Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) is a non-profit organization created in 1999, and is managed by an Executive Board. Its predecessor organization, Youth Environmental Action Group (YEAG) was created since 1989, and at first conducted outdoor interpretation and eventually served as a voluntary monitoring agent reporting to the Forest Department and Department of Archaeology (now the Institute of Archaeology). The mission of FCD is to motivate the public to protect the environment through conservation awareness while at the same time enhance the development of the human resources. For the past 16 years, YEAG/FCD has primarily functioned as an environmental education organization, dedicated to create an awareness of environmental issues and encourage community involvement with the aim of making the general public more conscious of their actions. As a result, FCD has developed ample experience in working with communities and has developed skills for conducting impact-oriented conservation education, nature interpretation, monitoring, and research.
FCD has also had a long relationship with the Forest Department due to its protected areas training component, primarily in comanagement and community support programs. FCD’s strategic plan (2004-2006) provides for the organization to engage in protected areas management with an interest on the protected areas located in the Cayo District. From 1993, FCD has been conducting monitoring and research, and raising awareness about the plight of the Chiquibul Forest. And since 2002, FCD undertook discussions with the Forest Department seeking a co-management initiative for the Chiquibul forest In May 2005 and November 2005, FCD convened a series of Chiquibul Stakeholders Planning Workshops, and organized and conducted a fact-finding expedition into the Chiquibul Forest in March 2005. These workshops and expeditions were able to define the major challenges and management needs for the Chiquibul Forest, and in particular for the Chiquibul National Park. The Forest Department and FCD signed a provisional co-management agreement for the CNP on the 1st June 2007. The agreement sets out the following provisions: • Development of a Management Plan that provides for the protection of the natural and cultural resources of the Chiquibul National Park; • Institution of a Protection Program for the conservation of the ecosystems and species in the Chiquibul National Park, • Development of a Research and Monitoring Program to conserve the park’s critical biodiversity; • Implementation of a Public Awareness Campaign that promotes the importance of the Chiquibul National Park; and • Launching of a Chiquibul National Park financial sustainability plan to enable effective long term management. To learn more about FCD, visit their site at fcdbelize.org
Paragraphs 1 & 2 taken from: Salas O. & J. Meerman (2008). Chiquibul National Park Management Plan 2008-2013 p.47