Public understanding and awareness of both the biological and economical importance of Belize’s coastal and marine resources, and the need for proper management is critical to sustainable use and development of these resources.

In July 1999 the Education and Public Awareness Unit was established. The goal of the programme is to increase and improve the knowledge and understanding of issues affecting the coastal zone, therefore better preparing communities to make informed decisions on the use of the coastal and marine resources. An extension to the Education and Public Awareness Programme is the CZM Reference and Research Library, which was officially opened in May 2003.

The Education and Public Awareness Programme has produced various brochures, booklets, reports and audiovisual material for dissemination to the public to create awareness of issues affecting the coastal zone. The CZM Institute’ Education and Public Awareness programme is also responsible for producing the annual State of the Coast Report and the organization’s quarterly newsletter Coastline.

In addition, the Education and Public Awareness programme supports the CZM Institute programmes in conducting workshops/seminars, training, and in delivering presentation to stakeholder groups. Through the Education and Public Awareness Programme, the CZMAI has coordinated events such as Manatee Week, Coastal Awareness Week Dive in to Earth Day, Open Day and Coast Fair .

In 2002 the CZMAI received a grant from the U.S. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to implement the Conservation of Goff’s Caye and Reef Habitat (ConGREH) Project. The primary objective of project is to reduce impact to these ecologically fragile habitats through mooring buoys installation, ongoing monitoring and research, and educational training/awareness programs to gain formal support for their sustainable utilization and long-term management. Education and public awareness has been a significant component of the ConGREH Project.

These events and activities directly target core groups such as government officials, youths, stakeholders involved in marine-based industries and the general public. Direct participation from the general public is promoted in several of these activities to foster stewardship of the country’s coastal and marine resources.

Over the years, the CZMAI has utilized the Goff’s Caye Management Area as one of the main teaching tools in getting the youths and school children to appreciate the marine environment and why it’s necessary to conserve and protect it.

CZM Institute regularly participates in events hosted by partner agencies and groups to promote public awareness initiatives to a wider audience. This includes events such as Tourism Week, the National Agriculture and Trade Show and other fairs.

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