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Government of Belize and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization team up for project to increase climate change resiliency of fisheries sector

Posted: Tuesday, March 8, 2022. 6:13 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: Several ministries and departments within the Government of Belize and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are officially launching a project entitled, “Enhancing adaptation planning and increasing climate resilience in the coastal zone and fisheries sector of Belize”.

The 18-month project, which is valued at US $600,000, is being done with funds from the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The project is geared towards increasing the resilience of the coastal zone and fisheries sectors of Belize to climate change impacts, such as rising sea levels, rising water temperatures, and coastline erosion, as well as increased frequency and intensity of thunderstorms.

Entities involved in the project include The Ministry of Economic Development and Investment, The Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation, The Belize Fisheries Department, The Coastal Zone Management Authority & Institute, and The National Meteorological Service of Belize

The project’s aims include the improvement of the data and information systems related to climate change, development, strengthening adaptation planning governance and institutional coordination, and providing evidence-based adaptation solutions for maximum impacts in Belize, as well as increasing adaptation financing. The activities will include 2 forums, 10 training sessions/workshops, and 19 consultations with overall participation and training of 401 people. The project will target the equal participation of women in all events to ensure gender inclusion and equal consideration of the interests of both men and women.

The outputs take into consideration gender aspects and seek to include Non-Governmental Organizations, Civil Society Organizations, the private sector and at least two indigenous groups from Belize to ensure a robust adaptation planning process for the fisheries and coastal zone sectors.

The Chief Executive Officer for the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute, Chantalle Samuels said, “This readiness project is very timely for Belize’s coastal zone and fisheries sector. The interventions under the project will undoubtedly build on ongoing national efforts and set the stage to further strengthen institutional governance, and enhance the resilience and adaptive capacity of our coastal ecosystems and communities to better respond to the impacts of climate change”.

Meanwhile, Crispim Moreira, the FAO Representative in Jamaica, The Bahamas, and Belize, stated that the FAO understands the benefit to the Belizean Coastal and Fisheries sector and the impact value it will have on the lives of Belizean people.

In a joint release issued today by GOB and the FAO, the parties noted that the fishing industry is a major part of the Belizean society, which supports over 2,500 registered fishers and their families, and provides a source of protein for local consumption and exportation to foreign markets.

“In 2010 the fishing industry generated $21.6 million USD, with the exportation of the three main marine products lobster, conch and finfish. Rising sea level will adversely impact on fish habitat including wetlands, coral reefs and sea grasses where fish spawn, breed, feed and or grow to maturity,” the joint statement said.


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