Posted: Monday, December 3, 2018. 9:00 a.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: The Belize Credit Union League Ltd. (BCUL) has signed a project with the Inter-American Development Bank Lab (IDB Lab – formerly the Multilateral Investment Fund) to boost climate resilience of farmers and fisher-folk through green microfinance in Belize.
Under the Caribbean EcoMicro Program, BCUL and three of its credit union affiliates – St. Francis Xavier Credit Union, Saint Martin’s Credit Union and Toledo Teachers Credit Union – will receive technical assistance to design and pilot adaptation finance that will increase access to climate smart technologies, products and services by farmers and fisher-folk in the northern, western and southern regions of Belize.
Over the next four years, US $850,000 in green financing will be placed in the market by BCUL and the three participating credit unions.
The project will also implement a risk modeling framework to evaluate the impacts of climate change on the participating credit unions’ loan portfolio and elaborate a greening policy to reduce the environmental impact at the members’ various locations.
As critical aspects of the project, a gender analysis will also be carried out, as well as capacity building of key local agents in the agriculture and fisheries sector to position them to better service clients, given current and future climate trends and impact.
The agriculture and fisheries sector – the second largest in Belize – is particularly vulnerable to adverse weather events, hurricanes, tropical storms, flooding, and sea level rise. This heightened vulnerability to climate change risks bears significant impact on livelihoods, food security, infrastructure and economic activity. Increasing climate resilience of farmers and fisher-folk will reduce vulnerability resulting in overall improved productivity.
The project is expected to benefit 380 farmers and fisher-folk across the Cayo, Corozal, Belize, and Toledo Districts, as well as 113 managerial and technical staff from the BCUL and participating credit unions.
Approximately 500 stakeholders will be reached through educational events such as workshops and technology fairs that are intended to raise climate change awareness and demonstrate the potential of adaptation technologies to build climate resilience of the agriculture and fisheries sector.
EcoMicro is a Technical Cooperation Facility by the IDB Lab, co-financed by Global Affairs Canada, IDB Lab and the Nordic Development Fund. The Global Affairs Canada contribution supports the EcoMicro Caribbean Program.
Following its application to the EcoMicro Caribbean Call for Proposals, which closed at the end of 2017, BCUL was among a handful of finance institutions across the region successfully identified as eligible for design.
BCUL is a non-profit organization which promotes the development of credit unions in Belize to make credit union services available to a broad cross-section of the population.
With over 62 years of experience in the microfinance sector and a membership that covers all nine credit unions in Belize, BCUL is considered a strong local partner for EcoMicro.
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