Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2022. 3:22 pm CST.
Contributed by the Ministry of Economic Development: The Government of Belize (GOB) entered into an agreement, dated November 30, 2018, with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for a loan and with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), for a loan and grant towards the implementation of the Resilient Rural Belize Programme (RRB). RRB is a six (6) year programme (2018- 2024) and its development goal is to minimize the impact of climatic and economic events on smallholder farmers while supporting sustainable market access for their produce.
The Programme Management Unit (PMU) of the RRB, acting through the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment (Lead Programme Agency) and working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise, has overall responsibility for programme implementation. Under Component 1, is the administration and implementation of the Programme’s Matching Grant Fund (MGF), the main objective of which is to support the achievement of the Programme’s objectives by co-financing investments that would improve, in volume and quality, smallholder farmer agricultural production and safeguard food security in the context of existing and projected climate change effects. Under component 2, there is a possibility for the upgrade of rural road to benefit beneficiaries of the project and the community as a whole.
For any activity to be implemented in areas where Indigenous People are present such as, Santa Rosa Village in the Stann Creek District, the RRB Programme had to implement the legally required process of the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) – a process that is a relatively new practice in Belize. The FPIC was developed using international instruments as of IFADs and GCFs requirements, such as, UNDRIP, the Caribbean Court of Justice Ruling of 2015 and the Maya of Southern Belize FPI Consultation Protocol.
Consultation with Santa Rosa, Stann Creek Villagers and its leaders then commenced in January of 2022 with the following goals:
(i) to adequately inform the community about the project, its risks and benefits;
(ii) to negotiate the content of the programme and implementation mechanisms, and
(iii) to bring the community to a point where they can decide whether to give consent.
The process provided the elements for an Indigenous Peoples Plan (IPP) and FPIC Agreement to be developed with the community.
On Sunday, November 27, 2022 in Santa Rosa Village, Stann Creek District, the eligible villagers that were present gave their written “YES” to the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) Agreement and Indigenous Peoples Plan (IPP). CEO for the MED, Dr. Osmond Martinez stated that this output of the consultation process is not a simple yes or no, but an agreement and plan that specifies the way forward, including how the project will be implemented, the benefits shared, how conflict may be resolved (grievance mechanism) and how additional consent, if necessary, will be obtained.
The signing of the Consent Agreement was done by Minister of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labor and Local Government, Hon. Oscar Requena; CEO for the Ministry of Economic Development, Dr. Osmond Martinez, Dr. Geraldo Flowers, Programme Manager for the RRB program and leaders of the Santa Rosa community. The consent agreement indicates that the Santa Rosa community has given its consent for RRB to commence work in the community for the betterment of the all residents.
For more information, contact:
Dr. Geraldo Flowers
Resilient Rural Belize
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