be used towards the effective management of these marine protected areas, which comprise critical habitats for marine species and include iconic natural heritage sites within the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Commenting on the significance of these first grant awards, CEO Kennedy Carrillo noted that, “The BFSF has achieved its targets for 2022, the first year of its existence. True to our commitments, we have put in place a competent team and operationalized the fund, as evidenced by this first disbursement of just over half a million Belize dollars to non-government agencies who manage our marine protected areas.”
Dr. Leandra Cho-Ricketts advised that this is just the start of the Grant Awards Program, which will be granting approximately $3.6 million Belize dollars per year to non-government, community-based, and private sector entities through annual funding cycles. She elaborated that, “On December 16th, we issued a Call for Proposals. Eligible agencies are invited to submit proposals by January 31st of 2023. After careful evaluation, proposals which fit the criteria and align with our strategic objectives will be awarded grants in April of 2023. In December, we also launched our website, www.bfsf.bz, where you can find all the information needed to develop winning proposals as well as download and submit application forms.”
The BFSF four strategic priorities of the Grant Awards Program are:
- Protection for Biodiversity
- Sustainable Fisheries
- Climate Resilience
- Blue Business Innovation
The BFSF was legally established in March 2022 as an independent, non-profit fund. It is the mechanism that will manage the funds generated by Belize’s Blue Bond debt conversion agreement, which was finalized in November 2021 through the efforts of the Government of Belize and The Nature Conservancy. This ground-breaking agreement has allowed Belize to convert its national debt into a conservation fund that will generate an estimated BZ$360 million dollars for marine conservation and the sustainable development of Belize’s marine resources over the next 20 years.
In addition to the Grant Awards Program, the BFSF will also provide funding to government agencies through the Government Strategic Allocation program to support government agencies in fulfilling Belize’s conservation commitments under the Blue Loan Agreement and the Conservation Funding Agreement, which effected the blue bond debt conversion transaction.
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