Bi-National Relations

For over 200 years, Belize and Guatemala have been in a territorial land dispute. The dispute is on the western border of Belize, where the Chiquibul Forest is located. This dispute has caused much tension between Belize and Guatemala, making it difficult for them to work in cooperation. However, bi-national relations are crucial in resolving the encroachment of impoverished Guatemalans in the protected areas of Belize. 2014 marked a big year for both countries as Belize and Guatemala signed bi-lateral agreements. The agreements included 13 bi-national goals from education to energy. However, one of the most critical goals of the agreements was environmental conservation. FCD is currently working on forming a bi-national commission to implement the Environmental Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) signed between Belize and Guatemala on December 17th, 2014. The MOU provides a framework for operations in a systematic, organized and ongoing manner with Guatemala. The idea of the MOU is to “work towards the same common issues, under different interventions, under different partnerships, across two countries, and one landscape.” Both Belize and Guatemala now plan to work together to stop further encroachment and environmental degradation of the Chiquibul. Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) will play a large role in this as they have already been a leader in environmental conservation in Belize as well as Asociacion Balam, which is FCD’s sister organization in Guatemala.

Video shows FCD director, Rafael Manzanero, speaking about the mission and goals of FCD and their importance to the conservation of the Chiquibul.

Required Reading:
Bi-Lateral Agreements Signed
27Territorial Dispute
28Impacts of the Territorial Dispute on the Chiquibul Ecosystem
30Community Outreach Campaign 2014-2015