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Jul 27, 2016

Stakeholders Discuss Impact of Climate Change

A cross-section of participants from various organizations, government and N.G.O.s gathered at the Radisson for a daylong conference where they discussed the impacts of climate change.  A panel of presenters was on hand today to share professional opinions on the existing phenomenon.  The forum was aptly titled Energy of Nature versus the Nature of Energy.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A collaborative effort between Oceana in Belize and the World Wildlife Fund resulted in a one-day conference focusing on the impact of climate change.  The Energy of Nature versus the Nature of Energy is a symposium which looks at the existing state of affairs where it concerns Belize’s natural environment.


Omar Figueroa

Dr. Omar Figueroa, Minister of State, Environment

“We can no longer hide from the fact that climate change is a reality and if you travel across the country, especially in the south in areas like Monkey River, you start to see the devastating impacts and it is not difficult to imagine how difficult these impacts will become in the future. The part of the solution has to be a multifaceted solution; like I said, climate change is not a government of Belize problem. It is a problem for all of us—it is a national, a global problem—and everybody has a role to play. Not only every country like we saw in the Paris Agreement but as we come to Belize, everyone—our children and our children’s children—will need to get involved if we are to gain grounds in the fight against climate change.”


According to Nadia Bood, a marine scientist and climate change adaptation adviser for the World Wildlife Fund, the partnership with Oceana helps to shed light on the impact of the phenomenon on the country.  The conference also helps as a platform to work with government on practical measures that can be taken to mitigate the effects of climate change.


Nadia Bood

Nadia Bood, Country Rep, World Wildlife Fund

“We are always impacted by storm events because of our location within the season hurricane belt. But natural that factors like those will continue under changing climatic conditions obviously so there is a need for us to try and put in place actions to adapt. Our collaboration with OCEANA is very good; we are strategizing together on how best to push for a green growth. Even with the government decision at the moment to push for oil, we are trying to provide the science to help inform the dialogue to come up with alternate options to oil, given the climate change lens. With oil, you will be increasing your emissions; increasing your climate footprint and if we think more and strategize to have a more green development pathway, it will be really good. Now OCEANA and WWF have similar goals in trying to push for a complete ban on offshore oil exploration in Belize and try to come up with alternative options that could fill that gap because of the government’s perceived notion that there can be economic possibilities from oil. We can look at more greener pathways that could also allow for economic benefits and sustainability for the country.”


Janelle Chanona is Vice President of Oceana in Belize.  Invited to present at the forum was a panel which included Carlos Fuller, the International and Regional Liaison Officer of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center, and Dr. Patricia Majluf, Vice President of Oceana in Peru.


Janelle Chanona

Janelle Chanona, VP, OCEANA in Belize

“The entire approach of OCEANA and WWF with this conference but across the platform of our work is really to give people the information they need to make informed decisions. When you have what you need to know about why you need to care about this, that makes our job a lot easier. So when you see we organize field trips to take people out into the environment to show them what we are talking about, when we give them the science or we bring speakers in to talk about what’s happening globally—to maybe show what is obvious to them, but reveal it to the rest of us. It is really about promoting awareness and informed decision making. And that’s what we really hope the takeaway is from everyone that’s here, from everyone that will see these presentations online later; that you will absorb the information, you will ask questions, you will talk about it with your friends and family and you will realize that we all have an individual and collective role with what happens next.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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