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Belmopan, May 10, 2018 – A three-day National Capacity Building on Climate Change Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) workshop aimed at enhancing Belize’s ability to measure climate risks, ended today. It was held at the George Price Centre for Peace and Development in Belmopan.
The objectives of the workshop are intended to enhance Belize’s national capacity for climate change vulnerability assessments, identify and utilize relevant national, regional and international data resources, tools and models that will provide guidance and information for the VCA. Organisers hoped that the workshop would also help participants to get practical experience in conducting VCAs, identify realistic adaptation activities and actions to address the country’s vulnerabilities and support the national development processes, establish a national network and build communication linkages between practitioners and stakeholders to promote public awareness about climate variability and change, sustainable and economic development, and resilience.
The workshop was organsied by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) with funding from The National Climate Change Office (NCCO) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration (MAFFESDI) in collaboration with the Global Environmental Facility(GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Experts from the Cuban Meteorological Institute (INSMET Cuba) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) presented on concepts and tools used in developing vulnerability and adaptation assessments as well as the various aspects of the Vulnerability Capacity and Adaptation Measures process. Twenty technical experts from various ministries across the government of Belize participated in the various discussions and presented on their conclusions.
In his opening speech on May 8, 2018, Dr. Percival Cho, Chief Executive Officer of Ministry of AFFESDI, noted: “In order to address and reduce vulnerabilities we face as a nation and develop appropriate adaptation strategies, these assessments need to be updated periodically. Therefore, it is critical that our national technical experts build their capacity.”
The Belize Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development hosted a 1 day workshop earlier in March, 2016, at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel under a project entitled “Capacity-building for the strategic planning and management of natural resources in Belize”. This project is being implemented in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, with funding from the Global Environment Facility, and aims to facilitate sustainable development as we seek to manage and adapt to the effects of climate change.
The concept of a low carbon development strategy came up at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun in 2010 where developing countries such as Belize were encouraged to pursue development with minimal outputs of greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time prepare for its impacts.
A Low Carbon Development Roadmap was prepared for Belize in 2015 during which the consultancy identified and analyzed challenges and gaps with regard to low carbon development in the country. The Low Carbon Development Roadmap will strategically assist the country to follow a low-carbon economy path in order to achieve sustainable development, based on local socio-economic and development priorities. During the first roadmap consultations, low carbon development alternatives in the Agriculture, Forestry, Energy, Tourism and Transport sectors were analyzed. Citing two examples, improved farming practices will enable farmers to be more resilient as well as reduce agricultural emissions; and energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions can minimize carbon emissions while at the same time contribute to poverty reduction.
It is against this backdrop, the capacity gap assessment workshop was held. The workshop aimed at revising the Roadmap, to align the roadmap to the Growth and Sustainable Development strategy in a more coordinated, coherent and strategic manner and to identify the main capacity gaps. South Pole Carbon Asset Management Ltd. had prepared the Low Carbon Development Roadmap and was contracted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development to undertake this initiative.
Key stakeholders from regional organizations, as well as from the public and private sectors, were invited to allow for focused discussions, and to contribute of their knowledge and experience.
The outcome of this workshop will be a new version of the Low Carbon Development Roadmap that will incorporate the feedback from the stakeholders and will be aligned to the Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy to ensure coherence and integration between climate change, growth and sustainable policy framework.
Credit: Belize National Climate Change Office
The launch featured the official handing over of various equipment by the German Ambassador Stefan Schlüter to the Hon. Roland Bhola, Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries & Environment, a highly informative and lively presentation by MPA Coordinator Roland Baldeo on the work of the Molinière-Beauséjour Marine Protected Area (MPA), and the opening of the new MPA administrative office. There was also a lionfish information display, featuring live lionfish aquarium and delicious lionfish tasting!
CATS is an umbrella program that follows a ‘Ridge-to-Reef Approach’ by bringing together two topical projects, namely one on “Adaptation of Rural Economies and Natural Resources to Climate Change”, and the other on the “Management of Coastal Resources and Conservation of Marine Biodiversity”.
In the case of CATS, the ‘Concept of Herding CATS’ has been adopted, which will aid the region to effectively coordinate the support provided by various International Development Partners (IDP) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO).
CATS is a regional development cooperation program between the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. The implementing agencies are the Environmental Health and Management Unit of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the German Government’s Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). The program will soon operate in eight CARICOM Member States from Guyana, Grenada, St. Vincent & Grenadines, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Kitts & Nevis, Jamaica and Belize.