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Nov 10, 2022

Meet the Belizean COP27 Delegation

The News Five team of reporter Duane Moody and cameraman Kenroy Michael are at the United Nation’s Conference of the Parties, better referred to as COP27, being held in Sharm El Sheikh (shawm el shake), Egypt. Approximately one hundred and twenty world leaders and other stakeholders have gathered in this African city to work out the best way forward on the global response to climate change. It is estimated that forty-five thousand persons from one hundred and ninety-six countries are attending COP27. The discussions commenced about a week and a half ago, but tonight we begin our coverage of the international conference by meeting some of the members of the Belize delegation who have been actively negotiating on behalf of the entire country.


Duane Moody, Reporting

COP27 has brought climate change experts and political leaders from across the globe to the Egyptian city of Sharm El-Sheikh. It’s an annual conference that seeks to tackle the global phenomenon that has been ravaging countries that have had little to no responsibility, but most vulnerable to its risks and impacts.  Things like extreme weather events, sea level rise, and loss of biodiversity, as well as land and forest degradation, are among the themes being discussed from a national, regional and global perspective.


Orlando Habet

Orlando Habet, Minister of Climate Change & Disaster Risk Management

“It is very important that we move away from those COPs where there is a lot of commitment especially from these larger countries who make commitments, but then it is difficult to get anything from them because it is not binding, especially in terms of finance. So COP27, even though it is also termed the African COP, it is also termed the implementation COP and we want to make sure that action is put into place. For example, our commitments are throughout NDCs, but for the NDCs to be effective, they also need to be implemented; for them to be implemented we need funding.”


The Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management is the political leader heading the delegation, but who are these people tasked with the duty to defend Belize’s position and ensure that as a country, our voice is felt?   They are referred to as negotiators and among those lead negotiators are well-respected persons, including ambassadors Carlos Fuller and Janine Felson.


Orlando Habet

“We have the best people that we could have possibly brought; the technical staff that are looking at the different areas. We have someone that is looking at transparency, not only for Belize, but representing AOSIS. Somebody that’s specifically looking at mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, agriculture and so we also have Ambassador Felson who is assisting Belize, but also CAIRCOM and AOSIS. We have Ambassador Fuller with all his experience in meteorology and when he was at CCCCC and he is our lead negotiator here.”


Edalmi Romero

Edalmi Romero, Forest Officer, Forest Department

“My name is Edalmi Romero, I am a forest officer from the Forest Department.”


Here at COP27, Edalmi Romero is more than a young female negotiator for Belize; she is the core negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States, under the transparency thematic area.


Edalmi Romero

“The main focus that we bring from June is creating a draft that could reflect our needs and here at COP is where we negotiate, and our red line is to not extract loss and damage in all the thematic areas. It’s very important to keep it in because as you can see and we also had experienced this past week, a hurricane in Belize and the impact that the hurricane caused at category one, it is very important that we fight for that – we fight for loss and damage and also for adaptation because in our new reporting mechanism, adaptation is one of the chapters that we need to enforce and also reflect under transparency.”


Sumeet Betancourt is one of the youngest in the delegation, but he is the negotiator for Article Six of the Paris Agreement, which focuses on the sale of carbon credits.  The article also focuses on incentivizing countries, like Belize, that have been historically removing carbon emissions from the atmosphere. So, where are those discussions?


Sumeet Betancourt

Sumeet Betancourt, Emission Factor Officer, Forest Department

“At COP26, the Paris Agreement Rule Book was completed. The cooperative approaches and mechanisms, overarching decisions were completed for article six and now at COP27, we are focused on the fine details of each of the details. Article 6.2, we are discussing international registries, transfer of certified emission reductions. 6.4, the methodologies that will be accepted and the credits that will now be transferred from the CDM from 2013 up to 2020 and transition into the 6.4 mechanism. And 6.8, we are figuring out capacity work programs.”


Climate finance continues to be a touchy subject, simply because the G-Seven countries have not been meeting their commitments to provide one hundred billion dollars to assist countries that have been impacted by the effects of climate change. Meet the Commonwealth National Climate Finance Advisor that is tasked with that.


Ranga Pallawala

Ranga Pallawala, Commonwealth National Climate Finance Advisor, Belize

“Finance is always a very important matter for developing countries including Belize, so we are working with AOSIS, small island developing countries to make sure that we have adequate amount of finance to address climate change. So it is a long-term debate, but we are focusing mainly on long-term finance, because there is a pledge that hundred billion dollars would be available annually, for developing countries as climate finance. So now we are trying to have a new common goal by 2025. So we are trying to enlarge the pot available.”


And we cannot exclude gender – not in the sense of male and female – but the people of Belize, inclusive of the cultural diversity, indigenous peoples, youths and the society on a whole – how we are impacted by climate change and how we adapt. Ide Sosa, the Project Assistant within the National Climate Change Office and Project Manager for UNDP Climate Promise, has been here in Egypt for almost two weeks making sure that Belize is not left out.


Ide Sosa

Ide Sosa, Project Assistant, National Climate Change Office

“There is a coordination happening between the technical team for loss and damage and also the financial and they are tabling – in the part of AOSIS under SIDS, we are looking at the discussions on how we are going to be tabling that and then coming under the full group discussion and seeing how that can then be negotiated. Within Belize we have a climate change gender action plan and we want to continue working along with human development with their gender policy and trying to ensure that climate changes and gender is mainstreamed across all sectors.”


Reporting for News Five from COP27 in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, I’m Duane Moody.

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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