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Aug 13, 2019

GCF’s toolkit is launched in Belize

Today, the CARICOM Climate Change Center and the Ministry of Economic Development launched two documents and a programme to help Belize engage with the Green Climate Fund.  The G.C.F., as it is commonly called, is a platform that offers support for vulnerable countries to respond to the increased risks of climate change.  As a part of the launch, a tool kit, a country strategy and part-two of a readiness programme were unveiled in Belize City.  News Five’s Andrea Polanco attended the launch. In the following story, she tells us more about the G.C.F. and how it works in Belize.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The Green Climate Fund is a ten point three billion US dollar platform for countries to access funding for climate smart projects. So, these are projects that limit or reduce green-house gas emissions, as well as projects that help vulnerable countries like Belize to adapt to the impacts of climate change such as heat waves; extended droughts, severe storms and sea level rise. These projects must also be in line with Belize’s national development priorities, such as to promote the sustainable and stable growth of our economy, as well as to reduce poverty. But how does a country like Belize access these funds? The Green Climate Fund communicates directly with Belize through its National Designated Authority. The NDA falls under the Ministry of Economic Development. The NDA then works directly with entities that have been approved to invest GCF funds in Belize. Belize’s NDA is CEO Yvonne Hyde.

 

Yvonne Hyde, National Designated Authority, GCF (Belize)

Yvonne Hyde

“The NDA system is to endorse; to make sure that what we are looking for from the GCF is in keeping with our national priorities. And also, we want to ensure that what we do with the GCF, as one disruptive financing mechanism, we also move further along the road in meeting our commitments under the SDGs.”

 

But accessing funds from the GCF is a long and complex process. So, it’s the NDA’s role to help local entities navigate these challenges. The NDA provides advice and guidance, and also raises awareness of the GCF and how to access those funds. So, to prepare Belize, the GCF gave the NDA one million dollars to get the country ready. So, readiness one is led with support from delivery partner CARICOM Climate Change Center. Under the readiness one – the NDA has designed a toolkit – which is a document that lays out the steps and processes involved. That toolkit will be complemented with a website.

 

Yvonne Hyde

“But once you delve through the multitude which is there on the GCF and once you are able to understand that there are several ways of accessing funding, some quicker than others, the toolkit will help potential beneficiaries to learn more about the GCF and how to use information and how to use GCF procedures to their best advantage.”

Belize can access funds through the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center – which is one of the first regionally accredited institutions. They can fund projects from ten to fifty million US dollars.The country can also access funds through the first nationally accredited entity, theProtected Areas Conservation Trust. PACT can access and distribute GCF grant resources of up to 10 million US dollars. The Social Investment Fund SIF and Development Finance Corporationalso want to become accredited.

 

Yvonne Hyde

“The interesting option for accessing funding is what is called the simplified access procedure, which allows entities to access funding up to ten million US dollars. The procedure is simpler; it is more straightforward and the documentation which is required is not as multitudinous as perhaps applying for another source of GCF funding. That is of particular interest to us because it helps us to be able to move more quickly in accessing funding from the GCF.”

 

Today, the NDA and 5Cs also launched a country strategic framework – which is a document that sets out the direction for GCF’s investment in Belize. After numerous consultations, this road map lists some twenty-four projects in the pipeline.

 

Ryan Zuniga, Project Development Specialist, CCCCC

Ryan Zuniga

“These projects range from anything in the water sector to the environmental sector to critical infrastructure to agriculture. These are project ideas which really take climate action in the country of Belize.”

 

One project that is already being funded is an energy-focused project that wants to increase Belize’s energy sources through the ArundoDonax or “wild cane” plant. The project is trying to find out if the grass can be planted on a commercial scale to be used as a fuel in the BSI furnace to generate renewable electricity.

 

Earl Green

Earl Green, Project Officer, Caribbean Community Climate Change Center

“Arundo Donax is a grass; it is a plant that grows all over Belize. It resembles and has the same size like the regular sugar cane. The Center has partnered with the sugar factory, BSI in Orange Walk to determine whether this grass can be used as supplemental fuel. So, one component of the project is to do a compatibility test which means we harvest the plant from its natural sites, we prepare it to the requirement of the sugar company which is to shred and dry it and then they put it in the furnace to see if it supports combustion. That test has been completed and the preliminary results indicate that yes it does work.”

In the agriculture sector there’s a big project that is looking for funding from the GCF. The BSI wants to equip farmers to respond better to climate change by increasing the varieties of sugar cane in the fields.

 

Olivia Carballo Avilez, Cane Farmers Relations Manager, Belize Sugar Industries Limited

Olivia Carballo Avilez

“What that is really is to climate proof the crops that they are producing, or the crop. In this case, it is the sugar cane. The sugar industry here in Belize is really reliant on one variety in particular. Sixty percent of our industry is planted with one variety which is the B-79. It is very high risk for any industry, any commodity industry, or any agricultural industry to rely on one commodity. It can be susceptible to pests, disease, floods, and droughts. So, we are looking at all the varieties that we are able to get to pass that to farmers.”

 

And now that the readiness one has wrapped up – the NDA and the Five Cs are looking into managing the work that has been set.

 

Ryan Zuniga

“Readiness two is to really manage these modalities; implement and institute these modalities and ensure that it is working effectively and efficiently; the modalities such as the non-objection procedure and the direct access procedure. Also under readiness two, we are providing post-accreditation support to PACT. We are also continuing the strengthening of the NDA office.”

 

Andrea Polanco reporting for News Five.


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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