Mechanism of articulation/coordination between sectorial and land planning in Belize
Physical planning and land planning in Belize is regulated by 25 laws, three of which stand out: (a) the Housing and Town Planning Act, Chapter 182, Revised edition of the year 2000; (b) the Land Utilization Act, Cap. 188, Revised edition of the year 2000 and (c) the Belize Land Development Authority Act, Cap. 181, Revised edition year 2000.
(a) The Housing and Urban Planning Law establishes a "Central Housing and Planning Authority" consisting of eight persons nominated by the responsible Minister. Three of these persons must be representatives of the Departments of Health, Public Works and Lands and one will be the National Emergency Coordinator designated under the Disaster Preparedness and Response Act. The president of the Central Authority shall be the secretary of the Ministry responsible for housing or another person named by the Minister from among the eight members. The main instrument of planning are the schemes which contain the provisions that are necessary to prohibit or regulate the development of the land in a certain area. The Central Authority may, in the process of drawing up housing schemes, co-opt the assistance of a representative of the local authorities, the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture if matters of interest to said authorities are involved.
(b) The Land Use Law focuses on the control of the subdivision of lands and their use. The responsible Minister can, for a better use of the land, establish regulations to prohibit the felling of trees in areas of water catchment or watersheds, prevent soil erosion, restrict construction, demarcate areas for spatial development accompanied by the determination of the type of development allowed, among other actions. All these determinations will be subject to the approval of the National Assembly.
(c) The Land Development Law establishes the "Land Development Authority in Belize" empowered to acquire, divide, grant concessions, sell, develop and improve land, including the provision of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, drainage and irrigation, alone or in association with others. The Authority will be administered by a Board composed of the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Secretary of Finance, the National Disaster Coordinator and five other members appointed by the Minister of Agriculture.
The high normative and institutional fragmentation of planning and management of the use, occupation and transformation of land and the lack of an integral planning and management system makes it difficult to coordinate and articulate territorial management with environmental management and socio-economic development.
The land public administration only has two territorial instances: central and local (districts). There is no intermediate level.