Victory | November 13, 2023
New Law in Belize Gives People the Power to Protect Offshore Oil Moratorium
The Government of Belize passed a new law that requires any decision to open its ocean to oil and gas drilling to first be voted on by the Belizean people through a national referendum. Belize is home to 40% of the second largest barrier reef system in the world (and the largest in the Western Hemisphere). Belizeans’ lives are inextricably tied to the sea and a third of the country’s economy is driven by tourism and fisheries. This victory would not have been possible without campaigning by Oceana and its allies, who secured 22,090 signed petitions from Belizean voters to ensure that “people power” is at the center of decisions about the long-term future of the country’s reef, ocean, and the livelihoods its resources sustain. In 2017, Oceana, the people of Belize, and the Belizean government made history by unanimously passing an indefinite moratorium on offshore oil in Belize.