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May 18, 2023

A National Strategic Dialogue on COP27, COP28

Today at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City, stakeholders across the public and private sectors were engaged in discussion about climate change and all its facets.  The national strategic dialogue was to discuss the outcomes of COP27 that was held in November 2022 in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt and Belize’s outlook for the upcoming Conference of Parties later this year in Dubai. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

For many, the discourse on climate change continues to be incomprehensible. At the community level, changes in the environment, including erosion and brushfires, are clear to be seen, but are still not being associated with climate change. But they are.  More intense storms, extended droughts and the related destructiveness are among the impacts of climate change.


Colin Young

Dr. Colin Young, Executive Director, CCCCC

“What we find not just in Belize, but also in CARICOM is that while people have heard the term climate change, they don’t link a lot of what they are experiencing to climate change. There is a big awareness gap and so it is the responsibility of our government and our donors and entities like the CCCCC to ensure that we do more to increase the awareness of our people.”


Kenrick Williams

Dr. Kenrick Williams, C.E.O., Ministry of Climate Change & Disaster Risk Management

“Our challenge is our ability to recover and that is what we call resilience. We need to invest in building the resilience.  So when there is a hurricane, we estimate it two hundred and twelve million dollars. That two hundred and twelve million dollars is on farmers and tourism and all of these sectors that push us back way a few years and our recovery will be very slow.”


It’s against this backdrop that Belize has been sending a delegation to the annual Conference of Parties, or the COP series. But it has been considered a talk shop of sorts and minimal successes have been achieved. C.E.O. in the Ministry of Climate Change and Disaster Risk Manager Doctor Kenrick Williams speaks of the outcomes of COP27.


Dr. Kenrick Williams

“Some challenge in terms of remaining discussions on article six, as it relates to markets and the larger discussions on carbon. There is still challenge in keeping to the 1.5 degrees Celsius; there is still a lot of nations not meeting the emission reductions that we want. There has been a lot of zero pledge in terms of emission reductions, but in reality we are still not seeing that. Climate finance remains an issue in terms of that finance getting on the ground – it is still cumbersome, it’s challenging for nations to get there. We have some incremental success, however, coming out of the COP – both for Belize and on a global scale. On a global scale, I think most people know that there is some agreement on the establishment of a loss and damage fund. What that look like, the institutional framework, the design is still yet unknown and is being negotiated. There has been some incremental progress in terms of financing. In addition to the loss and damage fund, there’s been some additional financing committed.”


Belize was successful in negotiating with the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency and the Central American Commission for Environment and Development to host a regional transparency center in the country. This, among discussions to establish the potential of Belize’s biodiversity credits in the carbon market was also achieved. From a CARICOM standpoint, COP was partially successful, relative to what the region’s priorities were.


Dr. Colin Young

“We did not make the kind of progress that was demanded by the science and by what was called for by the IPCC reports. The real takeaway in terms of the biggest benefit to CARICOM and Small Island Developing States was the decision to set up the loss and damage fund. But that is just the first part of a long process, because the fund has to be set up, has to be capitalised and how countries can access the resources from the fund is going to be the next fight that we have to have. CARICOM is going to continue to demand that that fund, this loss and damage fund cannot look anything like the existing funds. It can’t look like the GCF, it can’t look like the Adaptation Fund, it can’t look like other mechanisms because those are not serving the needs of countries. The scale is too little small and the speed is way too slow.”


Belize is preparing its national strategic position going into COP28, to be held in Dubai later this year. But, is the frustration of not getting what is needed to build our resiliency as a country and people worth it?


Dr. Kenrick Williams

“It can be a frustrating talk shop, being part of the process because you see the dynamics of negotiations at play. But also on the flipside, if we are not at the table, we are on the menu. We have to be a part of the discussion to defend the priorities; we have to be at the table as a country, as regional partnerships through CARICOM and AOSIS. We have to be part of the discussion to say this is the impact of climate change on Belize, this is the impact on farmers because that’s important again for the investments that people make. And we continue to challenge these countries that the reality is that there is true daily implications of climate change that we feel.”
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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