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One week training on Climate Change held in Cayo Print E-mail
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Thursday, 05 September 2013 00:00

Carlos Fuller and Dennis Gonguez, Belize's Chief MeteorologistsSince a meeting of Global minds at 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 18th and 19th of July 2013 at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, much continues to happen on the Climate Change agenda. As recent as last week, a team from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) was brought in for five consecutive days to sensitize some 100 persons from the public, private and Non Government Organizations on Climate Change. Previously, the National Climate Change Committee had met and approved a National Plan for climate change actions in Belize.


Main presenter from the WWF, Shaun Martin, spoke about becoming a climate smart Government. Belizean Nadia Bood, who has been at the WWF for the past seven years, spoke about the Identification and Valuation Options of Coastal Marine Ecosystems, with Placencia being at the center of the study. Bood referred to the use of the results from her study as a reference point to other areas such as the new Coastal Zone Management Plan.

Participants at last Friday’s sessions at the George Price Center for Peace and Development in Belmopan included members of the Belize National Climate Change Committee. Dennis Gonguez, Belize’s current Chief Meteorologist, and his predecessor, Carlos Fuller, as well as Belize’s Chief Environmental Officer Martin Alegria were present.

Chief Executive Officer within the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Dr. Wendel Parham, told The Guardian that the workshops held from August 26th to 30th were organized by the Climate Change Unit within his Ministry and funded by the European Union and the National GCCA Project to “…understand what we mean by climate change, what we mean by climate change mitigation, what we mean by climate change adaptation and to look at some of the methodologies and approaches.”

An important thrust of the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development is the development of the National Climate Change Policy Strategy and Action Plan. Concurrent to this is the Belize Climate Resilience Infrastructure Project (BCRIP) which is a Project under the Ministry of Works to address infrastructure resilience in Belize. Also, the National Climate Resilience Investment Program NCRIP addresses climate resilience throughout the economy of Belize and is being worked in conjunction with the World Bank. (Both BCRIP and NCRIP are being coordinated out of the Ministry of Economic Development but involves other Ministries) A third project seeking solidification of concepts such as from last week’s sensitization with the WWF is the risk and vulnerability assessment of the Belize City Master Plan, which also encompasses the greater Belize District, Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye. The latter project is being done in collaboration with the Government of Cuba and funded by the Regional GCCA Project, which is managed by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center CCCCC based in Belmopan.

Chief Meteorlogist Dennis Gonguez told us that he would like to see more climate monitoring instruments across the country; especially one for the Belize Western Border. Gonguez pointed to the graphs being referred to by the WWF last Friday as being rich with climatic data. He says that the more precise his data measurements on climatic conditions are the better will be the extrapolations. Dr. Wendel Parham refers to these ‘data sets’ as important given that some of the projects now underway will “…look to some projections to develop criteria for decision making in terms of climate resilience.”