Oil moratorium at Belize Barrier Reef

  • Director of World Heritage Centre welcomes oil moratorium at Belize Barrier Reef.
  • The Government of Belize adopted a full oil moratorium for all Belize offshore waters, including the entire Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage site.
  • The coastal area of Belize is a natural system consisting of the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, offshore atolls, several hundred sand cays, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries. The system’s seven sites are a significant habitat for threatened species, including marine turtles, manatees and the American marine crocodile.
  • The Belize reef system is the second largest reef system in the world, with approximately 200,000 Belizeans dependent on the reef for their livelihood.
  • The oil ban is a major milestone in efforts to protect the reef and remove the site from the ‘Danger List’.
  • The stand of The World Heritage Committee has always been strong that oil and gas exploration or exploitation activities are incompatible with World Heritage status.
  • ‎The site is also under threat from mangrove cutting and illegal sale of land and is included in the List of World Heritage in Danger since 2009. 
  • The Government of Belize took another effective step to protect the reef when it adopted its first Integrated Coastal Zone management plan, a blueprint for sustainable use of its marine resources, in 2016.


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