Strengthening trinational cooperation for the protection of the Selva Maya

At the end of January 2016, directors, deputy directors and technical staff from the bordering protected areas of the Selva Maya (Belize, Guatemala and Mexico), met in Belize to follow up on the 2016 Action Plan, exchange achievements and prepare the Operational Plan for 2017.

During the meeting, which was supported by the Selva Maya Program implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German Technical Cooperation, the representatives of each protected area had the opportunity to present the most pressing cross-border challenges they are facing, which include forest fires, illegal hunting and trafficking of flora and fauna among others. Unlike the previous year, this planning session counted with the participation of the Monitoring Project for the Selva Maya, which is implemented by GIZ and financed by the BMUB (German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety).

For the Operational Plan 2017, participants agreed to strengthen cooperation actions in the areas of 1) Biological Monitoring: this includes, among others, the survey and data analysis of trap cameras, as well as the development of unified monitoring protocols; 2) Strengthening of cross-border inspection and surveillance programs at bi- and trinational levels, including training in the use of tools such as SMART; 3) Capacity strengthening including environmental legislation, conflict resolution and use of remote sensing equipment; 4) Sensitization and environmental education in key communities along the border and 5) Control and prevention of transboundary forest fires.

One of the main achievements of 2016 was the integration of a website to share key information for the three countries ( Also, promotion videos of the Selva Maya were published (, and the publicity campaign around the hashtag #TodosSomosSelvaMaya was maintained and promoted in the different social networks of the protected areas.

Participants in this meeting included the Program for Belize (PfB), the Forest Department of Belize (FD); the Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative (CSFI); the Guatemalan National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP) and the Mexican National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP).