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Climate Change affecting Belize Print E-mail
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Thursday, 25 July 2013 00:00

(L-R)  Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center; Dr. Wendel Parham, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development; Cosimo Lamberti Fossati, Technical Support Office EU Delegation to Belize; Laura Giappichelii, Policy Officer of GCCABelize is getting an assistance of seven and a half million Belize Dollars from the European Union (E.U). This was revealed last week Thursday by Cosimo Lamberti Fossati, who comes from the Technical Support Office, European Union (E.U.) Delegation to Belize.


The announcement was made during the Second Program Steering Committee of the Global Climate Change Alliance GCCA Intra African Caribbean and Pacific Countries meeting which was held on both the 18thand 19th of July 2013 at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel and as a follow up to a closed First Regional Technical Meeting held on the 16th and 17th. The primary purpose of the Second Program Steering Committee meeting was to raise interest in the ACP Programs as well as establish working groups within the GCCA Intra-ACP, enhance networking and communication, improve coordination and facilitate the exchange of information and expertise.

The GCCA had been sparked into existence by the E.U. to bolster dialogue and cooperation on climate change with developing countries most at risk to climate change. Meanwhile, the GCCA Intra-ACP Program is a part of the GCCA, which targets the ACP group of States, assisting them to better confront climate change as an impediment to their further development. The Intra-ACP Program is funded under the 10th European Development Fund Financial Framework and covers all 79 member countries of the ACP.

Present to thank the E.U. last week for support to the adverse effects of climate change was Dr. Wendel Parham, Chief Executive Officer within the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development.
“The Government of Belize acknowledges and thanks the European Union for its generous support to those regions and countries that are highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change,” said Dr. Parham to the climate experts from around the ACP.

In declaring the Second Program Steering Committee meeting of the GCCA Intra-ACP open last week Thursday, Dr. Parham also described the particular circumstances of Belize in the face of Climate change and what is being done in the mitigation efforts.

Dr. Wendel Parham projected that there will be a seven to eight percent decrease in the length of the rainy season in Belize, a six to eight percent increase in the length of the dry season as well as a 20% increase in the intensity of rainfall. A changing Belize climate will have further disastrous effects on the tourism, fisheries, aquaculture and agriculture industries, according to Parham, and would be a further impediment towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which in itself is a target set by the Caribbean component of the Intra ACP-GCCA Program.

Belize is fortunate to benefit from both the Caribbean component of the Intra ACP-GCCA and the National GCCA. This provides for an opportunity for the execution of an integrated vulnerability assessment for coastal Belize City.

“…In addition to being the most vulnerable parts of the country these areas [coastal Belize city] contain over 38% of the population and most valuable sectors of the economy, which contributes over Bz $700 million annually to GDP,” stated Dr. Wendel Parham.

There have been other benefits for Belize under the Caribbean component of the Intra ACP-GCCA. Belize has been able to acquire five hydro meteorological stations and one coral reef early warning system. These systems say the experts will advance the understanding of coral reefs and the environment. Belizeans have also participated in training workshops in the use of climate models, which will lead to improved planning adaptation measures and wider development in agriculture. Under the Caribbean component of the Intra ACP-GCCA, a National Climate Change Policy Strategy and Action Plan is now in progress. This policy framework will guide the work of the newly established Climate Change Office.

Thus with the commitment of 2.9 million Euros under the GCCA Program, Belize will be able to support the implementation of the National Integrated Water Management Policy and the Water Sector Adaptation Strategy to address climate change. These mitigation and adaptation measures are crucial in making the Belizean economy more resilient to climate change.