The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development handed over to the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) 25 DELL computer systems at a brief ceremony on Friday, March 10, 2017 at the National Agriculture and Trade Show Grounds in Belmopan.
The contribution was made through the Ministry’s Capacity Building for Strategic Planning and Management of Natural Resources in Belize project (CD 2), financed by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This donation, valued at $66,944.00 Belize dollars, is in line with one of many actions outlined in the country’s sustainable development framework.
The handing of these computers is “a key action that is associated with Belize’s sustainable development pathway [and] is tied to Belize’s ability to monitor and track its process against its policies and plan, and the ability to ensure the availability of information to guide decision making...” said Diane Wade Moore, Assistant Resident Representative from the United Nations Development Programme.
In accordance with the United Nation’s launch of the platform, The World That Counts, “…data is the life blood of decision making and the raw material of accountability,” added Wade.
In his key note address the Hon. Dr. Omar Figueroa explained that the CD 2 Project is a three year capacity development project managed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development being implemented by the United Nations Development Program, with financial support to the tune of 1.4 million US dollars from the Global Environmental Facility and the Government of Belize.
“The CD 2 project is designed to assist Belize in meeting its reporting obligations under the Rio Conventions and other multilateral environmental agreements…the project has as its main objective to strengthen institutional and technical capacities for improved monitoring and assessment of environmental impacts and trends to pilot natural resource valuation and a tool to generate data to inform environmental impact assessments and to mobilize resources within relevant institutions,” he said.
SIB now becomes the latest beneficiary of the CD 2 Program from where half of their stock of computers, some a decade old, will now be replaced. To mark the occasion, Diana Trejo, Deputy Director General of the Statistical Institute of Belize was present to sign the documents for the state-of-the-art computer systems. The new additions will contribute significantly to SIB’s efforts to modernize its information technology (IT) system in support of the elaboration of the National Statistical System (NSS), as well as in the implementation of the Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy (GSDS).
“We also would like to thank sincerely the United Nations Development Program and the Global Environmental Facility through whose funding the purchase of these computers was made possible, and which continues to lend the support to the SIB’s effort to modernize not just its computer equipment, but also its network infrastructure,” Trejo said on Friday.
According to Diana Trejo, the computer systems will be well utilized as SIB’s activities have involved the processing and handling of very large data bases from past censuses and surveys, generating monthly statistics using specialized software, reviewing large quantities of survey data (via tablets) and most importantly mapping the entire Country-- in preparation for the 2020 census.
The handing over on Friday also showcased various ongoing initiatives within the Ministry, with a particular focus on multiagency collaboration in implementing the GSDS and NSS processes. This was expressed most laudably by Dr. Percival Cho, who is the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with oversight for the Fisheries Department, Forest Department, Department of the Environment, Sustainable Development, National Climate Change Office, and the Solid Waste Management Authority.
“The Ministry wishes to extend thanks to the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce, we have collaborated on several initiatives which include the GSDS process,” he said.
Dr. Percival Cho also expressed confidence that the new computers will not only strengthen the SIB but will also “…contribute towards enabling the structures to support the national statistical system.”