Sustainable development is a challenge of knowing when and how to balance economic growth with conservation. Belize provides a unique case to examine this issue in a dramatic and important way due to the amazing breadth of natural assets and economic development challenges facing this rather small country of 356,000 inhabitants. Professor Young (2008)identified six key risks to Belize’s sustainable development: High deforestation rates, improper solid waste management, rapid coastal development, increasing poverty, the recent discovery of oil, and weak institutional and legal
frameworks. According to the World Economic Forum’s Centre for Global Competitiveness and Performance, Belize is one of the least competitive economies in the world ranking 123 out of 142 countries.
The following report elaborates select case studies of opportunities and challenges currently impacting Belize in the sectors of energy, tourism, and agriculture. This discussion will highlight current events while emphasizing that this central American country is now at important crossroads in achieving increased economic and social opportunities and sustainable growth or progression toward increased environmental degradation and decreased opportunity for all Belizeans In the end, the direction taken will have lasting and irreversible consequences for Belize as well as Central America and the Caribbean and in some important ways the world.