Belize, like other small Mesoamerican and Caribbean countries, stands at a crossroads — faced with the difficulty of balancing its tremendous human, natural, and cultural assets while working to increase economic growth and sustainability. With the reality of climate change looming over its largely tourist-driven economy, Belize needs creative and innovative sustainable economic development ideas, projects and programs in a range of public and private sectors to meet the challenges ahead.
This relatively small Central American nation has an abundance of largely pristine natural assets including rainforests, coral reefs, mangrove lagoons, and caves. With thousands years of natural and cultural evolution grounded in Mayan heritage, Belize exhibits extreme diversity in its geography, biology, and cultural makeup. The nation’s rich diversity of environments makes it unmatched as an accessible location (2 hours from Houston) in which to study climatology, marine biology, botany and herbology, and zoology (from microbes, to insects, to large animal studies).
The Belizean government maintains significant efforts to protect natural assets with 44 % of the nation’s land and water resources under a Protected Areas System of environmental management and yet as many smaller developing countries, is increasingly challenged with limited human and financial resources to adequately meet increasing environmental challenges.
A land of diverse and fragile environments, cultures, and biological specimens, Belize presents unique opportunities for establishing Green Living Learning Laboratories for international study, research, and global learning. Such laboratory facilities can be used to provide opportunities for scientific study and education, with potential for assessing current and predicted environmental challenges and opportunities, as well as opportunities for sustainable economic development models for Central America and the Caribbean.
FACTS ABOUT BELIZE
Largest City: Belize City
Official Language: English
Recognized regional languages: Kriol, Spanish, Garifuna, Maya, Plautdietsch
Ethnic Groups: Mestizo, Kriol, Spanish, Maya, Gagingau, Mennonite, East Indian
Government: Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy