The long awaited Chiquibul Symposium II finally took place on March 21st under the title, “Restoring Our National Patrimony”. The Prime Minister of Belize, Honorable John Briceno gave the keynote address while the Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Risk Management, Honorable Orlando Habet gave the opening remarks. On his address, the Prime Minister emphasized the importance of the Chiquibul and pledged to support FCD on its ongoing work of protecting this important ecosystem. Hon Orlando Habet, explained more vividly the uniqueness of the Chiquibul, its challenges and the steps taken by his Ministry in improving collaboration with FCD. Testimonials from the Cayo Watershed Conservation Alliance, Belize Tourism Industry Association and Belize Electric Company Limited highlighted the many environmental services and goods derived from the Chiquibul ecosystem. A panel consisting of FCD and the Belize Defence Force described the threats to the Chiquibul, while the Executive Director of FCD outlined ten recommendations, including the re-classification of the Western Maya Mountains protected areas as the Chiquibul-Mountain Pine Ridge Landscape Conservation Trust.
Although the entire Symposium was conducted virtually on Zoom, the video recordings gave the audience a true reality of the significance of the region. It was aired widely through the assistance of the media houses namely KREM TV, Channel 5, Channel 7 and Love FM. Channel 5 CEO Ms. Marleni Cuellar moderated the Symposium, while CEO Nicole Solano coordinated the overall virtual event. The Symposium was made possible through the financial support obtained from the US Department of the Interior-International Technical Assistance Program.