What is Belize doing to protect its cultural heritage?

Belize is a state party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export or Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (Ratified by Belize on January 26, 1990), as well as to the 1972 World Heritage Convention Concerning the Protection of World Culture and Natural Heritage (November 16, 1972). The current national legislation is the 2003 National Institute of Culture and History Act, which improved upon legislation that dates as far back as 1894.

Belize has two bilateral agreements for the protection of antiquities: Protection and Restitution of Archaeological Artistic and Historic Monuments , (Ratified agreement with Mexico on March 17, 1995) and the Special Agreement Between Belize And Guatemala to Submit Guatemala’s Territorial, Insular And Maritime Claim To The International Court Of Justice (Signed on December 8, 2008).

The Belize Institute of Archaeology (IA) is dedicated to the research, protection, preservation, and sustainable management of cultural and archaeological resources. The IA has over 60 staff, park managers, and rangers who care for the country’s archaeological heritage. The IA also organizes public outreach education programs such as the annual Belize Archaeology Symposium, which has been held every summer since 2002.

In 2002, the Museum of Belize opened. Its goal is to promote, document, and exhibit Belize’s culture and history. There are also a number of regional museums around the country, including the Lamanai Visitor CenterNimli Punit Visitor Center, and Cahal Pech Visitor Center.

Below is a list of articles which demonstrate how the IA and Belizean Government protects the country’s rich cultural heritage and educates the public about Maya culture.

Workshop of preserving cultural heritage held in Corozal

IA staff conduct educational talks at Belizean schools

Autumnal Equinox Camping Event at Caracol

July 2011
Contract Signed For Cayo Archaeological Investments

December 2010
Museum Gets Money for Maya Exhibit

August 2009
US Embassy Donates over $200,000 for Cultural Preservation

May 2009
New archaeological site declared to move away from Mayan Temples

July 2008
Bridging the Archaeology Disconnect

June 2008
Jades of Belize, The Catalogue

February 2007
Rangers deputized to better police parks

September 2006
Celebrating the Jade

July 2006
More Mayan Secrets at Archaeology Summit

February 2006
Management Regime Signed for El Pilar
Museum of Belize Celebrates 4 Years

July 2005
Archaeological Symposium Opened

July 2004
Archaeology Symposium Opens at the Princess

July 2003
Archaeological Symposium Underway

June 2001
Royal Ontario Museum returns artifacts