Posted: Wednesday, January 5, 2022. 7:51 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias:
The Ministry of Finance, Economic Development, and Investment has appointed Carlos Pol as the director who will head the newly created Climate Finance Unit (CFU) which became effective on Monday, January 3, 2022.
The CFU was created by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development, and Investment “to maximize Belize’s access to climate finance to enhance its overall resilience and sustainable development”.
According to a press release by the Government of Belize Press Office, Pol has close to 20 years of experience working at the ministry and possesses the key attributes and skills that will enable him to build an effective team.
Pol holds a Master’s in Public Sector Management from a private Catholic university, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, in the Dominican Republic. Prior to that he earned a bachelor’s in business administration from the University College of Belize.
Before the CFU appointment, Pol worked as an economist in the Ministry of Economic Development since March 2002. Most recently he was the Acting Director of the Policy and Planning Unit from January 2018 to November 2020.
“I’m looking forward, just as everybody, to see the actual benefits of this new unit. I know the expectation is high and I’m willing to do as best as possible given my experience with the Government and the Ministry of Economic Development and the people who will be working closely with me,” said Pol in an exclusive interview with Breaking Belize News.
Pol’s team at the CFU will include an economist, a proposal development officer, and an international advocacy and networking officer. The Press Office statement said Leroy Martinez was appointed as economist and GCF focal point, and Hunter Hales is the proposal development officer.
The new director said they must first structure the unit and then attract the necessary financing.
“What the Government has realized is that we need a special unit that will be able to access more financing, because we are getting, but it’s very minimal to address climate change. We expect that with this unit having its own staff we can expedite the proposal writing so that we can access grant financing. There is a lot of grant financing that we should be able to attract and also to coordinate because we do have other entities in Belize that are getting financing for climate change, but we don’t have an institutional structure that is monitoring, coordinating, and ensuring that we are getting the benefits.”
Pol said he expects to be quite busy putting the CFU together.
“The purpose of this unit is to coordinate and streamline the process of accessing climate finance while capitalizing on the synergies with other development projects in Belize because not everything is climate change. You know COVID-19 is an issue we have to look at as well,” he noted.
He added that the financing they will be working on accessing should help Belize mitigate the impact of climate change.
“We have seen recently hurricanes affecting the country, and drought, we have had flooding, and this is all because of the effects of climate change,” he said.
“We expect that we can use this money to further strengthen our projects. If we are building a street or a bridge, it has to be hurricane and fire resistant. It has to be constructed with climate change criteria so that in the event that there is flooding it could withstand. The idea is for us to put the resources where they should be to make us resilient to climate change.”
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