The government of Belize, with the support of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), is stepping up its climate change adaptation efforts. Belize’s Social Investment Fund (SIF), an implementing agency of the government addressing the basic needs of the country’s most vulnerable, has set in motion plans to incorporate climate risk management in its national project development process.
On October 26 and 27, the Bank funded a CRM training workshop for SIF’s stakeholders. Recognizing Belize’s high vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, including natural disasters such as hurricanes, storms, flooding, earthquakes, and erosion, the sessions focused on minimizing their negative effects, which can both reverse and retard national development.
The program provided step-by-step guidance in undertaking climate risk and vulnerability assessments, proactive approaches toward country risk management and design standards for infrastructure.
By incorporating CRM in its project development, SIF will be better able to make climate considerations in its interventions, which are helping transform the lives of thousands of Belizeans in the areas of education, health, water and sanitation, institutional strengthening, infrastructure development, human development skills training, and social transformation.
“This is the first SIF in the region to specifically attempt to integrate climate and disaster risks into its projects. We hope this will stimulate other borrowing member countries of the CDB to seek support in this area. The importance of CRM in the region cannot be understated, especially now, given the recent severe impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said Samuel Wedderburn, Team Leader, European Investment Bank Technical Assistance (EIB TA) for Climate Action Support to the Caribbean Development Bank.
Regional and international experts in the areas of climate change, the environment, economics and development presented at the two-day event, which was attended by 45 participants, comprising mainly staff of SIF and CDB, engineers, contractors, consultants, and personnel from various ministries.
The enhancing climate risk management training workshop followed the project launch of the ninth cycle of the Basic Needs Trust Fund and the Belize Social Investment Fund III Project, which CDB funds.