The number of European Union EU projects that have been taken to full completion around Belize, mostly without much fanfare, seems in-exhaustible. Belize is set, yet again, to benefit from more European Union outlays in the coming years.
From the records of the EU, 2014 was the best year in terms of EU disbursements to Belize, which amounted to 36 million Belize dollars. In keeping with this trend, the EU has recently signed a new contract with Belize for the same amount, which will translate eventually to more disbursements. Indeed; there is much cause for celebration for 2015 was the first time there was political dialogue between Belize and the EU.
For just a few examples of these projects, the EU is supporting the Organization of American States Office located near the Benque Viejo del Carmen Border. Under the OAS programs, cultural groups are supported in Melchor de Mencos and Benque Viejo to foster brotherly relations on both sides of the border. One project that the EU-Belize Program is especially proud of is the cattle sweep for tuberculosis and brucellosis, for which two sweeps have already been conducted; resulting in the doubling of profits for the sellers of cattle.
The EU uses as its main instrument the Belize Rural Development Program Two (BRDP 2), which is also funded by the Government of Belize, in an effort to provide tangible opportunities to the people of Belize. Support from this unique EU-Belize partnership has gone to the Belize Young Women Christian Association, the Toledo Cacao Association, the Belize Botanical Garden, the Belize Tourist Board and the National Institute of Culture and History.
This work by the EU since February of 2010 is only made possible thanks to the cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Development and the National Authorizing Officer, along with other line Ministries, which are assisting in the implementing of projects.
“The aim of the Belize Rural Development Project is to promote economic growth and reduce the incidence of poverty in rural communities of Belize,” acknowledges the Hon. John B. Saldivar, Minister of National Security.
“The BRDP2 has provided technical assistance and support to the Ministry of Labor, Local Government, Rural Development, National Emergency, the Ministry of Trade, Investment, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection…it has also provided support to the Belize Agriculture Health Authority and to the Ministry of Health,” also stated the Hon. John Saldivar, during the completion of a recently completed EU funded project.
European Ambassador to Belize, Her Excellency Paola Amadei in an interview with the Guardian Newspaper says “We have just signed a new cooperation program [for Belize]…its covering the period until 2020, so Belize is set to benefit.”