|Belize Country Statement at Copenhagen|
|Written by Administrator|
|Thursday, 17 December 2009 00:00|
Belize is a country blessed with the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, the second longest in the world, thousands of beautiful coral islands, and abundant mangrove, broadleaf and pine forests. Unfortunately we are not able to list our natural riches merely to extol them. Rather, it is to lament their destruction; to testify to the havoc that is being wrought on our environment and on our people by anthropogenic global warming.
As a developing country and low-lying coastal nation, Belize is among the mostvulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change and is now classified as one of the top ten most affected countries. In the past 11 years, Belize has suffered devastation from six major tropical cyclones. Mitch, Keith, Iris, Chantal, Dean and Arthur, fuelled by high sea surface temperatures, destroyed our crops; battered our coral reefs; flooded our streets; washed away our bridges; ruined our tourism infrastructure and ran us out of our homes.
Those reefs, Jewels in our environmental Crown, have also been turned to skeletons by massive coral bleaching events in 1995, 1998, 2005, 2008 and 2009. Those reefs, resplendent and life-giving, internationally famous, are in too many spots now nothing more than graveyards.
Now Belize, with its low level of industrialization and low population, is one of the minutest contributors to GHG emissions. But we have been at the forefront of innovative mitigation actions. In February 1995, we were the first country to implement a fully funded forest sector project under the US Initiative on Joint Implementation. We have chartered both solar and hydroelectricity projects; and these have resulted in a drastic 50% reduction in GHG emissions by the energy sector since 1991, despite a fourfold increase in demand.
* Long-term stabilization of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at well below 350ppm;
While exhorting all high emitting nations to take action, we simultaneously point out that even the most ambitious cuts in GHG emissions will not be sufficient or timely enough to turn the clock back on the current impacts of climate change. The genie is out of the bottle. And nations, such as Belize, are already suffering too much.
We must avert utter social, economic and environmental catastrophes, however. And so we call upon the developed countries to provide a comprehensive financing package that would generate predictable, new and additional funding to support adaptation and mitigation actions in the developing countries.
In closing, I wish to point out that it takes no act of genius to recognize either the general global pickle we are in, or the particular plight of small island and low lying coastal states. Accordingly, the longer term avoidance of adverse climate change effects overall, but their immediate amelioration vis a vis the most vulnerable, must be the measuring stick for success at this conference.