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Jul 20, 2022

B.C.C.I. and G.O.B. Discuss Private Sector Readiness for Climate Change

The buzz words since the Earth’s surface temperatures began to increase two decades ago have been “global warming”, “climate change” and “climate resilience.” But while much discussion has surrounded the topic, how prepared would Belize, particularly its private sector, be to recover if we were to experience a catastrophic natural disaster as a result of climate change? That was just the topic today at a discussion at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel between the private sector and the Government of Belize. News Five’s Marion Ali attended the forum and filed this report.


Marion Ali, Reporting

It is estimated that ninety-eight percent of Belize’s private sector is made up of micro, small and medium enterprises or MSMEs for short. And because of our geographical location and terrestrial landscape, we are also among the top ten countries in the world that are most vulnerable to climate change events. It is to that end that the discussion on how that large percent of our business sector would recover, should we be faced with a disaster of cataclysmic proportions. Access to finance would be one of the first needs that would arise for businesses that make up MSMEs. C.E.O. in the Ministry of Economic Development, Dr. Osmond Martinez says they would receive that assistance through what is called climate finance.


Osmond Martinez

Dr. Osmond Martinez, C.E.O., Ministry of Economic Development

“You have two categories of Climate Finance. You have mitigation and you have adaptation. Now it would rain when it is expected to be dry and its dry when its expected to be raining. So these are the things when it comes to adaptation. And mitigation is how will you be able to reduce the impacts. Accessing of climate finance will mean one, a grant, which is free money, and two, concessionary loans, which is between zero point zero one percent to zero point zero two percent interest rate.”


Monies for these recovery projects would have to come from developed countries that produce high percentages of CO2 emissions that contribute to climate change. Thus far, these promises are yet to be fulfilled, and so Belize has to aggressively pursue these commitments.


Dr. Osmond Martinez

“The developed nations – those who are high contributors of CO-two emissions are not making their contributions that they have pledged. I think our Honourable Prime Minister has been clear in advocating for Belize. But we also need to have a collective voice as a region, and when I speak about a region I am no longer speaking about the Caribbean region. It’s Latin America and the Caribbean. Together we have to go back now to C.O.P. Twenty-seven; together we have to actually force G.C.F. to say “Listen, we need what is ours.”


The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry whose membership, in large part, fall in the category of MSMEs, requested that it be brought into the discussion. B.C.C.I. has done its share in holding capacity-building discussions with its members on climate change and climate resilience, the Chamber’s president, Kim Aikman shared.


Kim Aikman

Kim Aikman, President, B.C.C.I.

“We just wrapped up a project recently that address climate-resilient buildings which we believe can assist or businesses the rebound after a natural disaster so this coming on the heels of that is very timely. The Chamber looks forward two more opportunities to partner with the ministry to continue to work that is underway because work in taking climate action will be a continuous one. We hope to see more private sector investment in climate adaptation and mitigation as well as the strengthening of industry.”


C.E.O. Martinez said that Belize is now putting in place a structure that would be able to absorb the kinds of financing for climate change. He also shared that Belize currently has two entities that are already accredited with G.C.F. (Green Climate Finance).They are the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT), and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, also known as Five Cs. There are three more in the process of getting accredited. They are the Ministry of Economic Development, the Development Finance Corporation, and the Social Investment Fund. Marion Ali 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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