Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute and its implications for conservation

  • Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute and its implications for conservation

by Arlenie Perez, Chuang Chin-Ta, and Farok Afero

 

Abstract
Guatemala has claimed Belizean territory for 150 years, ever since the colonial era. While several attempts have been made to settle this dispute, with no final resolution, several problems both on the land and sea still exist, including illegal settlements, illegal logging, illegal hunting, illegal fishing, illegal harvesting of forest products, illegal farming, illegal land subdivisions, loss of property and threat to human life. These problems have created conflict between the two nations along with a series of confrontations among the military forces, communities, and fishermen in the two countries. A proposal facilitated by the Organization of American States for confidence-building measures between the two countries did not succeed. Both countries now seek to finalize the settlement at the International Court of Justice. This paper introduces the issue with a summary of the history of Belize’s territory and the origins of the claim, followed by a summary of the treaties and negotiations agreed to between the two countries, important elements of the Belize Maritime Act, and a discussion of the implications for conservation and efforts made to resolve this conflict.

 

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Key words: territorial sea, exclusive economic zone, Maritime Areas Act, Belize, Guatemala

 

Suggested APA Reference: Perez, A., Chin-Ta, C., & Afero, F. (2009). Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute and its implications for conservation. Tropical Conservation Science2(1), 11-24.

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