As a Tropical Forest Conservation Agreement (TFCA) beneficiary, the Programme for Belize (PFB), works in the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area (RBCMA), Belize’s second largest nature preserve and, at 260,000 acres, contains four percent of Belize’s total surface area.  Through the TFCA, PFB has been able to ensure the protection of the RBCMA tropical moist forest, which is habitat to 240 known wood species, 70 known species of mammals and 392 known species of birds.

PFB pursues activities authorized through the Forest Conservation Agreement:  (i) establishment, restoration, protection and maintenance of parks, protected areas, and reserves, and (ii) restoration, protection, or sustainable use of diverse animal and plant species, respectively under its Land Management Account.

International Partners

A total of $5.5 million in appropriated funds were combined with $1.3 million in private funds raised by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to reduce Belize’s official debt to the U.S. by half. Under the TFCA agreement, the Government of Belize (GOB) issued new obligations that will generate approximately $9 million in local currency payments to help a consortium of four local NGOs administer conservation activities in protected areas.

These four local NGO beneficiaries include: the Programme for Belize (PfB), Belize Audubon Society (BAS), TIDE, and Protected Areas Conservation Trust Foundation (PACT Foundation). Together, the NGOs provide good national coverage of forest lands. This includes Belize’s Maya Mountain Marine Corridor, which is globally outstanding in terms of its biological diversity and includes 16 miles of pristine Caribbean coastline. This area is home to more than 220 tree species and 350 species of birds, as well as the jaguar, margay, Baird’s tapir, and scarlet macaw.

The Belize agreement was the first debt-for-nature swap under the TFCA program. As a “subsidized debt swap”, it utilized both U.S. appropriated and private funds. An Oversight Committee (OC) ensures that the terms of the agreement are observed by all parties. Membership of the OC includes a representative from each of the three benefiting NGOs, one from the PACT Trust, one representative from the U.S. Government and the GOB, and one representative from TNC.

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