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Nov 1, 2021

PM Briceño Demands “Climate Justice” at COP26

Prime Minister John Briceño was among the first-day speakers at the Climate Change Conference of Parties, or COP26, in Glasglow, Scotland. As expected, the Prime Minister highlighted the impact of climate change on Belize, particularly in terms of the Barrier Reef and the high cost of extreme weather events to our economy. He called for “climate justice” and called out G20 countries for their continuing support of fossil fuels, saying Belize is doing “more than its fair share” to try and stop global warming. He also emphasized the need for increased financing for small island developing states for adaptation measures. Here are some excerpts from the address he gave today.


Prime Minister John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“Belize is the proud custodian of the Belize Barrier Reef system, the second largest barrier reef system in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But here is the sad reality: coral bleaching, distress doubled from the period 1985 to 2014 to severe level 3 between 2014 to 2017. The Reef is dying. And may be beyond the point of full restoration. For Belize, the Belize Barrier Reef is more than a global beauty. It also underpins our culture and our tourism industry which contributes approximately 40 percent to our domestic product, gross domestic product. Without the reef, Belize’s economy could crumble. Our people’s lives will be forever changed. Excellencies, the threat to our barrier reef is a direct result of human induced climate change. That is an undeniable fact. I am pleased to announce that Belize just entered a $360 million dollar debt for marine conservation transaction. The largest Blue Bond transaction ever. And established a permanent $100 US million marine conservation trust fund. We will increase our marine protected biodiversity zones by 30 percent by 2026, four years ahead of our target, and we will place all remaining public lands in the Belize barrier reef reserve system under protection. Belize is proud of our record on conservation, but all will be lost if the countries of the G20 obfuscate and abdicate their responsibilities to act. With right on our side, we demand climate justice. We demand immediate action, ambitious action to save our planet. Developed countries must not only deliver, but increase their commitments on climate finance. One hundred billion US dollars per year can only now serve as the baseline. Funding for adaptation must be dramatically increased, at a minimum developed countries need to more than double public finance adaptation. We need to move from carbon trading towards carbon emission reduction mechanisms, with rules that apply to everyone.”


According to the PM’s office, while in Glasgow, the Belize delegation will be meeting with the heads of state of Norway, Finland, Canada, Switzerland, and the Dominican Republic and holding discussions with key agencies such as the Green Climate Fund, the United Nations Environment Program and the Adaptation Fund. Duane Moody is in Glasgow and will be giving you highlight from the scene in the coming days.

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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