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March 20, 2019; Belmopan, Belize. – The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) hosted a meeting on March 18, at its office in Belmopan, Belize; with the Cuban Ambassador to Belize, Her Excellency Mrs. Lissette Pérez; and representatives from the Government of Belize’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Sustainable Development, the Environment, Climate Change and Solid Waste Management Authority, to discuss the Coastal Erosion Assessment conducted by two Cuban Coastal Erosion Specialists.
“We want to formalize and solidify the relationship between Belize and Cuba. Belize acknowledges that Cuba has the know-how and technical capacity to best guide and advise Belize on these issues as we aim to build our national capacity for the sustainability of these initiatives”
Dr. Lennox Gladden, Chief Climate Change Officer of the National Climate Change Office.
On March 13 and 14, 2019, the specialists, Dr. José Luis Juanes and MSc. Miguel Izquierdo from Cuba’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA) also visited the coastal town of Dangriga and Hopkins, a community within its environs to identify the various natural and human factors affecting coastal erosion there.
Beach scarp, dead trees, exposed roots, waves reaching building foundations and some inefficiency coastal protection structures, demonstrate the extent of erosion in Dangriga-Hopkins. Locals estimate that the shoreline has receded by 20 to 25 feet in the last 5 years.
In an effort to stabilize the coastline, the experts discussed possible measures and solutions. Dr. Juanes and Mr. Izquierdo recommended three areas of focus, namely: research, legal direction to define and regulate the coastal zone and the deployment of adequate engineering.
Dr. Percival Cho, Chief Executive Officer noteded: “It is important to structure Belize’s regulatory framework to better govern the development of our beaches.”Her Excellency Mrs. Pérez expressed interest in the actions, best practices and sustainable adaptation initiatives that Belize could undertake to mitigate the damages.
The meeting concluded on the promise of further collaboration between Cuba and Belize to address the issues of coastal erosion and vulnerability as well as other related areas.