Binational Planning

mesoamerican research center

El Pilar is unique as the only binationally managed Archaeological Reserve in the world. Sitting on the border between Belize and Guatemala, a historically contended border between the two countries, there were bound to be challenges to the integration and creation of El Pilar and its management. However, instead of a point of contention, from the early developments of the El Pilar Program the site has served as a platform for international cooperation. As the BRASS/El Pilar program worked toward the official establishment of the boundaries of El Pilar, a network of alliances evolved reflecting the growth of the El Pilar vision, inevitably touching two nations and upwards of 60,000 Belizeans and Guatemalans living in zones adjacent to the reserve.

Nearly ten years ago, the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna in Belize and the protected Monumento Cultural El Pilar para la Flora y Fauna Mayas in Guatemala were established to safeguard the shared resources at El Pilar. Along with research and education on ancient Maya land use, the innovative, cross-border, participatory management planning process designed by the El Pilar Program promises to build a lasting and effective base for the conservation of the Maya Forest.