As part of efforts towards sustainable development goals, governmental and non-governmental bodies in Belize are undertaking ‘watershed management’ projects to assess and manage not only water but also land, ecosystem and human aspects of resource stewardship and climate change adaptation. This paper discusses preliminary findings of anthropological research into what these contemporary interventions mean and entail for rural residents of Stann Creek and Toledo Districts, whose lives and livelihoods depend on the environments in question. Drawing on four months of ethnography and interviews, I aim to examine the processes of translation and participation that may or may not occur during scientific environmental assessments and management interventions. Rural development and conservation interventions in Belize have been complicated by legacies of colonialism, indigenous land rights struggles, territorial disputes and past failed projects. This paper reflects on the interactions of environmental, social and health concerns; different modes of engagement within and between communities, governments, NGOs, and researchers; and the role of brokers who inhabit multiple roles in these relationships.
Keywords: Anthropology, Knowledge, Development, Water, Environment, Ethnography
Suggested APA Reference: Baines, K. (2018). Negotiating Science & Environment in Rural Belize: An Anthropological Perspective, presented at First Belize National Research Conference, City of Belmopan, 2018. Belize: NICH.