Belmopan. March 26, 2019. Like other low-lying coastal nations, Belize is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Its geographical location leaves the country exposed to the risk of rising sea levels and increasing frequency and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes that have traditionally hit the area with catastrophic consequences. Additionally, its economic dependence on natural resources heightens its vulnerability to rising temperatures and the resulting impacts on a variety of socio-economic sectors and on the environment of coastal areas and forests.
Research indicates that climate change impacts could cost the twenty-four island nations of the Caribbean a total $11 billion by 2025, but these figures are likely to be an underestimate. The costs of inaction cannot be ignored. And while preparing for such impacts and a low carbon pathway are critical, they are costly. The Green Climate Fund (GCF), offers an attractive source of funding to achieve these goals. The GCF is currently capitalised at USD10.3 billion and is the largest climate change fund in the world.
To date, GFC has funded two projects involving Belize, including a multi-country project on energy efficiency and renewable energy implemented through the European Investment Bank (EIB), approved in April 2017; and a national project promoting climate-smart agricultural production implemented through the International Fund for Agriculture and Development (IFAD), approved in February 2019.
Belize has also received support through grant funding from the GCF to boost the capacities of the country to access international finance for investments in climate change projects. Since February 2018, the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum (MEDP) of Belize in collaboration with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) has been running a project, “Capacity Building of National Designated Authority (NDA) and Preparation of Country Strategic Framework”, to strengthen the capacities of the MEDP and to prepare a Country Strategic Framework to guide Belize’s engagement with the GCF.
The project is approximately 14 months in duration, expected to end in April 2019, and is being delivered with the support of Acclimatise, a UK-based climate change adaptation and climate finance consultancy, together with a national consultant.
The MEDP plays an important role in facilitating access to the GCF in Belize and is responsible for acting as the focal point for communications with the GCF and national organisations, identifying national funding priorities, giving no-objection to project proposals, and nominating national organisations for accreditation.
Since the inception of the project, a broad consultative process has been set up, involving all relevant public sector agencies, businesses and business associations as well as academia and civil societyorganisations in Belize. Through three workshops and a large number of one-to-one meetings with key stakeholders and donors, conducted between April and November 2018, the MEDP and the project team have built a Country Programme containing a pipeline of potential projects to be funded by GCF and key steps for their implementation. This pipeline not only provides funding priorities for climate change but also aligns with the country’s sustainable development priorities and key sectors.
A final meeting will be hosted by MEDP on 27th March 2019 from 8:30 to 4:30 pm at the Radisson Hotel in Belize City.
The meeting aims to present key aspects of the draft Country Programme and the priority projects proposed for GCF funding and receive feedback from participants. All relevant stakeholders in Belize have been invited to provide comments on the draft document and to participate to the consultative process to inform and validate the Country Programme. By project completion, Belize will have significantly increased its capacity on accessing GCF finance.