The World Heritage Committee has decided that the safeguarding measures undertaken in the last nine years by Belize warrant the removal of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System from the World Heritage List in Danger.
The reef is the second largest coral reef system in the world – after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia – and has been on the World Heritage List since 1996.
During the meeting in Bahrain, the committee celebrated the “visionary plan to manage the coastline.”
The reef was initially added to the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2009 when the government at the time allowed oil exploration in nearby waters.
However, in December 2018, a moratorium on oil exploration in Belizean waters was passed.
In addition, forestry regulations have been strengthened which allow for better protection of mangroves.
The reef system is home to a variety of wildlife, including more than 500 species of fish and threatened species such as the American marine crocodile, the West Indian manatee, and sea turtles.
The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System is home to American crocodiles. © Inger Vandyke/VW PICS/UIG/Getty