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Nov 11, 2021

Belize Sees Some Progress at COP26

As the protests continued outside the blue zone, marathon negotiations carried on inside the many meeting rooms at the Scottish Event Campus. The Belize delegation still in Glasgow included Ambassadors Carlos Fuller and Janine Felson, as well as Climate Change Minister Orlando Habet and his CEO, Doctor Kenrick Williams and their team of experts. They were tasked with ensuring that Belize’s position in the discussion was not only heard, but also felt. Today, News Five’s Duane Moody caught up with the team between negotiations to get a feel of our standing as the conference winds down.


Duane Moody, Reporting

In less than twenty-four hours, it is expected that the details of the Glasgow Package will be released. It will chart the way forward as agreed to through compromise by representatives from one hundred and ninety plus nations at COP26.


Ambassador Carlos Fuller

Ambassador Carlos Fuller, Lead Negotiator, Belize

“I do think we will see some progress. I don’t believe we will see that major change in finance. And the reason is that all the world leaders, a hundred and thirty of them were here two weeks ago. I cannot imagine a negotiator will say, by the way I will go beyond what my prime minister or president said. Please, if they had anything important to say, they would have said it. They would not have left it for their negotiators, so obviously that is the state of play. But we can begin a process to say where we will be getting at the next major meeting of the major economies or so on next year.”


Orlando Habet

Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management

“A lot more has been put in, some new texts in various areas have been put into the agreement and of course that’s now for negotiation and for all of us to agree. Where we think we are having some problems is article six. There is some new text being put forth by some of the big countries.”


So is Belize getting what it came for? Even though the final document is still outstanding, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, Doctor Kenrick Williams says there is huge disappointment about the three asks the Belize delegation sought to achieve.


Dr. Kenrick Williams

Dr. Kenrick Williams, C.E.O., Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management

“We came here with three main agenda items. One, we wanted to see some incremental changes or progress in the negotiations that will have a Glasgow Package, an outcome text, that seriously moves the needle on climate finance – we’ve not seen that. That would seriously move the needle on loss and damage; that would seriously move the needle on common time frames – that is how we report our commitments to the Paris Agreement – those have not been achieved. That is a huge issue and a huge disappointment in the overall scheme of things.”


But in that same vein, Doctor Williams, like Ambassador Carlos Fuller, says that there is some progress.


Dr. Kenrick Williams

“I don’t think it is zero progress. Like i said, small incremental progress. We are seeing increased financing, we are seeing some increased commitments; we’ve moved the needle a little bit so some of the financing that we need, we expect that it is going to come into play.”


Edalmi Grijalva

Edalmi Grijalva, REDD+ Technician, National Climate Change Office

“Our position as a country, we are deciding on a package of decisions which includes having a set idea of the tables where the data will be reported. Also we want to have a conclusion on the support, capacity building, technical and also financial. Without the support of financing, we will not be able to meet our mandate by December twenty-four.”


Negotiating on behalf of Belize as well is Edalmi Grijalva. She was this year appointed as Co-Coordinator on Transparency for AOSIS, the Alliance of Small Island States. It falls in line with another mission of the delegation which was to scale up Belize’s leadership role in conservation, preservation and climate change adaptation and to obtain a seat on decision-making bodies.  And while it hasn’t been finalized, it appears that the mission has been accomplished. Doctor Williams explains the importance.


Dr. Kenrick Williams

“We can’t have the same story like every other country, we have to brand ourselves and show how we are different so that the money does come to us because when you look at the participation of other CARICOM countries or African countries or Latin American countries, they’ve carved out their own interests. And so by virtue of our scaling up our participation, we’ve carved out our own niche and say, “Hey, Belize deh ina this thing, Belize has been doing its part, we need the right financing.” So I think at all events over the last – I think we participated in more than thirty events where we scaled up with different stakeholders, with different IFIs with different agencies what Belize has been doing. And I think today and throughout the last two weeks, we have demonstrated that. The third thing that we wanted to do Duane was that we needed to get on the decision-making bodies. It is one thing for us to come and negotiate; it is a next thing for us to come and talk all about Belize. But when we left Glasgow what happens? And importantly for us, we have ensured – and we are still negotiating really – Belize’s participation in key decision-making bodies, in things like the adaptation fund. We could argue here until we are blue on adaptation financing, but if we are not on the decision-making body of the adaptation body, then we will get the crumbs. And so key for us is to ensure that Belize gets some decision-making positions on those.”


Those positions include the Adaptation Committee and the Adaptation Fund Board. Belize is vying for the Chair of the Coalition for Rainforest Nation. The UNFCCC will be releasing the outcome on Friday. Reporting from COP26 in Glasgow Scotland, Duane Moody 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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