Regional Coordination Unit (URCP, by its acronym in Spanish)
The governments of Honduras, Guatemala and Belize have agreed on to carry ahead the project for the "Environmental Protection and Control of the Contamination originated by the Maritime Transportation in the Gulf of Honduras" (Project of the Gulf of Honduras). The project is focused to the demonstration of new technologies and combined to undertake some of the main problems and environmental aspects of the Gulf, that conduce to the degradation of the marine and coastal ecosystems, caused by human activities. The objective of the long-term project, is to contribute to revert the degradation of the coastal and marine ecosystems, intensifying the control and the prevention of the contamination originated by the maritime transportation in the main ports and routes of navigation, improving the security of the navigation to avoid the grounding and discharges and to reduce the input of contaminants originating from sources of terrestrial contamination to the coastal and marine adjacent areas inside the Gulf of Honduras.
The project is being carried out with the support by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) as Implementing Agency of the GEF. For it, the parts have agreed that the Central American Commission of Maritime Transportation (COCATRAM, by its acronym in Spanish) act as executing institution for the IADB with support of the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD) as co-executing institution.
The Regional Coordination Unit (URCP) constitutes the administrative and technical base for the execution of the Gulf of Honduras project (GoH).
Gulf of Honduras (GoH) is a trinacional body of coastal and marine waters that includes portions of the areas of economic exclusivity of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. The conditions that sustain the productivity and diversity of the Gulf are the same factors that, combined with elements of anthropogenic and sociocultural character, make the area vulnerable to marine and land-based contamination. The quick erosion of the basins, the sources of land-based contamination and the inadequate safety in ports constitute a big concern, due to the potentially negative impacts in the coastal ecosystems of the surroundings, as well as in the public health and the economic development.
The topic of maritime safety is of great importance to the Gulf. The risks of collisions and groundings are significant; therefore, we recognized the necessity to improve the safety in marine routes thoroughly, including infrastructure and communications systems, as well as to upgrade of the nautical cartography. The area of Gulf is vulnerable to spills, due to little depth and to the closed nature of the bay, in combination with circular strong currents.
To contribute to reverse the degradation of the marine and coastal ecosystems inside the Gulf of Honduras. This will be achieved improving the prevention and control of the contamination related to the marine transportation in the main ports and maritime routes, increasing their safety to avoid grounding of ships and spills, and reducing those land-based sources of contamination in the Gulf.
To create and consolidate a regional network to control the contamination of marine and land-based origin inside the Gulf which includes the formulation of institutional and economic schemes that will guarantee the sustainability of the action program.
To develop a long term capacity to gather, organize, analyze and diffuse environmental marine information as complement of the Environmental Information System of SAM
To improve the maritime safety in key ports and to adopt innovative approaches, with the purpose of reducing the environmental marine contamination associated with accidental and operational discharges in the sea;
To carry out the environmental management in the regional network of five ports located in the Gulf of Honduras, by means of the preparation and execution of investments and action programs that includes the demonstration of pilot activities and the participation of the private sector.
The project is comprised of five components:
- Component 1: Development of the regional capacity to prevent and control the contamination of marine and land-based origin.
- Component 2: Development of a data information base for the Strategic Action Program.
- Component 3: Improvement on the safety of maritime routes.
- Component 4: Improvement of environmental management and reduction of risks in the regional network of five ports located in Gulf of Honduras.
- Component 5: Program management
Guatemala, Honduras and Belize
Central American Maritime Transport Commission (COCATRAM) and Central America
Environmental and Development Commission (CCAD).
(i) The improvement of the Trinational coordination to prevent the emission of land-based and ships pollutants;
(ii) A stronger adhesion to the international agreements for the prevention of land-based and marine contamination;
(iii) Emulation and regional adoption of innovative technologies for the control and prevention of the contamination;
(iv) Leverage of the financing dedicated to the environmental protection through a Strategic Action Program that has regional support, and
(v) Boarding of threats and their fundamental causes, with the purpose of protecting the marine and coastal biodiversity of world importance.
(i) Conservation of critical ecosystems and the resources to guarantee the sustainability of tourism and fisheries;
(ii) Reduction of damages and threats to the safety due to marine accidents;
(iii) Reduction of costs associated to operational maintenance of ports and maritime routes, and
(iv) A more active participation of groups of interest in the environmental management of the activities related with the marine environment.
Regional and National Committees
The management of the project includes the following two Committees: Executive Regional committee, integrated by high officials (Secretaries or Vice Ministers) of the national counterparts of each country (Marine Administration and Environmental Administration), the Director of the Program, COCATRAM, CCAD, a representative of the IDB as an observer and representatives of other regional projects related to the program, as non voters members that have been invited. This Committee will be responsible for the revision and approval of budgets and annual work plans, as well as fomenting the coordination with other regional initiatives.
Regional Management Committee
Integrated by officials of technical level, responsible for the decision taking of matters related to port operations, industry, national and local governments, environmental organizations and other professional organizations involved in the environmental protection. The Regional Management Committee will be responsible to forge the consent among its membership around the activities to be undertaken as part of the project and to contribute to the annual cycles of planning and revision.
Principle ports in the Gulf of Honduras.