Pact concludes Institutional Assessment Print E-mail
( 0 Votes )
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 27 May 2010 00:00

May 26th, 2010

In October 2009, with the endorsement of the Ministry of Finance and in accordance with the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) Act, the PACT Board of Directors commissioned a four member consulting team to undertake a comprehensive institutional review of the PACT for the period April 1997 to March 2009. This assessment commenced in December 2009 and concluded at the end of April 2010.

In summary, the analysis suggests a stagnant institution in which the potential benefits of its strengths are being neutralized or cancelled out by its internal weaknesses. However, the analysis also concludes that the external environment of PACT is favorable for its development, and even though there are clearly identified threats, the opportunities available to PACT are important and powerful enough to support its development.

The assessment emphasizes that the PACT remains distinctive in the region because it is the only public Trust where the Government represents the minority on the Board and further highlights that PACT is widely recognized as an innovative sustainable financing mechanism for conservation that was established by public funding sources. The assessment further notes that the Trust’s investments have grown at an annual rate of 10.67% as compared to 10.57% of other trust funds worldwide. With regards to grant impact, since the establishment of the Grants Programme in 1997, the Trust has invested over BZ$18 million in grants, supporting over 200 projects to various government agencies and non-government organizations, including community based groups for initiatives focusing on conservation and management of our natural heritage.

Despite these successes however, the assessment also notes inadequacies largely in the area of fund growth. The report highlights that during the last twelve years, limited efforts were focused on diversifying the PACT’s revenue base, thereby reducing the amount of available funding for financing protected areas. It is therefore imperative that amendments to the PACT Act are opportune in order to support the strategic development of the institution.

The assessment’s key recommendations were used to inform the PACT’s Strategic Plan for the period 2010-2015. Other recommendations discussed in the assessment are applicable to the PACT operations and are immediately being implemented. This Strategic Plan comes at a time when PACT must be cognizant and responsive to the dynamic circumstances surrounding the protection, conservation and financing of Belize’s natural resources. This ever-changing environment presents new challenges that require creativity, reform and continued leadership in order for PACT to remain a relevant and necessary player in the financing of protected areas in Belize. The first two years of the implementation period will see a key focus at streamlining the organization for enhanced operational and financial efficiency.

Overall, the 2010-2015 Strategic Plan is designed to position and project PACT as a model National Trust and leader in protected areas financing with clear and tangible benefits to the natural heritage, economy and people of Belize.

The PACT’s Board, Management and Staff would like to thank its stakeholders and the general public for the ongoing support and guidance in advancing the mission of PACT and look forward to working collectively to restructure and strengthen Belize’s Protected Areas Conservation Trust for the benefit of all Belizeans.